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WikkiTimes Colloquium: American Media Scholar Identifies Accountability, Collaborative Journalism for Sustainable Democracy As Prof Pate Emphasises Income Diversity

Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, an American investigative and data journalist, during his keynote address yesterday at WikkiTimes’ maiden colloquium, said accountability reporting is instrumental to democracy sustainability.

The experienced investigative journalist is also the founder of the Center for Collaborative Investigative Journalism (CCIJ), a think-tank global investigative platform comprising journalists, newsrooms, photographers, data scientists, and students.

READ: Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism Introduces Newsletter for WikkiTimes, Other Partners

Kelly Lowenstein, in his address, harped on collaborative projects with newsrooms across the globe. According to him, reporters ought to recognize the power of collaboration in investigative journalism and “working in an interactive fashion.”

Citing investigative projects CCIJ had executed with local newsrooms in Nigeria such as HumAngle and Daily Trust among others, Kelly Lowenstein, emphasised the need for investigative reporters to utilize power of visuals, especially in the print media, to enrich their stories.

Further speaking on collaboration, he noted that the CCIJ takes “small” incremental stages to drive home the results. Kelly Lowenstein, however, urged reporters to acknowledge the power of the public and the environment in securing transparency, while gaining their trust.

READ: Jeff Kelly, Prof Pate, Others to Speak at WikkiTimes’ 2022 Colloquium

He also advised WikkiTimes and other newsrooms to frequently train their reporters to equip them with the necessary skills in executing accountability reporting.

MEANWHILE, Professor Umaru Pate, Vice-Chancellor of Federal University, Kashere, commended the publisher of WikkiTimes Haruna Mohammed Salisu for his effort in taking the platform to its present status, four years after its birth.

According to him, WikkiTimes is the practical presentation of one’s positive thoughts which is the element of success. “A successful person always puts his positive thoughts into practice.”

The professor bemoaned myriad of challenges crippling the country’s dividends of democracy, stressing that media is one of the fundamental elements in its achievement. Thus, the media must not seethe its swords in holding powers to account, Pate, advised.

READ: After WikkiTimes’ Investigation, Gombe Medical Association Vows to Prosecute Perpetrators

“Now politicians set an agenda for the media,” he said. “For the media to set an agenda, it should go deep into investigative journalism and also invest in technology.”

Inadequate funding has been frustrating the genre of investigative journalism. But the university don proffered that media houses diversify their sources of income.

“Without economic independence, there is no way the editorial independence of media houses can be guaranteed,” he said.

Earlier, the Editor-In-Chief and publisher of WikkiTimes, Haruna Mohammed Salisu in his welcome address, highlighted a couple of investigations the platform had produced in 2022. Notable among these investigations elicited immediate impact, according to him.

READ: WikkiTimes Publisher Speaks on Kiss FM, Wants Corrupt Public Officers Prosecuted

The publisher, however, vowed that irrespective of the forces that stand to quash adversarial journalism, WikkiTimes would wax stronger in the kind of journalism that strengthens accountability, transparency and other salient public interest matters.

The colloquium themed ‘News Desert: Sustaining Democracy Through Fearless Grassroot Accountability Journalism’ was supported by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) under the Collaborative Media Engagement for Development Inclusivity and Accountability Project (CMEDIA) through the MacArthur Foundation.

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