The Daily Trust Foundation, in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, has begun a three-day intensive workshop on Investigative budget reporting at the national and state levels, with a view to enhancing the skills of journalists in data journalism.
DAILY NIGERIAN reports that the participants are journalists drawn from various news media organisations across the country.
The training, which holds in Abuja, will run from Tuesday 16 to Thursday 18, February.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Chairman of the Daily Trust Foundation, Bilya Bala, said the subject-matter of the workshop is crucial, stressing apart from the constitution, the next most important document in a country is its Budget.
He said: “Like the Constitution, the budget charts the way forward for the nation, provides the direction for the country’s prosperity and the well-being of its people.
“Over the years, the media has not treated the country’s budget with the seriousness it deserves.
“This workshop is a first in a series meant to deepen journalists’ understanding of not only the budget, appropriation and implementation but also that of various sectors as a way of enhancing their reportage skills.
“Modern and future journalism should go beyond just writing from press statements or press interviews, or stringing comments together to form a feature piece.
“It should be such that it closes the gap between reporting and contribution to the growing knowledge industry.
One other objective of this workshop would be to train journalists to be able to track the promises made by government in annual budgets.”
Mr Bala, therefore, encouraged the participants to take the workshop seriously and learn to adopt a new way of reporting budget.
“I encourage those of you who have come from various states to take this workshop seriously and learn a thing or two that will change the way you report from the states.
“Many investigative reporters concentrate on the failures of the Central Government, while the States Government are barely bothered; never seriously called upon to give account of their stewardship.
“It is for such reason that many States in the Federation would and actually do get away with a very dismal performance,” he stated.
On his part, the Editor-in-Chief of Media Trust, Naziru Mika’ilu, urged participants to see the training as a platform to contribute in holding government accountable through detailed and investigative reports.
“I urge you all to concentrate on the training; broaden your knowledge on the process of budget planning and implementation as well as to generate stories impactful to the public.
“As journalists, we should not report on what they want the public to know, thus we should endeavor to follow the processes and contract awards,” he said.