IPC Oils Journalists’ Skills Ahead of Kogi Governorship Election

IPC Oils Journalists’ Skills Ahead of Kogi Governorship Election

It was more than a refresher programme. More like a crash programme for a Masters’ class in journalism and political reporting packaged as a special two-day Media Roundtable/Engagement on Kogi Governorship Election. It was Loaded and well delivered by the experts. Twenty- six journalists practicing their trade in Kogi state had a two – day

It was more than a refresher programme. More like a crash programme for a Masters’ class in journalism and political reporting packaged as a special two-day Media Roundtable/Engagement on Kogi Governorship Election. It was Loaded and well delivered by the experts.

Twenty- six journalists practicing their trade in Kogi state had a two – day drilling on what it takes to be a unique and goal getting journalist wired to make a difference in the profession.

Ms. Olutoyin Ayoade, Communication Officer, International Press Centre(IPC), Lagos set the media roundtable/engagement rolling in her welcome address. Hear her:”this event is organised to critically examine the interconnections between the public, the media and the electoral processes towards developing an agenda that seeks to strengthen the role of the media and the citizens in engendering a credible electoral process.

According to her, the workshop is one of the activities being implemented by IPC, as lead partner, and the Institute for Media and Society (IMS) under Component 4: Support to Media of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGNII) project.

“We believe that the media have a critical agenda setting role that can enable the integrity and credibility of elections. Not only must news mediums take a lead role in ensuring that citizens are adequately mobilised, but they should also ensure that the entire process is accountable by being open to public scrutiny”, she stressed.

The aim of the submissions at this workshop according to her , would be that journalists bring the required professionalism and inclusivity to bear on the coverage and reportage of the on-going electoral process in the state to enable the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deliver on free, fair, peaceful and credible Kogi governorship elections in November.

The 26 touch bearers brainstormed and exchanged ideas on how the media can effectively relay the information citizens require to enable them make informed judgments,monitor government and others and reveal abuses of political power, report politics day-to-day as well as during election campaigns,provide information about registration and voting, crystalise the main currents of public opinion,give a voice to wide a range of interest groups and provide the forum within which the public debate takes place.

Mr. Hamza Idris, Editor, Daily Trust, Abuja who spoke on:‘Reporting Elections: Ensuring ethical, conflict-sensitive coverage in the face of misinformation and disinformation’ warned that journalists and indeed media managers should not be in a hurry or desperate to break a story.

He told participants that would be taking part in the coverage of the Kogi off – cycle election to give all the 18 political parties and their candidates fair hearing. Mr. Idris called on journalists to always verify the information they get stressing that :”always confirm before going to press”

Speaking on the day of the election, Mr. Idris said journalists should understand the social dynamics of where they are going to cover and must be circumspect in the places they cover.

Ms. Vaneza Gregory, Project Coordinator at the Nigerian Women Trust Fund in her presentation titled : ‘Gender issues and perspectives in reporting the Kogi Governorship Election’, said reporters should be conscious in reporting gender issues. She counselled that journalists should use gender neutral terms in their reportage.

Ms. George said priority issues for women are relevance to everyday life such as health care, education, economic opportunities , safety and security.

The Project Coordinator advised journalists to always use inclusive language and avoid stereotype.

Mr Lanre Arogundade, the Executive Director of IPC, in his presentation provided further information on the Media and Elections app which is IPC’s latest innovative approach to ensuring access to valuable election reporting resources.

He advised journalists to always do environmental scanning of where they are going to cover an assignment warning that they shouldn’t be sponsored by a party to cover an assignment.

Mr. Taiwo Obe, Founder of the Journalism Clinic who spoke on: ‘Impactful Reporting of the elections: Focussing on people-interest issues & Telling Stories That Matter and Covering the Kogi Elections using digital tools and apps’, said a good journalist must continue to think about story ideas all the time.

Journalists, he said must give people the information they need to make the better decisions about their lives and society.

Mr Obe who said we are in a world of sharing stressed that “we are in the business of finding answers to the questions that people are asking and also question those answers until there are no more questions.

To actualise this, the media teacher exposed the participants to a number of useful applications that are available on the net and in most handsets.

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