Daily Trust Foundation trains northwest Journalists on Data Journalism

By Suleman Tudu 

Daily trust foundation said it is very passionate about training and building the capacity of journalists in Nigeria to ensure professionalism in reportages for effective service delivery.

This was revealed by the Chairman, Daily Trust Foundation, Mallam Bilya Bala while Speaking at the opening ceremony of the workshop training organized for journalists in the Northwest.

The participants of the 3-day workshop were drawn from the Northwest states including Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states.

According to him the training was part of the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of the Media Trust Group (MTG) supported by the MacArthur foundation.

Bilya Bala said, “The Foundation has put together this workshop on Advanced Data Journalism in order to build upon previous training activities on investigative reporting, which we have conducted since 2017 in partnership with MacArthur Foundation.  

“The Foundation considers capacity building as a vital strategy for enhancing credible and relevant journalism in Nigeria. 

“For every successful investigation, journalists need evidence, not just in the forms of documents and interviews, but also in available data which can show patterns or trends that alert those in power about things that may have gone wrong. There is a way visualized data can bring the reality of highly complex issues home, much more than thousands of words can do. Our flagship publication, Daily Trust, has used data and infographics to do high-impact stories in recent times. We want more and more journalists to do similar stories.

“The core of the training here is data mining and the use of Excel spreadsheets. These could be boring and intellectually demanding. But that is the rough route to a successful career in data journalism. You must know how to gather relevant data from diverse sources. You must know how to use Microsoft Excel to refine and analyze your data. You cannot dodge these two valleys to the top of your career as digital and data journalists. 

“As some of you who have attended our regional training programmes would remember, I have said again and again that the leadership at the sub-national levels – states and local governments – have ruined the country because journalists have failed to hold them accountable. One easy way of doing so is to present to them data gathered from the field on their failed promises, or how some of their priorities are not in the interest of the people. Data brings precision to your reporting; you can be accused of bias when you report opinions of the opposition, but not when you present credible data in your reporting.”

He therefore took the participants through an illustrative manner of how data mining is practiced in the local patterns by forefathers since years immemorial among other examples.

On his part, Kano state Commissioner of Information and Internal Affairs  Baba Halilu Dantiye urged the participating journalists to apply data Journalism in their reporting for accuracy, adding that an accurate report generated from data journalism would help the government to appreciate its strength and identify its weaknesses in addressing public demands.

He emphasized that as members of the fourth estate of democratic governance Journalists have a duty to work hard to provide reliable and accurate reports devoid of subjectivity for the benefit of the society.

He revealed that the state government also has plans in the pipeline to train journalists in the state aimed at broadening the knowledge and improving their skills.

Earlier, in his presentation, the Programme Director of the Daily Trust Foundation Theophilus Abbah said Data Journalism requires commitment, hard work, patience and diligence in carrying out their assignment while the foundation remains committed to equip journalists with necessary tools for Data Journalism to enhance their skills in their daily assignment.

Facilitators at the training were renowned and veteran editor, Theophilus Abbah, Damilola Ojetunde of the BBC Africa, Charles Mbah of Dataphyte and other staff of the Daily Trust Foundation.

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