Home News Solutions Journalism, key instrument in changing the narrative – Mrs Ihekweazu

Solutions Journalism, key instrument in changing the narrative – Mrs Ihekweazu

by Haruna Gimba

By Iyemah David

The Managing Director, Nigeria Health Watch, Mrs Vivian Ihekweazu, has said that solution Journalism is a key instrument in changing the narrative of how news is reported in the country.

She said this on Thursday in Abuja at the project closeout event to share the impact of the work and celebrate organisations, newsrooms, and individuals that made the project successful in the country.

In 2021, Nigeria Health Watch officially commenced the implementation of the Nigeria edition of the Solutions Journalism Africa Initiative project supported by Solutions Journalism Network (SJN), USA, and overseen by Africa Initiative.

The three-year journey has been fulfilling and purposeful, according to the organizers.

Dr Ihekweazu said that evidence has shown that consumers of news tend to switch off when the news reporting is focused on problems.

“Solutions journalism, rigorous reporting about how people respond to social problems tells the whole story as it discusses the problem and response to problems.

“The collaboration between Nigeria Health Watch and the Solutions Journalism Africa Initiative (SJAI) is the generous support of Solutions Journalism Network,” she said.

She said that the project has trained and supported newsrooms and journalists, enabling them to produce impactful stories that inspire change and offer hope to our communities.

“Through newsrooms, we have trained and through higher institutions, with universities now including in curriculum solutions-oriented reporting so that future journalists are able to report solutions to issues faced in Nigeria and not just leaving it to the usual way we see the news as negative.

“We have collaborated with 30 media organisations, forming three cohorts of newsrooms and engaging a total of 90 journalists.

“We have had over 250 solutions stories published, with over 100 of them indexed. while this is commendable, we will continue to focus on the impact made,” she said.

According to Mr Buki Ponle, Managing Director, NAN, “Whatever we do as journalists, conscience matters.

“As you tell stories, ensure your writing touches humanity and promotes the public interest.”

Speaking on the importance of balancing stories as journalists, Ponle said that there is always a positive aspect of every negative situation.

While commending Nigerian Health Watch, he urged journalists to always look for the positive side of every situation.

“We should think of making heroes and heroines,” he advised.

He said that the relevance of journalists in community service was a crucial strategy for advocating for development through factual and resourceful stories.

“As a journalist, it is important to always stand by communities,” he said.

Ms Ruona Meyer, Manager, Africa Initiative, SJAI, said that through the solutions journalism initiative in the country, stories that have inspired policy reform have been produced.

Meyer said that it was bringing about a change in the media reporting approach in the country.

She said that the incredible stories the project produced while implementing it were now being used to train colleagues in journalism, which was a key achievement.

She said that solutions Journalism adds more value to news reporting in the country.

“Journalists and media practitioners agree that consumers are becoming more discerning about the kind of news they read.

“The current generation of readers has been noted to stay away from news that amplifies problems, seeking solutions journalism stories to uplift and inspire change,” she said.

She urged journalists to continue to use their platforms to make a good impact in the country.

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