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Online journalists, TVC reporter emerge 2023 WSCIJ fellowship award winners 


Online journalists, TVC reporter emerge 2023 WSCIJ fellowship award winners 

An online publisher, Blessing Oladunjoye, has emerged overall winner at the 2023 Report Women! Female Reporters’ Leadership Programme (FRLP), Fellowship, induction and award ceremony organised by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ).

The Voice Media Trust (VMT NEWS) reports that the event, held on Monday in Ikeja, had Oladunjoye, who runs BONews, followed by Sarah Ayeku, a presenter/Producer at TVC News clinching second place.

Folashade Ogunrinde came third at the event which had Martha Agas, a Principal Correspondent of NAN among the newly inducted fellows.

The 2023 Report Women! FRLP winners were presented laptops, gifts and cash prizes of N200,000; N150,000 and N100,000 respectively.

VMT NEWS reports that all the 12 participants shortlisted from 173 applicants made presentations on their leadership, story projects, results and challenges before the winners were chosen.

Oladunjoye, who won based on her investigation on surrogacy and rise of baby factories in Nigeria, told NAN she became afraid at some stage when the investigation became dangerous.

She said she had to engage friends, family and colleagues at various stages to accompany or give her support when she felt extremely threatened.

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The prize winner was accompanied by her mum, Olori Victoria Akintokun, who also shared the fearful moments.

“I am full of joy that my daughter won,” she said.

Sarah Ayeku of TVC said she was on the verge of giving up and “quiting journalism” when she came in contact with the WSCIJ which changed her perspective.

Working on getting justice of a 21-year-old raped by a police officer but the victim backed out because of the culture of silence.

She expressed hope that newsrooms would  give more opportunities to female journalists inspite of thier peculiarity of combining roles.

Martha Agas of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said journalists should keep on being thier best noting that people and communities were actually taking note of such efforts.

She thanked the leadership of NAN, which gave total support to her project, resulting in her completion of the process to receive the fellowship.

“The journey was challenging but fulfilling,” she said.

During her presentation, she shared insights on her work to expose hardship, human rights abuse and neglect of farming widows in Plateau State silenced by cultural practices.

Mrs Motunrayo Alaka, Executive Director/CEO, WSCIJ, said the project aims to improve parity between men and women in news and newsroom leadership.

She said the “impact of the Report Women FRLP programme has been huge” as the initiative was created to address gaps and provide leadership skills among women.

Alaka said a report would be published later in the month to address issues of male dominance in newsrooms and the need to mainstream gender.

Prof. Ralph Akinfeleye, former Head Of Department, Mass Communication, University of Lagos, expressed satisfaction with the depth of the investigative journalism exhibited by the new fellows.

He enjoined the various media managers, and more importantly the government, to encourage them to do more.

He affirmed that free press was key for sustainability of democracy because information is vital and the government cannot be every where, and so the needed to encourage and empower the media.

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