Entrepreneurship related investigations in Nigeria will feature among the stories that will be commissioned in the next two years as Olufemi Omotayo, the managing editor of EntrepreNEWS, was among participants at the just concluded training on investigation in Abuja.
The training, made possible by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICiR), in collaboration with the Ford Foundation hosted about 40 journalists for a three-day training in investigative journalism in Abuja. The training, held between June 10 and 12, drew journalists from different print, broadcast and online media outfits across the country.
According to Dayo Aiyetan, Executive Director of ICiR, the Ford Foundation has committed $200,000 for the training of 40 journalists over the next two years. This, he said, was a departure from the usual practice of picking different groups for short-term trainings, which had hardly produced the desired results.
“One of the things we plan to do for these 40 journalists is to keep them for up to two years. The two-year training is for them alone, not that we would take another group next time. We are adopting this method in order to achieve positive and solid impartation at the end of the two years. If we train these ones now and then pick another set in the next few months, we would not achieve anything because the first set may have forgotten what they learnt after some months and we don’t want that to happen.
“Another thing we are looking at is to endow a fund and the fund will do two things: It will provide resources so that if there is any form of litigation, we would be able to provide the money to defend the journalist involved.”
The training commenced with Mohammed Haruna, a veteran media practitioner in a lecture titled “Role of the Media in Promoting Accountability in Public Space/Government.” He explained that the Nigeria journalists had done a lot in promoting accountability in government because of the variety and quality of news available to the people.
The facilitators, Mark Horvit the Executive Director of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) and Ron Nixton a correspondent for the New York Times took turns to put participants through the fundamentals of data journalism, finding information online, writing and bullet proofing, and how Nigeria journalists could utilise the US Freedom of Information Act among others.
The training rounded off on Thursday, June 12 with the programme committing to give grants of between $1000 to $5000 to journalists who come up with innovative investigative story ideas.