Premium Times Director selected for prestigious Reagan Fascell fellowship

The Programme Director at the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), Joshua Olufemi.
The Programme Director at the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), Joshua Olufemi.

The Programme Director at the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), Joshua Olufemi, has departed for the United States to participate in this year’s Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowship Programme of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

Mr Olufemi, who also doubles as the Knowledge and Innovation Lead for PREMIUM TIMES newspaper, will be away for six months.

In his absence, PTCIJ’s Deputy Programme Director, Oluwatosin Alagbe, will oversee operations at the centre.

During his time at NED’s headquarters in Washington, Mr Olufemi will work to perfect the launch of Dataphyte, a platform that will combine open data, data visualization and exploratory data journalism to empower citizens and policymakers to make right decisions.

“I hope to learn as much as I can during the fellowship and then race back to share knowledge and add value to our country’s journalism,” Mr Olufemi said. “I thank NED for this opportunity and my team at PREMIUM TIMES for allowing me a little time to retool.”

Dapo Olorunyomi, publisher of PREMIUM TIMES and executive director of PTCIJ, expressed mixed feelings over Mr Olufemi’s temporary departure.

“Joshua is a huge talent and committed professional,”Mr Olorunyomi said. “It’s difficult for our team to release him for the fellowship. But we are sure he will be back with even bigger value for our organisation. And he will reflect well on the NED fellowship in future.”

Since joining PREMIUM TIMES in 2014, Mr Olufemi has helped newsrooms in Nigeria set up data journalism desks and hopes to position Dataphyte as a key tool for holding individuals, corporations and governments accountable.

Background

A committed and tireless innovator, Mr Olufemi has been key to many initiatives at both PREMIUM TIMES and its Centre for Investigative Journalism.

He led the development of civic tools including UDEME – a platform to track government project, DUBAWA – a platform to track and verify fake news, PriceboardNG, Press Attack Tracker, Primary Health Tracker, LeaksNG, among other platforms.

He has also trained hundreds of mainstream and campus journalists on data journalism, and fact-checking. Recently, he started a drone journalism programme at PTCIJ to chronicle humanitarian challenges in Nigeria.

Famed fellowship

The Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Programme hosts democracy activists, scholars, and journalists for five-month fellowships, bringing fresh insights and perspectives to Washington, DC.

The fellowship offers an important opportunity to explore new ideas in a comparative context, undertake individual research, and share best practices with one another.

PTCIJ was founded in 2014 to help strengthen investigative journalism, promote fundamental human rights and advocate for good governance and transparency in Nigeria. It serves as the NGO arm of Premium Times, Nigeria’s foremost investigative medium, established in 2011.

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