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Enugu hosts Local Journalism Summit

Information officers serving at the 17 local government areas of Enugu State, civic leaders, and media professionals are expected to convene at Enugu to discuss the potentials of local news in rebuilding journalism practice to strengthen Nigeria’s democracy.

Styled as the first local journalism summit in the state, participants will focus on providing access to high-quality local news that puts a spotlight on shared understanding of what’s happening in the halls of local government councils, community-based organizations, town union governance, village leaders, local school administrations, and rural businesses.

The theme of the proposed five-day summit (August 26-30, 2024) “Local News, Local Voices, and New Pathways for the Reconstruction of Nigerian Journalism” is expected to be a joint project of a private consulting firm, UNEK Solutions, the Enugu State Government’s Ministry of Information, and the Department of Mass Communication, Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu.

A statement from the Director of Public Affairs of the Nigeria-based UNEK Solutions Ltd. Mr. Osita Chinedu notes that the news media’s dependency on national news sources that are removed from everyday life of many Nigerians who reside in rural areas is a common feature of journalism in Africa’s largest democracy.

“Local stories when they are told national news organizations, become cherry-picked anecdotes that build on national tensions. They’re used to engage a national audience rather than to inform a local one. It is time to change course and prioritize local news to power Nigeria’s democracy.”

Experts in media and journalism studies as well as notable thought leaders will facilitate the summit and review exist “news deserts” in Enugu State with the goal of amplifying local voices hitherto unheard or drowned.

UNEK Solutions believes that every community in Enugu State deserves access to high-quality local news that is governed , sustained , and looks like the public it serves.

Local news uplifts voices that would otherwise go unheard, there counter civic ignorance that corrodes democracy. An investment in rebuilding community journalism has the potential benefit of citizen mobilization and boosting the productivity of the information officers serving at the local governments.

The free five-day summit will feature speeches, presentations, panel discussions, workshops, and lightning talks. The summit, being activity based, rely on participants interacting with each other. This results in group learning, an opportunity to build networks, and provide a broader understanding of key issues in local journalism, democratic governance, and countering disinformation. UNEK encourages participants to reflect on improving their practices, processes, and their organizations overall providing comparative examples and alternative approaches, generating new thinking, and strategies or supporting for institutional reform.

Although participation to the summit is open to the public at no cost, registration is required to attend the event.

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