The Wole Soyinka Centre For Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) on Tuesday honoured female journalists who were part of its Female Reporters Leadership Fellowship Programme.
The journalists were officially named fellows of the leadership programme. The best three fellows also received special prizes. The event took place at L’eola hotel, Maryland, Lagos State.
The Leadership Fellowship, supported by the Free Press Unlimited, was designed to empower female journalists with the skills, finesse, support and tools to take bold steps that help position them for the highest leadership roles in their various media houses.
According to the organisation, the initiative, which is a part of the WSCIJ Report Women programme, is helping to mobilise a network of female journalists that are oriented for leadership as well as create a train-the-trainer team who better appreciate the importance of mainstreaming gender in news.
The fellowship which began in October 2018, included a four-day training, three-month mentorship, a fair-share as well as leadership and story fellowship projects for the fellows.
Speaking at the award ceremony, Motunrayo Alaka, the programme director at the centre, explained that the media is like a magic mirror which reflects the society. Mrs Alaka said the media also has the capacity to go into that mirror and make changes as it can set agenda, narratives and frame perspectives.
She, however, added that the project was not meant to promote matriarchy but to sensitise the media on the imbalance in the different structures across newsrooms.
“The media itself has its own challenges and one of those things is the gender issues. We are not saying we want a takeover. What we are saying is, if there’s space for the men, there should be space for the women too,” she said.
She added that the impact of the leadership programme is intended to go further than the newsroom.
The highlight of the event was the presentation of certificates to the participants, including awards to three of them.
Adejoke Fayemi, a journalist with RayPower FM, Kaduna, emerged winner of the Leadership Programme for an investigative story on the rape of a minor in Kaduna State. She was awarded a prize of N200,200 and a laptop.
Ejiro Umukoro of Trend FM, Delta State, was the first runner up for a story on cultism among minors in the state. She took home a prize of N150,000 and a laptop while Enato Isukul of Niger Delta TV emerged the second runner up for a story on drug abuse among minors in the state. She was awarded a prize of N100,000 and a laptop.
All 19 fellows were given certificates confirming them as fellows of the programme.
In her remarks, veteran broadcaster, Bimbo Oloyede, advised the fellows to remain outstanding journalists and role models to young females in their respective capacities. She said she was excited to know that what she has done over the past few decades have not been in vain.
Similarly, the resource persons who took the fellows through the three-month programme, Lekan Otufodunrin and Nneka Okekearu of Pan-Atlantic University admonished the participants to maximize the opportunity offered them by the centre through the training.