THE Managing Director, Nigeria Health Watch, Vivianne Ihekweazu, has said solution journalism, also known as ‘sojo’, would remain part and parcel of journalism practice in Nigeria.
She said from the inclusion of sojo as a course in journalism training institutes to dozens of media houses creating solutions journalism desks, the news gathering and reporting business was gaining more momentum in Nigeria.
She stated these in Abuja on Thursday, June 8, at the close-out ceremony of the Solution Journalism Africa Initiative (SJAI), which provided training and funding for media houses and journalists to produce sojo reports.
At the event were representatives of media organisations that benefitted from the project, media managers, editors and other eminent journalists.
The programme began in 2021 and supported 30 media organisations, forming three cohorts of newsrooms and engaging over 90 journalists.
The media outlets engaged in the project include The ICIR, the News Agency of Nigeria, Premium Times, FRCN, Daily Times, Sparkling FM, KissFM Abuja, Business Day, NTA, Humangle, Daily Trust, Guardian, Thisday, and others.
These organisations produced over 250 solutions-focused stories during the period, with over 100 of them indexed in the Solutions Story Tracker.
It also supported 15 fellows across media outlets through training and the production of solutions stories.
“In an era where problem-focused reporting has become the norm, the SJAI project, since its inception in 2021, has been a beacon of change, empowering newsrooms and journalists across Nigeria to investigate and report on how people are responding to various social problems. This shift towards solutions journalism has been instrumental in addressing the growing trend of news avoidance by audiences, as highlighted by the Reuters Institute for Journalism.
“Through the collaboration between Nigeria Health Watch and Science Africa, with the generous support of SJN (Solutions Journalism Network), this project has trained and supported newsrooms and freelance journalists, enabling them to produce impactful stories that inspire change and offer hope to our communities,” Ihekweazu said.
She explained that the project’s impact was visible in the outputs of the media houses it engaged, adding that the stories produced from the project “made a tangible difference.”
Ihekweazu noted that the scope of the project was expanding, covering universal health coverage, water, sanitation, and hygiene, non-communicable diseases, maternal and child health, nutrition, education, sexual and reproductive health and rights, health technology, drug abuse, immunisation, and more.
The Managing Director, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Buki Ponle, spoke glowingly of how the initiative helped his organisation.
NAN was the first media outlet to endorse the project.
Similarly, the project coordinator at the Nigeria Health Watch, Chibuike Alagboso, said solutions journalism would continue to shape the thinking of many Nigerians on events country.
He said the public often got bored with negative stories, which give only a little space to problem-solving stories in the media.
Several journalists took turn to speak at the event, which closes tomorrow, June 9, with a party.
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