Nigeria’s first Agriculture Journalism masterclass opens in Abuja with 40 reporters

Farmers [Photo Credit: The Guardian Nigeria]
Farmers [Photo Credit: The Guardian Nigeria]

Forty journalists from all sections of the country will join policy leaders in the agriculture sector from Monday, November 27, 2017 for the National Agriculture Symposium in Abuja, according to a statement Friday evening by the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) organisers of the event.

The symposium will offer a policy back drop for the journalists as they proceed on Tuesday to a three-day boot camp on agriculture solution journalism, Joshua Olufemi, the programme director of the centre, said in the statement which also announced the successful candidates from a short list of 154 applicants.

Mr. Olufemi expressed gratitude to the funders of the boot camp, Notore Chemical Industries Plc., for supporting the rejuvenation of the agriculture sector through effective capacity building, and asked other key stakeholders in the industry to follow the example of Notore Chemical Industries Plc. Giving a breakdown of applications who responded to the call for application, Mr. Olufemi said of the 154 applicants, two were from India, one each from Grenada, Russia, Zambia and Kenya while the others came from across Nigeria.

He said the application pattern showed a broad taste for quality training in the sector, and that the outcome of the programme portends well for improved reporting and analysis in the sector.  Lagos state leads in the number of applicants with 42 applicants followed by Abuja with 25 applicants. Applications were gotten from 22 states including Abuja with Anambra, Bauchi, Imo and Zamfara states having the lowest response of one each.

Mr. Olufemi said comments from applicants indicate a greater demand for data analysis skills to support better reporting although many respondents to the call for application expressed concerns that agricultural data are not readily available making their tasks difficult.  “One clear realisation from the applications” Mr. Olufemi said, was the realisation that most newsrooms gave scant regard to reporting the sector as they thought the agriculture sector was not lucrative enough.

Speaking on the training, Dapo Olorunyomi, the Publisher/CEO of Premium Times, said the successful applicants will have an opportunity of learning from seasoned professionals. In his words, “participants will learn a whole lot in using data to tell stories and proper communication in agricultural program.”

The Masterclass bootcamp, Mr. Olorunyomi said, will provide a dynamic professional development experience for attendees to focus on reporting, writing, and editing skills; agricultural issues from policy to the farmgate; communication ethics; audience engagement strategies across platforms, data and investigative journalism skills; leadership skill, and media and agribusiness trends.

The symposium preceding the bootcamp in particular, will also give participants, Mr. Olorunyomi added, access to a broad spread of contacts from government, research, policy development, civil society, scientists, media peers, and industry captains who are all intricately involved in transforming Nigeria’s new agricultural landscape.

The training will hold from November 27 to 30, 2017 in Abuja.

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