The Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, with the support of the MacArthur Foundation, organised an investigative and data journalism training recently. The event which held at Knightsbridge Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos between July 28-29 as part of effort at promoting good governance in Nigeria, had 20 journalists from Vanguard, National Mirror, TELL, National Standard magazine, Radio Nigeria, and others in attendance. The enlightening session, which was kicked off by Ishola Williams, a retired major general, with the topic, Advancing Government Accountability and Human Rights in Nigeria, saw the journalists learning new data and investigative skills as well as gaining insight into the workings of government and how to source documents.
Apart from Williams, other programme facilitators were Musikilu Mojeed, managing editor of Premium Times; Dayo Aiyetan of International Centre for Investigative Reporting; Seember Nyager of Public and Private Development Centre and Joshua Olufemi of Premium Times. They variously took the participants through topics such as procurement monitoring and government accountability, introduction to investigative journalism, introduction to data journalism: tips and techniques for getting data to support stories, generating story ideas and building sources, interviewing and writing investigative stories, fundamentals of data scrapping and data mining and media, ethics and professionalism among others.
At the end of the training, many of the participants admitted to learning new skills, which they hope to apply in their work with the aim of contributing to national development. In their different lectures, the resource persons acknowledged the power of journalists to positively effect their societies and encouraged them to rise up to the challenge of the time. This they said journalists could do by beaming searchlights on public agencies with the aim of eradicating corruption that is known to have, over the decades, stifled growth as monies meant for development is routinely siphoned or diverted by corrupt officials thus leaving millions of their countrymen and women in penury.