The Ripples Centre for Data and Investigative Journalism (RCDIJ), a non-profit sister organisation to Ripples Nigeria, Nigeria’s award-winning online newspaper, is set to hold its annual masterclass on data journalism for African journalists.
In partnership with Open Contracting Partnership, Code for Africa, BudgIT, Tracka, Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), and JetSystems, the centre will hold its specialised training tagged ‘RCDIJ Data Journalism Masterclass 2020’ on Thursday, November 26, at Work and Connect, 50 Ubitu Ukiwe Street, Jabi, Abuja.
The one-day training will run from 9am to 5pm. Application for the highly competitive training will open on November 2 and will run until November 15. This year’s masterclass targets forty (40) journalists from across the African continent who will not only receive first-class training, but will also access learning resources to support their practice of data journalism in this year’s areas of focus.
Journalists from across media organisations in Africa (or who are freelancing) with some experience in data and investigative journalism can apply via the RCDIJ website (www.rcdij.org). Selection of participants will, among other things, reflect inclusiveness and diversity.
As with every year, the organising committee of the RCDIJ Data Journalism Masterclass 2020 has narrowed the training’s focus into three key areas, namely, Open Contracting/Procurement; Public Sector Projects Tracking/Monitoring, and Data Journalism. Speaking on the rationale for the selected focus areas, the Executive Director of the centre, Mr Samuel Ibemere, said, “2020 has been a truly challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only has the pandemic directly upended life as we know it, its fallouts have also been gravely damaging.
According to a statement by the Program Director, Mr. Chinedu Chidi, “one area that has occupied the spotlight is government’s financial response to the crisis. The allegations of mismanagement and fraud that have dogged the entire process, from procurement to distribution of resources, bring to the fore, the essential value of open contracting, public sector projects monitoring, and data journalism.
“This presents a unique opportunity for journalists to deploy critical data journalism skills that will ensure transparency and accountability in the public sector contracting/procurement, and project implementation phases. But they have to be trained first. It is this challenge that RCDIJ, with the generous support of its partners, is taking up at this year’s masterclass.”
Last year, the RCDIJ Data Journalism Masterclass trained 50 journalists in partnership with Code for Africa, BudgIT, and the International Press Centre (IPC). The training also featured CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Award winner, Arukaino Umukoro. The training focused on the application of data journalism techniques to three (3) important areas of reporting, namely, Conflict Reporting, Migration Crisis Reporting, Public Sector Finance Reporting.
The Data Journalism Masterclass is one of the many projects being embarked upon by RCDIJ. The centre, an affiliate of Ripples Nigeria (www.ripplesnigeria.com), Nigeria’s foremost multimedia online news platform, is dedicated to the improvement of the human condition through journalism, public advocacy, empowerment, direct social intervention, among others.
Since its launch in 2017, the centre has undertaken over hundred (100) impactful projects across Nigeria on different critical areas, including media, environmental sustainability, security, corruption, health, development, democracy, elections, peace, education, migration, and resettlement (www.rcdij.org).
A major highlight of the centre’s projects is its annual public empowerment event tagged, Ripples Dialogue. The dialogue, held in conjunction with Ripples Nigeria, brings together some of the most influential personalities to enlighten, empower and challenge media practitioners, civil society, and the general public.
In the past, the event has been headlined by Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, with a supporting cast that included Peter Obi, former Anambra State governor, and Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi,Chairperson of Transition Monitoring Group and Founder of Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre, among others. Discussions have centred around the theme, ‘Rebuilding Trust in a Divided Nigeria’.