COVID-19: Campus journalists charged on collaborative reporting

Premium Times, NAN, fake news, Dapo Olorunyomi, campus journalists
Publisher of Premium Times, Dapo Olorunyomi

Publisher of Premium Times, Dapo Olorunyomi, has charged campus journalists to collaboratively use this period of lockdown to report about challenges facing the education sector in Nigeria.

Key among the issues that can be reported, according to Olorunyomi, is access to education and financing, as well as accountability reporting which can be used to beam light on community administration and management of the respective neighbourhoods.

Olorunyomi stated this during a tweet chat with the National Union of Campus Journalists (NUCJ) over the weekend.

The Chief Judge for the Zimeo Award of the African Media Initiative (AMI) said: “If campuses remain closed for long and students are in wide dispersal, we can repurpose our operations in two key ways: one is to reflectively report on the challenges of education financing in Nigeria today.

“The second is how we use our capabilities in accountability reporting to beam light on community administration and management in all our neighbourhoods. Naturally, the new platforms of dissemination will unquestionably be socials.

“Collaborative reporting could come in handy. The important thing is to have broad headers of what the major challenge facing the sector today is. I may be wrong but access to quality education tops the chart in my view.

“At the heart of that question of access is the question of financing. I think contemporary campus journalism drops the ball a bit in this regard. We are not interrogating the question adequately.

“Related to the question of access is the democratisation of structures of governance on our campuses. By tabling these issues we can force a reset of the noble goals of broad access and how public education underscores democracy building.

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“This type of engagement ties to the broad challenge of community renewal. The lockdown invariably opens the challenge of how to link governance at those levels to the larger crisis of public education.

“Growth will derive from the goals we set, the quality of our output and the patronage we are able to use these outcomes to attract.”

When asked how campus journalists can contribute to the fight against the spread of fake news during this period, Olorunyomi said: “I think the challenge is through vigorous media literacy. The first step for us, of course, is our own immersion in the protocols of information disorder. The educator must first be educated.

“That means understanding that what we call ‘fake news’ could be misinformation, disinformation or malinformation. They don’t mean the same thing and serve different ends, regardless of what Trump says!

“All said this is the most challenging period to project and promote truth through verifiable, and accurate reporting and refutation of falsehood.

“We come to the point where we now know that bad journalism and reporting have consequences. They can hurt or even lead to fatalities. Truth is the only noble currency of good journalism,” he added.