Participants and implementers of the Solutions Journalism Africa Initiative (SJAI) project say adopting a solutions journalism approach across newsrooms is critical to ensuring balanced narratives about Nigeria and Africa.
They stated this Friday in Abuja during the close-out ceremony of the project, which was implemented by the Nigeria Health Watch and funded by the Solutions Journalism Network (SJN), USA.
They stated that the SJAI project had been reforming policies and the way news is reported across newsrooms in Nigeria since it commenced in 2021.
The Africa Initiative Manager of the project, Ruona Meyer, said the project had trained and supported newsrooms and journalists across Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda on solutions journalism in the last three years.
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She said the goal was to have a narrative that is not focused on just amplifying only problems about the African continent but to have inclusive reporting and holistic journalism that does not only talk about what is wrong about the society but also talks about who should be held accountable, as well as responses to problems.
“Through the solutions journalism initiative in Nigeria, stories that have inspired policy reform have been produced, and it is bringing about a change in the media reporting approach.
“The incredible stories that were produced while implementing the project are now being used to train colleagues in journalism. The efforts have continued to impact communities and change how news is reported in Nigeria,” she said.
The managing director, Nigeria Health Watch, Vivianne Ihekweazu, said the organisation had, through the project trained over 90 journalists in over 30 newsrooms, including Daily Trust, and over 15 fellows on the practice of solutions journalism.
She said this enabled them to produce impactful stories that inspired change and offered hope to communities in the country.
The Senior Programme Manager, Nigeria Health Watch, Chibuike Alagboso, said solutions journalism was focused on encouraging journalists to expend more energy pushing solutions rather than dwelling on problems, adding that the project enabled journalists to investigate and report on how individuals, communities, organisations are responding to various social problems.
The managing director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Buki Ponle, said journalists must abide by ethics of the profession and develop nose for news.