Almost every sector of the Nigerian state has witnessed moral and structural setbacks that have further permeated the grassroots. And misuse of public funds is common among public servants.
Investigative journalism is one way to uncover these issues, revealing hidden truths to society, said Jemimah Dada after completing a two-day investigative reporting course organised by Daily Nigerian in collaboration with The Penlight Center for New Media Innovations.
Daily Nigerian is an online newspaper platform established in 2016, focusing on investigative and development reporting.
The training was held at Doko International Hotels in Minna, Niger State, from 13 to 14 May 2022 and geared towards equipping selected journalists with the rudiments of grassroots investigative reporting, sourcing for investigative story ideas, pitching, and the craft of writing investigative reports.
For Dada, a journalist from Niger State, until the training, investigative journalism was a ‘no-go-area’.
“I had very little knowledge about investigative journalism. In fact, I detested it because I felt it’s all about poke-nosing and witch-hunting,” she confessed.
But the 23-year-old was convinced otherwise during the training. And now, she is working on developing and sending investigative story ideas to editors.
“It was an intriguing two-day journey, and I had expectations, but my expectations were met in multiple folds. The lectures were eye-opening,” Dada said.
“I met amazing journalists who are doing great things in the field. I am willing to go all-out, developing grassroots investigative story ideas I would like to work on.”
Mohammed Dahiru Lawal, project manager of Grassroots Investigative Journalism Project (GIRP) at The Penlight Center, said many journalists run away from investigative reporting because they sometimes have a misconstrued understanding of the concept.
“Exposing inactions doesn’t all the time mean that as an investigative journalist, you are fighting established authority. No, you are sometimes exposing inactions for the necessary action to be taken by the right authorities,” Lawal, who is also head of Investigations and Fact-checking at PRNigeria, said.
“Yes, certain ventures in investigative journalism are dangerous, but every job has its own hazards; that is why we encourage Journalists on the project to always analyse situations and weigh associated risks. If it is a life-threatening situation, that is where the golden principle of ‘safety first’ comes in handy,” he said.
The maiden edition training covered 105 media persons across three selected states of Gombe (35 persons), Kano (42) and Niger (28). And Daily Nigerian has promised to fund approved investigative pitches from the certified participants.