On October 20, 2023, the Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals (AFYMP), in collaboration with the Union of Campus Journalists (UCJ) of the University of Benin (Uniben), organized a webinar through which it trained 25 members of UCJ and some mass communications students on “Reporting for impact”.
The training covered vital rudiments of impact reporting, fact-checking, research and content development, safety, and professional ethics among others.
Welcoming participants to the training, Mr, Odabi Collins, President of Uniben Chapter of UCJ, praised AFYMP for its effort in organizing the training and consideration for the chapter. He said: “We are glad that AFYMP considers such partnership which is geared at enhancing capacity of its members and encourages members to maximize as well as advantage of the knowledge to be shared as well as put such into use in the professional practice”.
Speaking at the webinar, Mr. Yinka Olaito, Executive Director of AFYMP, identified salient factors that are essential in reporting. He said, beyond just having a by-line, every story must be focused on making an impact and not just having the writer’s name attached for the sake of popularity.
Yinka said the first stage is to know the ‘Why’ of the story, followed by putting on a professional cap so as to follow all known professional ethics so as not to fall into error. This, he said, will also require that the emotion of the journalist is removed to tell the story as it is without any personal colouration or biases.
He said in writing an ethical story, all information must be fact-checked as misleading information can cause more damage than intended. He brought out several case studies of published articles, broadcast programmes, and x-rayed the content, and thereafter analysed the impact or otherwise of the stories.
During the question-and-answer session, participants tabled their challenges and asked of the best ways they can learn through the rope. Some of them also requested further personal mentorship. AFYMP encouraged participants who want to up their games to apply as freelance journalists to its news platform, an online newspaper called Nigeria Grassroot News, www.nigeriagrassrrootnew.com.
The webinar was organized by AFYMP with support from the MacArthur Foundation through the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) under the Collaborative Media Engagement for Development, Inclusion and Accountability (CMEDIA) Project, a multi-level intervention that supports media independence, improved transparency, accountability, and good governance in state and local governments with more public awareness on the need for accountability, and amplified marginalised voices.