The year started with the closing and award ceremony of the 2018 edition of the Report Women! Female Reporters Leadership Programme (FRLP) implemented by the centre with support of Free Press Unlimited. Nineteen female journalists were confirmed as fellows at the event held February 4. The fellows joined an initial 14 produced in 2017, and equipped with the skills, tools, and consciousness they need to take leadership positions in their various media houses.
In March, a candlelight event to memorialise and celebrate the life and ideals of the late Professor Pius Adesanmi, who was among the 157 passengers and crew members aboard the Ethiopian aircraft flight ET302/10 (Addis Abba to Nairobi) that crashed on Sunday, 10 March 2019, was organised by the WSCIJ together with his friends and associates. The event held at the Gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota in Lagos, on Saturday, 17 March 2019.
Also, in March, the WSCIJ organised its maiden edition of “Time-out with Journalists”, an off work arrangement for selected journalists, aimed at providing them with a fitting atmosphere to relax, reflect and brainstorm about critical issues in the journalism profession and the society at large.
Since the debut, which held March 28, two other editions have held— one on August 29, and the other on November 28, 2019 with a total of 45 participants, all journalists/media managers.
348 journalists and media managers from nine media houses in Lagos and Abuja were enriched about gender policy and practices during the Report Women! Female Reporters Leadership Programme (FRLP) media house-to-house visits in April. The visits which held between 4 April and 17 April 2019, were organised to share results of a survey the WSCIJ conducted in select media organisations that revealed that there was a major gap in the ratio of female to male representation in leadership positions in many of the newsrooms.
To commemorate the year’s World Press Freedom Day, the Executive Director, Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), Motunrayo Alaka alongside other media experts called on journalists and other actors in the media industry to uphold the ethics of the journalism profession. The call was made at an event held on Friday, 3 May 2019, by Civic Media Lab in conjunction with the European Union and British Council under the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) initiative.
A strategy meeting opened the activities for the Regulators Monitoring Programme (REMOP), a media initiative by the WSCIJ with support from the MacArthur Foundation, this year. The strategy meeting, held to crossbreed story ideas and agree on the scope, modalities, timeline and other details of the story projects with partner media, took place in Lagos on Thursday, 30 May 2019. Following this was a REMOP Pitch meeting held also in Lagos on Thursday 20 June2019, where twelve investigative stories with focus on electricity and basic education were planned.
The centre conducted a three-month media monitoring of twelve publications, cutting across the print and online media platforms, under the REMOP project between June and August, to assess the reportage of some major themes and sector in the Nigerian media. We will publish our findings shortly.
The 11th Wole Soyinka Centre Media Lecture Series themed “Rethinking Credible Elections, Accountable Democracy and Good Governance in Nigeria” held on Saturday, 13 July 2019, to mark Wole Soyinka’s 85th birthday. The speakers at the lecture discussed how to make sure that governance becomes accountable and or more accountable to the governed. Obiageli Ezekwesili, the Senior Economic Advisor, Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative (AEDPI), was the keynote speaker at the event.
Still in July, WSCIJ held the REMOP collaborative story workshop organised at bringing media houses together to report on a story. The meeting helped the partners understand the ramifications of the electricity sector and the issues with power supply. The collaboration has yielded five investigative stories, each jointly published by Daily Trust, International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), Premium Times and TheCable between October and November.
The ReportWomen radio programme commenced July 12 in collaboration with Nigeria Info 99.3 FM to discuss and engage on cross cutting issues of access and abuse affecting girls and women. We hosted stakeholders from Civil Society Organisations, public and private sector on the first phase of the programme (15 editions).
The WSCIJ was represented at the African Women in Media (AWiM) Conference & Festival 2019 held 25-27 July 2019 at the University of Nairobi, Towers Kenya. Read More
The 2019 FRLP fellowship also took place in the course of the year. It started in July and closed in November. The fellowship entailed a four-day training, three-month mentorship, two-day Share-fair and tweet conference, as well as story and leadership projects that were executed by the fellows. At the award presentation ceremony to close the event that was held on 26 November 2019, 20 fellows were inducted into the Report Women Network, the alumnae group of the fellowship programme.
We are excited about the fact that Motunrayo Alaka, who appointed the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of the WSCIJ effective January this year, was selected for the prestigious John S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford University, USA in April. She is with some of the brightest journalists in the world to contribute to improving journalism on a global scale.
WSCIJ had the opportunity to enlighten 22 journalists on investigating migration issues at a workshop on migration reporting supported by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The training took place in September.
This October, the centre sponsored two Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting (WSAIR) laureates – Abdulaziz Abdulaziz and Tadaferua Ujorha – to the 2019 Africa Investigative Journalism Conference (AIJC) organised by Wits Journalism held in University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa.
The centre’s grand event, the Wole Soyinka Awards for Investigative Reporting (#WSAIR2019), which has held every December 9 (World Anti-corruption Day & eve of the Human Rights Day) since 2009, honoured 13 journalists in 6 categories, Amnesty International Nigeria and Sunmi Smart-Cole for their contribution towards accountable governance and the media generally.
In 2019, 410 journalists were trained through various programmes organised by the centre. Also, 31+ stories were published through the Report Women! FRLP and REMOP initiative with support from Free Press Unlimited and MacArthur Foundation respectively. A total of 16 reporters were rewarded, while 53 resource persons and 35 media houses were reached as a result of the training.
We look forward to driving more impact in 2020!