Objectives of the training include, amongst others, to teach participants key skills and techniques used in investigative reporting; empower journalists to pitch perfectly for investigative reports; and teach the journalists how to gather data and present evidence to expose rights abuses, corruption, and other incidents.
Delivering a goodwill message, Comrade Momoh-Jimoh Adeiza, Chairman of the Kogi State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), applauded Stallion Times, WSCIJ, and the MacArthur Foundation for investing time and resources to conduct the series of trainings aimed at developing journalists and promoting good governance in the state. He charged the participants to add more efforts to write good pitches and investigative stories.
He said, “Investigative writing is very important to us as journalists. We should use every opportunity we have to improve our knowledge. We should delve more into investigative journalism. We need it to advance the relevance of journalism, correct the ills in the society for a just and egalitarian society to emerge for the better of all of us and our nation.”
Mr. Isiyaku Ahmed, Project Coordinator and Editor-in-Chief of Stallion Times, in his opening remarks, tasked journalists to get involved, stay focused on the tenets of journalism, and dig into under-reported developmental issues in the state. He said: “We are expecting you to write and submit pitches for investigative reports at the end of this training workshop, we will support any pitch that meets our standard requirements.”
Isiyaku added that Stallion Times was looking to good pitches and many investigative reports from Kogi saying only two investigative reports were recorded in the first year of the implementation of the project. He urged participants to get involved and focus on producing contents that reveal covered and under-reported issues in the public interest.
He revealed that the training was designed to build capacity of participants on data gathering and presentation of evidence to expose rights abuses, corruption and sharp practices in the society.
Some of the topics participants were taken through included Data-driven Journalism, Writing a Pitch for Investigative Report, Ethical and Legal Issues in Investigative Journalism.
Mr. Idris Mohammed, a lecturer from Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto and one of the trainers stressed that journalists must have a nose for news, especially news that requires investigation to uncover the truth while adhering to the code of ethics of journalism. He added that good research, writing skills, clarity of presentation, fairness, balanced reporting, determination, and patience are necessities for a good investigative journalist.
He urged the participants to use the skills they get from the training to expose corruption, human right abuses in the society and hold government accountable for all their deeds.
He said: “We realize most journalists lack the skill and knowledge to investigate stories that are not available in the public domain. Journalists can elaborate on the data either from online or offline making use of digital and technological tools available on mining data, retrieving information that is usable in writing stories.”
The training which was conducted under the Stallion Times Participatory Governance and Media Literacy project tagged “Get Involved, Dialogue and Improve (G-DRIP)”. It was implemented by Stallion Times Media Service in Kano and Kogi states within the Collaborative Media Engagement for Development, Inclusion and Accountability (CMEDIA) Project with support from the Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) and funding from the MacArthur Foundation.