CAMASEJ empowers journalists to uncover cover-ups

About 25 journalists have been drilled on the techniques of investigative journalism in order to improve their skills to uncover cover-ups for better reporting.

The journalists drawn from the public and private media in the East, Adamawa, North and Far North Regions were trained during a two-day workshop organised by the Cameroon Association of English-speaking Journalists, (CAMASEJ), with funding from the US Embassy in Yaounde.

The second in a series of two of the workshops took place in Ngaoundere, headquarters of the Adamawa Region on Thursday and Friday June 20 and 21, 2024.

The first phase took place in Douala in May, for journalists from the six other regions of the country.

Speaking at the opening of the Ngaoundere workshop, Rodrigue Nganzi, Press and Media Coordinator at the US Embassy in Yaounde said the diplomatic mission is very supportive to the media because it believes that the media plays an important role for democracy to thrive in the society.

“We chose to focus on investigative reporting because of its importance. Journalists are working for change in the society and one way is through investigative reporting,” said Nganzi.

He expressed the wish to see journalists put in practice the knowledge they have gained from the workshops and bring some changes in the way they work.

Rodrigue Nganzi speaking at opening of workshop

“Our hope is that you take the knowledge gained and message to the other colleagues who couldn’t join us for this workshop,” he told participating journalists on the second and final day of the workshop at the Marhaba Hotel in Ngaoundere.

The Public Relations Officer, (PRO), of CAMASEJ, Wanchia Cynthia expressed the gratitude of the largest socio-professional grouping of journalists in the country to the US Embassy for the sponsorship.

She said the workshop is part of the association’s drive to empower journalists to produce impactful investigative reports that can trigger positive change.

Wanchia announced that a call for pitches will be launched in the days ahead and participants with the best pitches will receive funding to pursue their stories as part of the US Embassy funding.

Covering to uncover cover-ups

During the two-day workshop, participants from across the print, radio, television and digital media, were drilled on seven different modules focusing on how to carry out a good investigation.

Speaking on the basics of investigative journalism, senior freelance investigative journalist and editor, Franklin Sone Bayen said it is the genre of journalism which is focused on “covering to uncover what someone is covering up or seeks to cover up”.

He then crafted the code/formula: IJ = C2uCCu meaning; Investigative Journalism equals, Covering to unCover Cover-ups. “If the reporting is not uncovering a cover-up, it’s not investigative reporting, be it what great journalistic work,” Bayen stated.

Other facilitators included senior journalist, editor and media consultant, Dr Pierre Le Grand Nka who trained participants on the terrain of investigative journalism and the advantages and inconveniences of computer-assisted journalism.

For his part, investigative journalist and publisher, editor-in-chief of NewsWatch newspaper, Ndi Eugene Ndi educated the journalists on how to use open source intelligence in finding and telling investigative stories and how to write a convincing pitch.

Rodrigue Nganzi hands certificate of appreciation for successful organization of the workshop to Wanchia Cynthia

Meanwhile journalist and fact-checker, Esther Senpa Blaksemdi trained participants on fact checking and countering disinformation and propaganda.

Knowledge gained to help trainees

Participants said the knowledge gained from the workshop will shape the way they do their work going forward.

Sylvester Atemkeng, journalist at the Maroua regional station of the Cameroon Radio Television, (CRTV), told NewsWatch that the insights and skills acquired during the training are of great importance and will immeasurably support his professional journey.

“The practical skills and knowledge imparted during the sessions have equipped me to perform my duties with a greater level of competence and confidence,” said Atemkeng. “I am confident that I can now pitch a story without any blocks and I am in love with investigative journalism now”.

Another trainee, Mary Namondo, a freelance journalist in Ngaoundere shared similar views.

“The training is worth for me as I have learnt steps in investigative journalism, open source techniques and how to fact check which will help me counter disinformation and propaganda while reporting,” she said.

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