By Dada Ahmed in Lokoja.
Participants at the training workshop.
The Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Stallion Times Media Services, Kano, Mal. Isiaku Ahmed, has advocated a robust engagement between Journalists and stakeholders in the preparation and implementation of Kogi State budget.
According to him,such effort will enable Journalists track and report budget effectively to the have informed opinion about budget.
Ahmed stated this on Thursday in Lokoja at the end of a Two-Day Training Workshop, organised for Journalists in the state by Stallion Times Media Services.
Mal. Isiaku Ahmed explaining points to participants.
Our Correspondent reports that the workshop has as theme,”Budget Tracking and Reporting”under the Get Involved, Dialogue and Improved Project–GDRIP,” funded by MacArthur Foundation.
Ahmed,who is also the GDRIP Coordinator,said that the call became necessary in view of the over low tracking and reporting of budget by Journalists in the state, adding that the trend must change must change for the better.
One of the resource persons.
He said that for journalists to accomplish the desired success in such task, they must zero their mind from the belief that those charged with the responsibility of developing budget are not reachable or approachable for information.
He reminded the Journalists that in the event of not been able to reach the critical stakeholders directly, they could use those very close to them, in addition to using relevant internet information pertaining to the subject matter.
Mr Henry Omokhaye, another resource person, fielding questions from participants.
The CEO said that Journalists were also at liberty to use diplomacy, dialogue and partnership in obtaining relevant information to enable them write well informed stories about budget.
Ahmed, who noted that tracking and reporting budget could be daunting, advised Journalists to conduct such investigative report with great caution,in view of its security challenges.
“For instance, you could ask somebody else to assist you in snapping the picture of Constituency project cited in the budget you are tracking and reporting.
” Don’t tell anybody that you are going to publish the story,fact-check your story and give it to somebody knowledgeable enough to read and help make it error free before publication.
“You could share with your story with colleagues who are willing to publish and if you decide to publish your story, you can use psudo name as your byline, if you like,” he urged.
The Stallion Times boss, who described investigative reporting, especially on budget, as a complex exercise said that his word of caution became imperative for Journalists who delve into the task to be mindful of their security.
Earlier in his lecture, entitled “Budget Monitoring: Understanding the Concept and Tracking of Constituency Project”, Mr Henry Omokhaye of Budgit Foundation, called on participants to be thorough in reporting budget Issues.
A good reportage of Constituency Project cited in a budget,he noted, entailed that the Journalists know everything about the project; the location,the estimate, setting time for monitoring,interact with its initiator, sampling the feeling of the community toward the project among other steps.
Contributing, a media consultant,Mr Steve Salau, who spoke on “Developing Investigative Story Ideas”, called on Journalists to investigate budget stories with the best of ethics before going to the press.
According to him, budget story could be in form of the conventional report, investigstive and interpretative to be able to adequately inform the public and for the people to have informed opinion about intention towards their wellbeing.
In their responses,the participants thanked Stallion Times for availing them the opportunity of the workshop, adding that it had increased their knowledge and promised to put their experience to enhanced budget tracking and reporting in their work.
They also appreciated the two resource persons for impacting invaluable knowledge in them, a development they noted would boost their productivity beyond budget tracking and reporting.
The Reporters recalls that Stallion Times has so far organised three training workshops for Journalists in the state since the beginning of 2022.
The Reporters gathered that Mac Arthur Foundation funded the workshop.
About 30 students attended the workshop.