The International Centre for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, Abuja, has announced the commencement of the second year of its media development project tagged the Nigerian Investigative Reporting Project, NIRP.
The ICIR, an independent, non-profit, investigative reporting news agency, started the project last year. It is a two part project which provides capacity building for 40 reporters in Investigative Journalism as well as provides financial support for them to undertake critical, watchdog reporting.
The first year of the NIRP brought together 38 journalists from newsrooms across the country for a three – day training programme in Abuja. The 2014 training sessions were conducted by two experienced media trainers, Mark Horvit, Associate Professor of Mass Communication and Executive Director of the Investigative Reporters and Editors, IRE, based in the United States, and Ron Nixon, Washington correspondent of New York Times.
Journalists who participated in the training programme were able to access small grants with which they undertook investigative reporting projects. About 20 investigative reports were so far sponsored in 2014.
This year, the project commences again with the training programme also to be held in Abuja from May 19 to May 21 and is open to practicing journalists in print, electronic and recognised new/digital media platforms. Freelance reporters who show evidence of previous interest and work in Investigative Journalism can also partake in the project as long as they have a guarantee of getting their reports published in a news outlet.
Interested applicants can apply directly to the ICIR through nirp/icirnigeria.org. They would have to go through a screening/assessment process.
Editors of newspaper can also nominate candidates for the project but nominees have to go through a screening process to qualify.
There is space for up to 40 participant this year.
Speaking at the commencement of the project in April, 2014, the Executive Director of the ICIR, Dayo Aiyetan said that the primary objective of the project is to equip journalists in Nigeria with up – date – knowledge of Investigative Journalism as well as help cash strapped newsrooms to undertake critical, watchdog reporting that can make government accountable to the people.
“First, we want to bridge the training gap in the Nigerian media, particularly as regards Investigative Journalism; and build a crop of committed, competent and well trained professionals doing critical reporting that can have an impact on good governance. But we also realised that we need to help the cash strapped newsrooms in which these journalists work with the resources to do serious investigative reporting,” he said.
Ultimately, he said, it is hoped that the project would be a catalyst in promoting a culture on investigative reporting in Nigeria, which he observed is missing now.
Apart from the training, successful participants whose investigative projects are funded would receive small grants to cover reporting, travelling and other expenses and they would be expected to publish their reports in their news outlets.
Nominations for the training will be accepted until Monday, April 20.
The project is funded by Ford Foundation, an international body that supports visionary leaders and organisations on the frontlines of social change worldwide.
International Centre for Investigative Reporting