Fisayo Soyombo, Editor, Sahara Reporters and Aljazeera contributor yesterday August, 29 2018 held a master class on Investigative Journalism for young Journalists at the Civic Media Lab in Lagos. Fisayo who is renowned for his ground breaking investigations and in-depth analysis of topical issues as relating to the ills in our society decided to train more journalists on the nitty gritty of investigative journalism which he described as the heart of journalism the world over.
The master class which served a dual purpose of mentoring and teaching was all encompassing as he practically took the attendees through the entire process of investigative journalism. In his presentation which he titled Undercover Reporting, he stated that undercover reporting is justified when a journalist is aware of an ongoing ill but he or she knows no one will ever give out an evidence as relating to such ills or when the journalist don’t have sufficient information to make a story but he or she simply needs a pictorial or video evidence among other reasons.
According to him, as much as the journalist justifies the need to go undercover, it is expected for such individual to be resilient, positive and also be a problem solver while his eyes and memory should be at alert among other technicalities needed to carry out the assignment. Using his past experiences as example, he stated that investigative stories abounds all around us in the society which we could pick out in conversations, environmental happenings and research.
Answering questions on whether investigative stories should be negative at all times, Fisayo stated that investigative journalism is not only about exposing the negativity of the society but also the positivity can be investigated and written on to appreciate the good course in our society. He also warned that investigative journalists must not engage in a story for the sake of vendetta or witch-hunting rather, the story must be written in defence of public interest. The master class which has seventeen attendees also provided opportunities for them to pitch their stories which according to the host will be funded by the Civic Media Lab after intense scrutiny.
It is important to state at this juncture that the master class was free and I implore other Journalists in the country do same to mentor the upcoming ones to improve the quality of hands we have in the media industry in Nigeria.