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Daily Trust Foundation Trains North-East Journalists In Maiduguri

.…With The Support From MacArthur Foundation 

By Sani Yarima 

The Daily Trust Foundation, in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, has organized a comprehensive three-day workshop for journalists in the North-East region. 

The workshop, which is currently taking place at the Bujima International Hotel in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, aims to equip participants with advanced data journalism techniques, focusing on the Computer Assisted Reporting method, as well as sourcing, extracting, and converting data.

The Daily Trust Foundation serves as the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm of the Media Trust Group, which is the owner of Daily Trust, Trust TV, Trust Radio, and several other publications.

The selection of participants was drawn from Adamawa, Taraba, Gombe, Bauchi, Yobe, and Borno, which is the host state.

In his opening remarks, Malam Bilya Bala, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Daily Trust Foundation, emphasized the significance of visualized data in bringing the reality of complex issues to the forefront. 

He explained that journalists require evidence to conduct successful investigations, not only through documents and interviews but also through publicly available data that indicates patterns or trends that may alert those in power to issues that may have gone wrong.

“We want more and more journalists to adopt similar stories to those we have published in our flagship publication, Daily Trust, using data and infographics to create high-impact stories. You will have the opportunity to meet Ali Gaidam, who is the hero of data visualization at Daily Trust. He is one of the facilitators at the training,” Bala said.

The core of the training is data mining and the use of Excel spreadsheets. Bala acknowledged that this could be tedious and intellectually demanding, but it is the pathway to a successful career in data journalism. 

Additionally, the Chairman emphasized that participants must know how to gather relevant data from diverse sources and how to use Microsoft Excel to refine and analyze the data.

“Data brings precision to your reporting; you can be accused of bias when you report opposition views, but not when you present credible data in your reporting,” Bala stated.

Malam Bilya Bala expressed appreciation to the Borno State Government, represented by the Commissioner for Information and Internal Security, Professor Usman Tar, and the Senior Special Assistant to Borno State Governor on Media, Mr. Baba Sheikh Haruna. 

He also thanked the representatives of the Executive of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Borno State chapter.

“The Foundation has been conducting previous training activities on investigative reporting since 2017 in partnership with the MacArthur Foundation. 

“We consider capacity building a vital strategy for enhancing credible and relevant journalism in Nigeria. We have experienced facilitators to guide you through the processes of doing great journalism.

 “I believe these three days will be a turning point in the journalism career of some of the participants,” Bala concluded.

In his goodwill address, the State Commissioner for Information and Internal Security, represented by Babagana Mustapha, expressed his appreciation towards the organizers of the event and emphasized the relevance of data journalism in modern-day journalism. 

He further added that the government of Borno State considers journalists as partners in progress and that the administration will continue to provide unwavering support to journalists working in the state. 

The commissioner also urged the journalists to maintain professionalism and objectivity in their reporting and to utilize the knowledge acquired from the workshop.

The Senior Special Assistant to Governor Babagana Zulum on Media, Mr. Baba Sheikh Haruna, appreciated the Daily Trust Foundation for selecting Maiduguri as the venue for the workshop. 

He emphasized the cordial and harmonious relationship between the Borno State Government and journalists and urged the participants to fact-check their stories and make use of data. 

Mr. Haruna also commended the journalists for their contributions, resilience, and empathy towards the people of the State.

Theophilus Abbah, Ph.D., gave an overview of the workshop and presented a paper on Data Journalism and its Significance to Modern Journalism (an Introduction). 

Mr. Damilola Ojetunde, who is the BBC Africa Bureau, spoke extensively on Data Mining: Primary and Secondary.

On the second day of the workshop, Mr. Ojetunde is expected to present papers on Tools for Web Scraping and The Use of Excel. 

On the third day, Mr. Ali Gaidam, AGM (Creative Unit) Daily Trust, Abuja, will present papers on Factors to Consider in Data Visualization and Data Visualization (Practical Exercise). 

Mr. Theophilus Abbah will also take the participants through the Data Journalism Project Storytelling.

The workshop will conclude with a certificate presentation to the participants.

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