The Center for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) and its partner, the Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ) on Thursday rounded off the second phase of the Climate Change In News Media project with a two-day capacity building for media practitioners in Nigeria.
The training, which was funded by UNESCO, held in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital territory, with representatives from six different media platforms across the country.
Organisers said participants were drawn from print, radio, online, and television towards ensuring that the message gets to diverse populace.
The capacity building was part of the project’s mandate in ensuring climate change reporting gains prominence and attention across West Africa.
Speaking at the training, the Executive Director at CJID, Tobi Oluwatola, noted that “climate change is a phenomenon affecting the entire world, but it impacts African communities differently due to vulnerabilities such as poverty, weak infrastructure, and limited resources. It, therefore, must continue to be treated as an important issue”.
The participants at the event described the training as a “refresher” course needed for journalists to become more intentional about climate change reporting.
Olatokewa Ayoade, The Head of News at Kiss FM said the training was an important one for her newsroom and that it wouldn’t have come at a better time. She further described it as an eye-opener for her newsroom to do more.
She explained that before the training, her organisation focused more on special reports with more focus on SDG-related stories.
“But now I have learnt to draw more attention to climate change-related stories, its devastating effects, and the hidden human angles that can better create awareness and inform the citizens better”, Mrs Ayoade said.
Olanrewaju Oyedeji, a data journalist with Dataphyte noted that the training helped deepen his understanding of climate change reporting and the diverse topics around it.
He said: “The training helps my robust thoughts on climate change from the local level. Journalists need more training, and it’s admirable that the CJID has taken the initiative to take this important and laudable step.”
A senior reporter at Premium Times, Chiamaka Okafor, described the training as necessary, timely and insightful.
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She said: “Although this is not my first training, I think such refresher gatherings are important to the extent that the subject matter has yet to find a home in many newsrooms and the Nigerian media landscape generally. I feel a burst of ideas and many concepts are making better sense now.”
In his closing remarks, the Director of Programmes at the CJID, Akintunde, Babatunde, said the organisation remains committed to ensuring that journalists are continuously empowered through capacity building and workshops.
“Capacity trainings for journalists such as this are critical so that they can be better informed as they tell the stories of climate change, exploring various key issues around it from various important angles, to be able to play their roles as agenda setters for the government and other stakeholders.”
He emphasised the need for journalists in Nigeria to pay more attention to reporting climate change beyond what he described as “regular rhetorics,” so that stakeholders and the government in particular can take more decisive action towards addressing climate change challenges, especially in Nigeria.
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