CJID Training: What I Learnt About Journalism


By: Abdulrasheed Akere

This article contains my experience from the CJID training. A question pops into your mind: Who or what is CJID? Don't be in haste; this diary will feed you excessively. The CJID is an acronym for Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development, a West African non-profit media organization based in Abuja, the federal capital territory of Nigeria.

This incredible organization blessed my school, Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto (UDUS), with a four-day campus journalism clinic where 52 campus journalists, alongside Mass Communication students, were trained on evidence-based reporting. The participant selection process was quite competitive due to the multitude of applicants. I had the privilege to participate in the fantastic training from October 16 to October 19, 2023.

Though I had been an author with the Campus Reporter project of CJID before the training, it was the first time I met CJID physically. It is one thing to learn, and it is another thing to learn from experts. The training allowed us to learn and relearn from diverse media professionals across newsrooms. They took us through more than twelve sessions to build our journalism capacity. CJID told us that the objective of the training is to develop next-generation journalists with impact-driven journalism.

On the first day of the training, Mr Haruna Babale, a publisher of Wikkitimes, trained us on newsgathering and tools for investigative reporting. Newsgathering is collecting information from sources, interviewing, observing events, using official records, and verifying information. We were told always to corroborate our sources by multi-sourcing and present the information to the public.

He also exposed us to source mapping and interviewing. Beforehand, most of us needed to learn the difference between a source and an interviewee. A source possesses relevant information that can aid a journalist’s report, while an interviewee provides the required information or answers a journalist's question.

Source mapping means a systematic process of identifying and categorizing sources. It ensures a diverse range of perspectives and information, aids in building trust and credibility of reports and prevents false or misleading information. We were acquainted with interviewing skills through an audio-visual display, a practical approach.

While speaking on investigative reporting, Mr Haruna quoted George Orwell's expression: “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want to be printed; everything else is public relations.” He added, “Journalists are the custodians of the truth. Find the truth and tell it: nothing more, nothing less.” The training changed my perspective on investigative reporting and gave me a reason to delve into it because it promotes accountability, democracy, good governance, human rights, and fighting impunity.

The interactivity of the training made it more striking and exciting. The way the facilitators carried us along with questions unveiled their professionalism. Using a practical approach to teaching made it easier for our brains to remember any bit of the lesson learned. I don't know what commanded my brain to store the knowledge in a long-term memory. I can still visualize how experts at the journalism clinic treated our wounds.

A fact-checker from Dubawa, Mr Silas Jonathan, introduced us to fact-checking, what we can fact-check, and why we need to run fact-check. I could fathom from the session that fact-checking means verifying the credibility of a claim or information and arriving at a conclusion/verdict to curtail misinformation or disinformation. The claim is not fake news; it is rather an information disorder. Fact-checking can be seen as a modern aspect of accountability journalism. Mr Silas said, as I quote: “If the word search is enough, we won't have research. If the word check is enough, we won't have a fact-check.

Could you believe I did not know the difference between gender and sex until Mrs Iretomiwa Dele-Yusuff, editor of Campus Reporter, told us at the training? During her session on the gender transformative approach to storytelling, she explained that gender is social while sex is biological. This session gave me insight into applying gender equity while telling a story. She also taught us how to use freedom of information and basic news editing using Grammarly and Google Docs. 

Another experienced facilitator, Mr Kabir Yusuf, a journalist with Premium Times, allowed us to drink from his ocean of data journalism knowledge. He analyzed what data is, how to source data, clean data, and visualized it for us. He explained that every good story must be backed up with credible data. Also, we were blessed with safety tips for campus journalists, media ethics and professionalism, use of the campus reporter website, and how to pitch, among others. 

We were grouped into five groups; each group was asked to come up with a story idea on campus, pitch it, and do the story as trained next-generation journalists. Every group tried, but my group did the best. I led the team (group 3), which emerged as the winner of the storytelling competition with a cash prize of N20,000.

A beautiful thanks to Mr Bisan Habu, partnerships manager of CJID, and Mr Gbolahan Ogunsolu for making the campus clinic successful. Special appreciation to the Campus Reporter team and the CJID for finding UDUS worthy of the opportunity. We must warmly regard our indefatigable National Association of Campus Journalists (NACJ-UDUS) for its outstanding innovation and development.

On a final note, CJID should know that the team has impacted our lives, and we are craving to utilize the acquired skills and tell elegant stories. Aside from being brain-needed, we were also mouth-needed throughout the 4-day training. It was an excellent training that we never wanted to finish. We learned, networked, and also had fun. In the end, we were certified as trained next-generation journalists.

Abdulrasheed Akere⁩ is a 300-level student of Education Biology at Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto (UDUS) and the Head of Features and Current Affairs at Observers Mag

Adekunle Famuyiwa

An avid writer, campus Journalist, researcher and budding Lawyer. Currently a 500-level student of Law at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun state, and the Editor-In-Chief of Observers Mag


  1. This is Well Written. I can't just stop reading ❤❤❤❤ Well done to the Writer & the Editor.

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