The Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) held an editors’ roundtable on Friday 4 May 2018 in Lagos to boost the reportage of the oil and gas sector under its Media for Oil Reform (MFOR) implemented with support from the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI).
The event drew editors and publishers from 14 media organisations, including Africa Oil & Gas Report, BusinessDay Newspaper, Channels Television, Daily Independent, Daily Trust Newspaper, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Guardian Newspaper, Leadership Newspaper, News Agency of Nigeria, Premium Times, TheCable, The Nation, This Day Newspaper and Voice of Nigeria.
At the meeting, Motunrayo Alaka, Centre Coordinator, WSCIJ, shared the centre’s media monitoring on oil and gas. Among others, she said most of the oil and gas stories reported in the selected media rehashed government plans without following up to check whether the plans are implemented duly, pointing to the missing link of agenda-setting and investigative reporting of the sector. She further stated that the number of female reporters covering the oil and gas sector compared to their male counterparts is quite low.
While giving feedbacks on the three-month monitoring, which formed the basis of the discussion, the editors lamented media’s overreliance on press releases, conflicting figures from government agencies in the sector and secrecy in the sector. As a reaction, Motunrayo observed that many of the issues identified call to question the gatekeeping role of editors and charged them to be more involved.
At the breakout session, the editors discussed around what they can do as editors to boost oil and gas reportage. They suggested in-house coaching and mentorship for their journalists, guidance for reporters by discussing story pitches with them, and provision of good remuneration for journalists. In turn, the editors said they would need insurance coverage and funding of reportorial expeditions to improve oil and gas reporting in their newsrooms.
Toyin Akinniyi, Media Development Associate, NRGI expressed her excitement about the roundtable meeting with the editors, noting that the media is central to bringing about better governance of the natural resources in the country.