Pan Atlantic Varsity Empowers Journalists

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Funmi Ogundare

For 10 days, 20 journalists from various media houses particularly broadcast and print from across the country, converged on the School of Media and Communication, Pan Atlantic University for an intensive training on Solutions and Data Journalism Academy 2020, designed to ensure that the 21st century communication professionals are equipped with the right skills to become champions of development and solution providers for nation building.

They were selected from more than 200 entries received by the institution.

The programme which is the first solutions and data journalism academy for Nigerian journalists, was also aimed at ensuring that they become advocates for change and development.

The journalists were taken through intensive classroom sessions facilitated by top faculty members of the institution and leading industry experts to widen their horizon in the area of journalism for change.

Some of the sessions included ‘Self Management Skills’; ‘Improving Storytelling Skills’; ‘Making Language Work for you in Writing’; ‘Introduction to Advocacy Skills’; ‘Data Mining, Cleaning and Management; Analysis and Visualization’; ‘Creativity and Innovation in News Writing’; ‘Investigative Reporting/News Analysis Skills’; ‘Ethics of Journalism’, among others.

Speaking at the end of the programme which featured the presentations of story projects by the participants, the Dean, School of Media and Communication, Dr. Ikechukwu Obiaya commended the sponsor for its effort.

He noted that the institution has a firm believe in quality education as a catalyst for setting the right agenda to drive the right progress in the economic and social development of Nigeria and the world generally.

He congratulated the participants, saying that training is the hallmark of a visionary society.

“One of the aims of the School of Media and Communication, Pan Atlantic University is to contribute to building the society, train professionals who will make the difference between the professionals and the hustlers.”

One of the participants and Senior Anchor, TVC, Mr. Mike Okwoche expressed excitement about the programme saying, “it seems the institution has been underrated for a long time. People invest in BBC Academy to learn the same thing, so we should be very grateful to the School of Media and Communication for building the capacity of journalists. We have learnt much about solutions and data journalism and we will be putting that into practise so that we can be the catalyst to change Nigeria.”

The Sun Newspaper, Kaduna correspondent, Mr. Sola Ojo, said the use of data is one aspect that journalists have not been paying attention to, adding, “by the time we begin to put in data in our news analysis, it will really help us to know where we are as a country and put necessary actions in place to move from where we are to where we ought to be.”

Miss Ukamaka Owoh of NTA described the sessions as enlightening, saying “investigative journalism makes you go beyond telling the news, but being inquisitive, using data to display details and convincing your listeners and readers why you have decided to embark on such investigation.”

Mr. Adekunle Sulaiman of The Nigerian Tribune described the programme as an eye opener, saying that he learnt the importance of data on stories written.

“Data makes the story investigative and make known some of the things hidden. The essence of being a journalist and propagating ideas is for people to know and be well informed,” he said.

One of the facilitators, Dr. Ruth Oji described the programme as wonderful, saying that the academy has enhanced the capacity of journalists in the areas of mining data and ensuring the visualization of such data; how to set a proper agenda and improve their story telling.

“We really look forward to seeing how each of these journalists will reflect these in their works and what they have learnt; and we look forward to reading about life changing stories that will prove as solutions.”