The co-founder of The West African Pilot News, Professor Chris Ulasi, led a United States-sponsored Election Reporting Project (ERP) in Nigeria.
ERP was a two-day workshop to equip, train and support Nigerian journalists, videographers and photojournalists to adequately cover the 2023 elections in an accurate, objective, balanced and safe way.
The workshop was organised by the West Africa Broadcast and Media Academy (WABMA) and the Enugu Literary Society (ELS) in partnership with the US consulate-general in Lagos, Will Stevens.
At the opening of the two-day workshop, Stevens said the US government allocated $50 million for the training as a way to ensure that the 2023 general elections are peaceful and credible.
“We are supporting more than 100 journalists with this workshop in Ibadan, Enugu, Port Harcourt and Lagos as part of U.S. efforts to support Nigeria’s elections,” the consul-general said.
“Over the last three years and into the next year too, the US government has allocated more than 50 million dollars for technical assistance, support, training, for INEC, and for civil society, among others.
“We are committed to initiatives here in Nigeria to build needed capacity. We have funded training for hundreds of journalists on topics ranging from fact-checking, health reporting, defence and national security reporting, investigative journalism, election reporting and media ethics.
“These training, together with other programmes we offer virtually to demonstrate our commitment to this partnership that we have long enjoyed here in Nigeria.”
The lead facilitator for the workshop was the co-founder, The West African Pilot News, Dean, School of Communication and Chair, Department of Radio, Television and Films, Texas Southern University Houston, USA., Prof. Chris Ulasi.
Some other facilitators include Prof. Lai Oso, fmr. Dean of Communications, Lagos State University; and Miss Grace Ekpu, an investigative reporter with the Associated Press (AP).
According to the lead facilitator, the project was in three phases. Phase one was the workshops which included training held in several zones.
Phase two was the content stage. In phase two, trained journalists were plugged into an election reporting website and online community for support and fact-checking of content pre-during-and-after elections coverage season. Phase three is the awards stage when outstanding participating journalists would be given awards after the elections season.
The two-day intensive training, which was held in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on 14 and 15 November was attended by journalists from different states in the southwest. The training included practical skills in fact-checking, digital security, and interaction among journalists from different backgrounds among others.
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