Celebrity Investigative Journalist Soyombo calls for Caution while Carrying out  Dangerous Assignments

Celebrity Investigative Journalist Soyombo calls for Caution while Carrying out  Dangerous Assignments 

By Bashir Hassan Abubakar 

Fisayo Soyombo

The award winning investigative journalist, Mr. Fisayo Soyombo has cautioned investigative journalists and those involved in covering dangerous assignments to be conscious of their safety while carrying out such assignments.

Mr. Soyombo gave the advice at a one day virtual capacity training meeting on Safety, Security and Management of Trauma in Coverage of Dangerous Assignments, organized by the International Press Centre (IPC) Lagos.

He said investigative journalists needs to be alive to tell their stories stressing that, “no story is worth the life of a human being”.

The writer, whose investigative exposé on the rot in the Nigerian criminal management systems led to an overhaul of the then prison services, also advised upcoming investigative journalists to have a meticulous plan and analyse risks involved in assignments they wish to carry out.

Soyombo, who shared some of his experience with participants, said it is advisable to start with one’s immediate environment before foraying into much bigger assignments.

“Start with something small in your immediate environment before going into bigger investigative reporting”.

He also advised the participants to seek for knowledge from professionals on the nature of the assignment they intend to investigate.

While encouraging upcoming journalists not to be deterred by the risks involved in investigative reporting, Mr. Soyombo further advised that, “in carrying out assignments, don’t expose your family and friends to danger please”.

The resource person concluded his interactive session with participants saying, “always write for public interests and not on individual issues . If you do it for the public and it makes a positive impact, then you have succeeded as a writer”.

Another resource person, who took participants through management of trauma and pressure during assignments, Dr. Uzo Israel, emphasized on the need for journalists to engage in regular physical exercise for at least 30 minutes a day.

Dr. Israel, who is a consultant clinical psychologist in the department of psychology of the University of Lagos, also reiterate the importance of taking deep breaths at a point of trauma or stress disorder during assignments. She stressed that such simple exercises greatly assist people in managing trauma without actually resorting to taking drugs with the attendant side effects associated with such practices.

Earlier before the commencement of the training, the Executive Director of International Press Centre (IPC) Lanre Arogundade said the webinar training was supported by the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), to help journalists build their technical and journalistic skills on the essentials of safety in investigative reporting, digital security and management of post-traumatic stress disorder.

He said the workshop will enable journalists to manage difficult safety challenges faced while carrying out their work.

Mr. Arogundade also said that at the end of the training, participating journalists are expected to be able to practice with increased confidence and manage dangerous situations effectively.

Our correspondent reports that, participants were drawn from both print, broadcast, online and bloggers covering the Covid-19 pandemic in the Northern States of Nigeria who, at one time or the other, were either assaulted or harassed in the course of carrying out their legitimate assignments.

Participants were also taken through three major topics namely: Safety reporting and the challenges online and offline, Safety best practices in the investigation, coverage and reportage of dangerous assignments including pandemics and Managing stress, trauma, and mental health challenges online and offline.

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