Monday, March 27, 2023

Penlight Center: A budding media platform is changing how grassroots investigation is done

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tiamin rice

For both public and private sector accountability to be entrenched, experts believe that investigative journalism must hold ground not only at the center, but at the grassroots level where an aggregation of the quality of life in communities matters for sustainable development.

An indigenous media platform, the Penlight Center for New Media Innovation, the NGO arm of DAILY NIGERIAN, a foremost Investigative journalism platform in Nigeria, is walking that talk through it’s Grassroots Investigation Reporting Project, GIRP.

“The nexus between accountability, investigative journalism and development cannot be overlooked, that’s why we thought it wise to initiate the GIRP in order to upskill grassroots reporters to be able to bear the torch of their responsibility firmly. We believe that the whole idea will round up towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs) 2030,” Mohammed Dahiru, Penlight’s Project Manager said.

Mr Dahiru, explained that the center is aware of the evolutions in both technology and techniques for investigative reporting which contributes to the ever changing dynamics in the job.

“We are surely instilling these components as part of the skills the journalists should be equipped with in the GIRP,” he said.

In the GIRP, Penlight Center/DAILY NIGERIAN has brought together journalists from across newsrooms, beat reportings and a handful of freelancers as beneficiaries of the scheme.

Recently, not less than 70 Journalists has benefitted from the GIRP in Gombe and Kano States respectively.

“Our next port of call is Niger State and by the time we are done, we will be harmonising these cohorts under the GIRP umbrella to support ground breaking stories with the aid of a seasoned mentor who has decades of experience on the field and in mentoring Journalists across board,” Dahiru explained.

In Kano, the two-day training held on Thursday 28 – Friday 29 of April, 2022 at PRNigeria Office as part of Penlight Center/DAILY NIGERIAN drive to bring a change in the narration on the dearth of investigative journalism in Northern Nigeria.

Addressing the participants on the first day via zoom, the Publisher of Daily Nigerian Newspapers, Jaafar Jaafar, said the capacity building workshop will equip and encourage journalists on developing investigative story ideas on human angle and general development journalism.

He explained that with the emergence of the new media, the entire world has become a global village where journalists can take advantage of the many offerings to expose shady dealings.

Previously, the same training held for journalists in Gombe on 25th and 26th at Maidugu Palace Hotel.

“This is the first time I am being exposed to such eye opening training,” a participant quipped.

Another participant with Nexus Prime, Hafsat Ibrahim, said she has acquired a lot of knowledge that has given her a new perspective on the job.

“It has really given me a bigger picture of what journalism truly is and it has also stimulated my interest towards investigative journalism,” Miss Hafsat said.

On his part Abdul-Wahab Said Ahmad, the Chief Executive Officer at Blue Lens Photography in Kano, described the training as not only timely, but equally enriching even for photojournalists whose lenses tell a thousand pictures by just a click.

Meanwhile, statistics show that about 42% of participants in Gombe rated their investigative journalism skills as below average before the training and 91.3 rated above average after the training.

While in Kano, 20% rated their pre-training skills below average and 85% rated above average after the training.

The editor in chief, DAILY NIGERIAN and Executive Director, Penlight Center, Jaafar Jaafar, who is currently in exile in the United Kingdom after facing threats and harassment from state and non state actors, for exposing a sitting governor stashing dollar in contract kickbacks, believes that the GIRP will groom more journalists courageous enough to play their role as watchdogs.

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