By Nchetachi Chukwuajah
The Women Radio Centre has trained 20 female journalists drawn from print, broadcast and online media platforms across the six geopolitical regions of Nigeria on investigative reporting on women-centric issues.
The fully funded one-week intensive training, which took place at the Women Radio Centre, Arepo in Ogun State, was supported by the MacArthur Foundation with partnership from the Department of Mass Communication, Bayero University, Kano.
The Director, Women Radio Centre, Toun Okewale Sonaiya, reiterated that the training was to equip more women to investigate and report issues from the women angle with the overall goal of amplifying the voices of women.
She added that only women can better tell the stories of women and issues affecting them and their families.
“If you have a story that is worth telling, whether on radio, print or television, I will support you no matter what it will cost. I will put money down for it as long as it is a story that is going to make an impact and fill a gap. It has to be a story of something that affects women negatively and you want to expose it and you want to find solution for it, I will invest in it,” Sonaiya said.
Kole Shettima, the Director of the MacArthur Foundation, Nigeria Office, while speaking at the closing ceremony of the training on Friday said the Foundation believes that supporting the project would help groom the next generation of female investigative journalists.
“This opportunity comes once in a while. I am hoping that wherever you go you will ensure that in everything you do, you will also continue to uphold the values that Women Radio stands for; the values of ethical reporting, the values of promoting good and more importantly, the values of increasing the voices of women in your media houses.
“I am also hoping that as you do this work, you see yourselves as ambassadors of Women Radio so that you will be able to continue with what we are doing and do it better,” Shettima said.
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Some participants at the training, including Jackie Opara- Fatoye and Agnes Abaje, expressed appreciation for the opportunity to be trained by the best minds in the industry and assured of deploying the knowledge gained in their work.
“This is a very impressive training for women and it has created a level-playing ground between male and female investigative journalists. It is a great opportunity to improve on our skills and most especially we are being taught to do stories that will make impact in the livelihoods and communities where we live which is very vital and an integral part of journalism,” Opara-Fatoye said.
“I will be using my skill after this training to be a voice to the voiceless. I will go back to those local communities in Cross River State and look for underreported issues especially the violation of the rights of women and children and tackle those issues. I want to be the voice that is missing in my state,” Abaje said.
Among the faculty members were Motunrayo Alaka of Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism; Dr Suleiman Yar’Adua and Dr Ruqqayah Aliyu of the Department of Mass Communication, Bayero University, Kano; Dr Adamah Adamu of Ahmed Bello University, Zaria; Dr Oludare Ogunyombo of Caleb University and Dr Raheemat Adediran of Lagos State University.
Other resource persons were Juliana Francis of Eagle Online; ‘Fisayo Soyombo of Foundation for Investigative Journalism; Deji Bademosi of TV360; Haruna Mohammed of WikkiTimes; Lanre Arogundade of International Press Council and Adenike Aloba of Dataphyte.
The participants were taken through courses on Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), safety concerns for female investigative journalists, data journalism, solutions journalism for national building, ethical considerations in investigative reporting, reporting human rights violation from a gender perspective, legal considerations in investigative reporting, overcoming harassment in the newsroom, etc.