NAN, Nigeria Health Watch Partner To Address Problem-Focused Reportage

NAN management, NHW delegation at the presentation

 In an effort to change the way the media reports on social problems by using the evidence-based method of solutions journalism, Nigeria Health Watch has supported the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)  to further strengthen the practice among their journalists across the country.

For the past eight months, a class of 10 Nigerian newsrooms was selected to form the first cohorts of this new training towards changing how the media reports social issues affecting the whole populace.

The training was basically to allow journalists key into the style of not only identifying and reporting the social ills, but exploring and reporting what is being done by individuals, communities, groups or even the government to address these challenges.

To expand this concept in news reporting, the NHW, with support from the Solutions Journalism Network (SJN), decided to collaborate with NAN in setting up a desk to handle solution journalism stories, train staff as well as coordinate operations in this line nationwide.

NAN provided an office space and staff to coordinate the solutions journalism desk while a donation of four  workstations was made by the NHW to begin the process in NAN.

The presentation was made by the NHW team during a courtesy visit to the Managing Director of NAN, Mr Buki Ponle, in Abuja.

The team also used the opportunity to present a certificate of participation to NAN for taking part in the first cohort of the solutions journalism Africa Initiative newsroom training.

 Mrs Vivianne Ihekweazu, the Managing Director of NHW who made the presentation, said the aim was to ensure sustainability of the cordial working relationship between her organisation and NAN.

“The organisation is presenting this as a way of sustainability of relationship with NAN, being one of the first Newsrooms to formally set up the Solutions oriented Desk.

“We are very pleased that with your leadership as the MD, you have actually prioritised the setting up of the desk in the organisation.

“The practice of solutions journalism initiative writing is part of the organisation’s normal and everyday journalism; so, it is not just a one off thing.

“As an organisation, we remain available to support your journalists in keeping and building their capacity.”

According to her, the aim of NHW, with support from SJN, is to institute the practice of social journalism in Nigeria.

“The Solutions Journalism Africa Initiative was an opportunity for us, as an organisation (Nigeria Health Watch), to institute the practice of social journalism in Nigeria.

“We are being supported by the Solutions Journalism Network who are supporting us in some of the capacity building.

“And we were very pleased when we met you last year; NAN was part of the first cohort of 10 newsroom journalists.”

She also said that it was a privilege to have three NAN journalists in attendance as part of the first cohort: Ismail Abdulaziz, Magdalene Ukuedojor and Ummul Idris.

 “NAN was part of the first cohort of 10 journalists; it was a pleasure to have 3 of your journalists joins us as part of the first cohort.

“Over a period of 8 months, our team was able to train, mentor and support them in writing articles that are solutions oriented.

“In Nigeria, we are reporting on problems, to things we find in the society; but to the solution oriented, we are able to report on solutions to problems,” Ihekweazu said.

In his remarks, the NAN MD said he was delighted to be a part of the success story.

“On behalf of the management and other staff members of NAN, we welcome you all. I cannot explain how happy I am to be part of this success story.

“When you came last year, we promised that we were going to make it happen the right way and, along the line, I was getting feedback of the progress being made.

“Your presence today is a testimony to the success story we just witnessed and the sky is the limit. The promise has always been made on what NAN can do and I believe that we have just started.

“Solutions Journalism is an area where NAN always excels and your coming to strengthen the area of excellence is a double welcome development.

“I am also happy that you are not just coming to thank us to show that you can do it, but also coming to demonstrate, in physical terms, your support to the success story in NAN,” Ponle said.

The Managing Director appreciated NWH and SJN for introducing a new direction in reporting human angle stories.

NAN reports that the Solutions Journalism Africa Initiative started in 2020, with support from the Solutions Journalism Network based in the U.S. It is being implemented in Nigeria and Kenya with Nigeria Health Watch implementing in Nigeria.

It has trained the first cohort of journalists in 10 newsrooms across Nigeria on how to do more solutions-focused reporting in print, online, radio, TV and other emerging formats.

Highpoint of the event was the presentation of the work stations and certificates of participation to the three NAN staff.


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