Frontline citizen engagement platform, Civic Media Lab, has completed the first phase of its National training tour taking place across the six geopolitical zones in the country.

The programme, held in conjunction with the National Union of Campus Journalists, with funding from MacArthur Foundation, was designed to train and mentor students on taking active roles in journalism.

The first leg of the training held in the North-East and North-Central, with representatives of tertiary institutions in both zones in attendance.

Adamawa State University, Mubi, hosted the rest of the North-Eastern region. Institutions from Taraba, Jigawa and other neighbouring towns were represented.

Habib Oladapo, Lead Trainer of the Civic Media Lab, took the participants on an intensive two-in-one session on news writing and investigative reporting. The training, which lasted over five hours, also had class tasks and assignments to help their understanding.

Mark Ditto, the UCJ president, Adamawa State University, expressed his delight at being part of the training, stating that "This training has inspired me to be able to practise journalism and make a name for myself while still in school".

Another participant, Emme Emmanuel described the training as a thrilling experience.

“I hope we have this more often. I believe I have had the opportunity to gain much on how to do investigative reports and help change the realities in the country,” he stated.

The train then moved to North-Central as the University of Ilorin played host to institutions within the zone. Schools from Kogi and Kwara states were ably represented.

Oladapo exposed participants to the nitty-gritty of news writing and investigative reporting. The highly interactive session also had participants split into five groups for the purpose of brainstorming and identifying relevant stories to write on for their post-training assessment.

Chima Osuji, immediate past president of the UCJ, Unilorin, was full of adulations for the organisers.

“I have received enough tips and motivation and I believe I am now better poised to pursue a career in journalism,” the law graduate disclosed.

Abdullahi Aishat, a 400 level student of English, Unilorin, also described the session as both exciting and inspiring, noting that she is ready to explore all that she has learnt.

She said: “I totally enjoyed every bit of it and I feel I have picked up new things that will help me master the craft and be a better journalist."

Generally, participants in the both zones promised to carry out the tasks given to them after the training.

The second phase of the tour will be in the South-East and South-South region and it is scheduled for September 2018.

The training is part of the mandate of the Civic Media lab to train 2,000 citizen journalists and engender a paradigm shift in journalism practice in Nigeria.

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