50 educators, journalists, students to benefit from Solutions Journalism project

No fewer than 50 educators, journalists and students chosen from 27 tertiary institutions and media organisations with a presence in Ogun State, Nigeria will benefit from the Solutions Journalism project.

The Africa Fellow of the Solution Journalism Network (SJN), Mr Folarin Jamiu, who announced this in a statement, said arrangement has been finalized to host the workshop and training for the beneficiaries at Crescent University, Abeokuta, Ogun State.

The events are part of the implementation of the project sponsored by SJN to support and pioneer formal uptake of solutions journalism by educators, students, and reporters in Ogun State.

This project falls under the SJN’s Africa Initiative, in which 60 newsrooms and 30 fellows across Nigeria and Kenya will receive training and funding, over a three-year period.

The workshop, which aimed at building participants’ capacity of integrating solutions journalism into the curriculum, will hold September, 30, 2021 by 10am.

This workshop will bring together Head of Departments (HODs) and journalism educators in seven tertiary institutions in Ogun State to brainstorm on the best approach of integrating solutions journalism into their curriculum.

The selected tertiary institutions which cut across Federal, State and private universities and polytechnics include: Crescent University, Abeokuta; Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye; McPherson University, Seriki-Sotayo; Crawford University, Igbesa; Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro; Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta; and College of Broadcasting, Abeokuta.

For the training programme, 20 journalists based in Ogun State from selected broadcast, mainstream and online media organizations have been shortlisted to participate in the event slated for October, 21, 2021.

The media organisations are selected, to reflect different ownership structure in terms of federal, state and private establishments.

The representatives of broadcast stations selected to benefit from the training include: Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Abeokuta; Ogun State Television (OGTV);Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN – Paramount 94.5 F.M); Rockcity 109.1 F.M; Sweet 107.1 F.M; Roots 97.1 F.M; Family 88.1 F.M; Television Continental (TVC); Channels Television; and Silverbird Television (STV).

To also attend the event are the Ogun State correspondents of the Punch Newspaper, Daily Trust Newspaper, Daily Independent Newspaper, Nigerian Tribune Newspaper, and News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Also expected at the training are representatives of online news platforms/blogs which include: The Encounter News. Pen Pushing, Platform Times, First News, and TV24News.

In addition, about 10 students who are members of press clubs in tertiary institutions in the state will partake in the training.

Other participants expected to join the workshop and training programme virtually or physically are: Ruona Meyer, Africa Initiative Manager of SJN; Professor Francine Huff, Director of Journalism School partnerships, Solutions Journalism Network; and Professor Ibraheem Gbajabiamila, Vice Chancellor, Crescent University, Abeokuta.

Others are Ajibola Z.A., a legal practitioner, Registrar, Crescent University, Abeokuta; Chibuike Alagbaso, Programme Manager, Nigeria Health Watch; Seun Durojaiye, a journalist and the founder of Social Voices; Dr Ganiyat Tijani-Adenle, Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos State; and Mr Rasheed Adebiyi, Fountain University, Osogbo, Osun State.

Explaining the reason for instituting the project, Folarin said it was driven by his desire to institutionalize solutions journalism in the training and practice of mass communication.

“With over a decade experience as a journalist and researcher, I observed gaps in the training of budding journalists in the definition of news and factors that determine newsworthiness. Many journalism students are trained to understand that “bad news is good news”.

“This has had far reaching effects on how journalists in Nigeria highlight the nation’s problems while paying little attention to efforts of governments, the civil society, private sector and individuals in improving the nation.

I have been using the “Writing for Mass Media” and “Specialist Journalism and Publication” courses I teach in Crescent University to change this narrative by introducing perspectives that emphasise the assumptions of “Social Responsibility and Developmental Media Theories” to my students, many of whom are now practicing journalists. The assumptions of these normative theories of the press are close to the ideals of Solution Journalism (SoJo).

“It is on this basis that I am organizing the workshop and training for journalism educators, students and journalists in my community, and advocating for review of journalism curriculum to include and integrate solutions journalism.

The SJN is a non-profit organisation with a presence across 18 countries, and over 500 newsrooms.