The Vice-Chancellor of Benue State University, Makurdi, Tor Iorapuu, has expressed the institution’s willingness to partner with the Premium Times Centre for Investigative journalism (PTCIJ) for training, mentorship and internship opportunities for students of the Mass Communication department of the university.
Represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Mike Odey, the professor expressed the readiness of the university to collaborate with PTCIJ for the promotion of academic excellence and any steps that will further enhance the cause of journalism in the country.
He spoke on August 25 during a visit to his office by a PTCIJ team led by its assistant programme director, Deji Adekunle.
The PTCIJ team was in the institution to train about 50 students of the Mass Communication department on investigative journalism.
There are lots of opportunities to “leverage on this rare opportunity and the university will not fail in this regard especially with the daily rise of social media whose stock in trade is to propagate negativity,” Mr Iorapuu said.
Commenting, the head of the Mass Communication department, Vitalis Torwel, expressed his gratitude to the PTCIJ team for taking their time to train the students of the department. The professor said he hopes to see the impact of the training when the students produce the university magazine and when they handle programmes on the university’s radio.
In his response, Mr Adekunle said the PTCIJ team was in the university to train the students on ‘accountability journalism’ with the hope of contributing to the growth of journalism not only in BSU but across university campuses.
He described student journalists as the ‘media of the future’ and spoke of the need to groom them from the university to enhance their hands-on capacities before they finally face the rigours of the profession after graduation.
“So far, we have visited 16 universities across the country, establishing campus journalism, mentoring, creating social accountability awareness and the platform for the students to practice; which has helped many graduates who are currently working with reputable media organisations across Africa and beyond,” he said.
Mr Adekunle appreciated the management of the university for the approval to host the training. He commended the performance of the students, saying it was an indication that there is hope for the future of journalism in Nigeria.
A highlight of the visit was the donation of various books published by PTCIJ to o the university while Mr Odey, a professor, also donated copies of his recently published book, titled,” Principles and Practices of Research Methodology,” to the guests.
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