LAGOS, NIGERIA — March 17, 2012— j-hub today launches eco j-hub, a Nigerian media initiative to aggregate and amplify news from an environmental perspective.
At launch, eco j-hub consists of the website ecojournalism.org, a series of journalism training workshops and an international partner network of environmental and media organizations. eco j-hub was launched at the Goethe Institute Nigeria following a five-day workshop in Lagos from March 13 - 17.
The workshop was attended by 26 participants from print, TV, radio and social media organisations based in Lagos, Edo, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Kaduna, Kano and Abuja, including Akwa Ibom Broadcasting, Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria, Choice FM, Daily Independent, Debeat Africa, Ekiti Radio, FRCN Benin, Freedom Radio Nigeria, Gombe Media Corporation, Imo Broadcasting Corporation, Leadership Newspaper, MITV/Star FM, Nagarta Radio, National Television Authority, News Agency of Nigeria, Radio Nigeria Network, TV/RC, THISDAY and Voice of Nigeria Abuja as well as some of Nigeria's leading blogs.
Guest speakers included Chima Williams of Earth Rights Action - Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA) and Desmond Majekodunmi of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF). The workshop included field research at the Lekki Conservation Centre, where participants had the opportunity to exchange their views on the role of ecojournalism in monitoring compliance with Nigeria's comprehensive environmental policies with members of the Lagos State Ministry of the Environment. Visiting Lekki Beach to investigate how the Nigerian Ports Authority, the NPA, and NIMASA have responded to calls for the removal of a ship wrecked in 2011, participants explored the relationship between environmental journalism and issues of corporate and governmental accountability.
“Vitally important eco-journalism in Nigeria has not yet taken full advantage of the power of online media,” says Tunde Akingbade, one of Nigeria’s leading environmental journalists. “eco j-hub will radically transform the way Nigerian journalists research, publish news and gain global impact for their work.
eco j-hub will:
- Provide a online platform for eco-journalism in Nigeria
- Extend the reach and amplification of Nigerian eco-journalists and their work
- Establish global media and commercial partners for the initiative
“With new initiatives to support IT-driven innovation, Nigerian media and news organizations will face increasing challenges in the world of online media,” says Marc-André Schmachtel, director of the Goethe Institute Nigeria. “This initiative will support media and news organizations become more competitive.”
The new website ecojournalism.org is the world’s first site to be powered by the state-of-the-art, open source publishing platform Newscoop 4. Developed by j-hub partner Sourcefabric, the site will publish articles and resources on Nigerian environmental issues, including relevant research findings from Nigerian institutes such as the Centres for Arid Zone and for Trans-Sahara Studies at the University of Maiduguri. Via its online news site ecojournalism.org, eco j-hub also aims to republish work by leading Nigerian environmental journalists whose writings are currently unavailable in electronic formats.
eco j-hub workshops are based on a peer-to-peer education model. Local and international facilitators engage participants in training activities that cover the entire journalistic workflow. The next eco j-hub workshop will focus on the way data journalism and related ICT policies can increase the impact of environmental journalism.
In the spirit of sharing that characterizes the media practice especially of younger online media users, all articles on the site are published under a Creative Commons license. The open license allows readers to share material and use it for non-commercial purposes as long as they attribute the material to the original author(s).
"eco j-hub's decision to utilize creative commons licences is a very welcome development which we hope other journalists in Nigeria will take advantage of, and perhaps also licence their works in this manner," says Ayo Kusamotu, project leader of Creative Commons Nigeria, in a joint statement issued at launch by eco j-hub and Creative Commons Nigeria. "This initiative is coming at a great time as Nigeria has just passed its Freedom of Information Act, empowering journalists to better access to information which can now be distributed even more widely and effectively."
Following workshop discussions with Nigerian journalism educators, environmental activists, and government officials, eco j-hub will work to:
- Provide on-the-job training on environmental issues and the use of social media to improve coverage and amplify coverage
- Bridge the gap between environmental and media organizations
- Involve journalists in policy debates relating to environmental and media issues, especially those relating to open data and transparency.
“Eco-journalism is not just about reporting on nature, but is a holistic way of looking at urgent economic, social and political issues.” says Michael Ilesanmi, freelance journalist and eco j-hub partner. “eco j-hub will bring about real change in how individuals, public and private institutions, and corporations address environmental issues.”