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Friday, January 27, 2023

Still on modification of journalism curriculum –

In this age of “fake news,” will it be fashionable for any university offering journalism-related courses not to develop students’ verification and fact-checking skills? Can you train a doctor without diagnostic skills? Can you make a lawyer without the skill of distinguishing fact from fiction? As such, the idea of ​​incorporating fact-checking and media literacy into college courses offering journalism-related courses is not uncommon. The challenge of information confusion—labeled fake news, misinformation, disinformation, malicious information, satire, propaganda, imposter content, and more, especially in the digital public sphere—is pervasive. Nigeria faces this challenge in every sphere of its national life – political, religious, governance, economic, social, tribal, etc. Voices are clamoring for how this phenomenon has not only polarized the country but frustrated efforts to get the country back on track. There are different proposals on how to contain the virus of “fake news”, including using legal methods (death penalty proposals) to stop its weaponization at an alarming rate to create and spread fear, discord, disease and even death.

So why, as intellectuals, should we ignore acceptable solutions to this problem? Fact-checking and media literacy are undeniable modes of addressing the challenges associated with information confusion, which has also made its way into mainstream media. Africa Check institutionalized fact-checking into Nigerian media operations in 2016, and the Center for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) is now extending it through the Dubawa Fact-Checking Project. I conducted a study in 2020 documenting the efforts of Nigerian media organizations to combat information confusion. The survey results shed light on the challenges these organizations face in addressing the issue. One of the challenges is the lack of verification and fact-checking skills among Nigerian journalists, the shortage of professional fact-checkers, and the exponential spread of misinformation without commensurate growth in the field of fact-checking. Purveyors of disinformation take advantage of the media illiteracy of Nigerians to up their game. Thereby making their victims willing to become instruments of their despicable deeds.

A study by eight communication scholars, including Africa Check founder Peter Cunliffe-Jones, also found that Nigeria scored low on integrating media into school curricula. Part of the study titled: “The State of Media Literacy and Misinformation Literacy Theory in Sub-Saharan Africa 2020″ explained the limited elements of media and information literacy (MIL) included in curricula in seven countries, including Nigeria.” The authors propose six knowledge and skill areas specific to misinformation to reduce students’ susceptibility to false and misleading claims. The authors identify barriers to the introduction and effective teaching of misinformation literacy, proposing five areas that promote misinformation in schools Literacy recommendations to reduce the harm caused by misinformation. Currently, the media, fact-checking and NGOs have been investing in media literacy programs for years, but Nigerian higher education institutions have not done much in this regard. Apart from researching this Phenomenon, higher education institutions offering journalism-related courses are also obliged to offer fact-checking and media literacy courses to bridge knowledge and skills gaps in the Nigerian media information ecosystem.

We should provide locally produced reading and course materials for the specific needs of our higher education institutions. We can draw on UNESCO’s training manual on fact-checking edited by Lagos State University (LASU) Faculty of Communication Professor Lai Oso. Whether you are a PR specialist, advertising practitioner, development communications specialist or professional journalist, fact-checking/verification skills are essential. In this context, therefore, it is timely to require departments offering communication-related courses to include fact-checking and verification in their 30% course allowance. The long-term goal is to convince NUCs to include fact-checking and media literacy in 70% of CCMAS. If the harms of journalism are so obvious, why isn’t trauma literacy included in its curriculum? To justify the NUC’s inclusion of trauma knowledge in the CCMAS communication-related curriculum, I will be citing heavily the call for papers for an international conference and knowledge exchange event scheduled for June 15-16, 2023. It is hosted by the Journalism Education Trauma Research Group (JETREG), a collaboration between the Department of Journalism Studies, University of Sheffield, UK, and the University of Lincoln, UK. The session titled: “Alive to Tell Stories – Building Community Resilience in Journalism” responded to long-standing issues of work-related emotional and psychological stress in journalistic practice:

“Journalists are among the first responders to traumatic events and among the last to leave, yet they are the least likely to receive training in trauma-informed literacy and resilience, unlike those of the police, nursing, ambulance services and fire brigades. peers.” “Previous research has shown that many journalists report on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), related symptoms, depression and/or substance abuse, and that many feel ill-prepared for tasks that involve reporting on risky Traumatized by major events and incidents.”

“Some scholars have blamed journalism’s ingrained norms of objectivity at the heart of journalism education, and the ‘macho’ views found in some newsrooms, as one of the reasons why journalists are reluctant to speak about the emotional and psychological impact of exposure Traumatic events to their health and wellbeing.”

“Research shows that journalism students are also incapable of processing their own emotional responses or evaluating their experiences ethically.” Disciplinary research; psychological and emotional safety of journalists/media workers, pedagogical approaches and best practices for trauma literacy in journalism education/training, and diverse experiences of trauma, emotional labor, or (un)well-being in journalism/media.” “We Also seeks the perspective of scholars

Practice reporter/freelancer/editor coping strategies from different disciplines and/or newsroom support that may be of teaching relevance. Six of the conference’s 13 themes were relevant to this advocacy: trauma-informed journalism practice and pedagogy, and challenges to normative assumptions around objectivity and detachment; skills and abilities to deal with the impact of traumatic events; Barriers to trauma literacy in education.

Others are: Emotional Literacy and Psychological Safety in Journalism; Best Practices and Innovations in Journalism Pedagogy in Building Emotional Resilience; Mental Health/Wellbeing for Journalists and Journalism Students/Interns.

Therefore, if universities offering communication-related courses are interested in journalism safety, the new CCMAS should consider integrating trauma literacy.

  • Jamiu is a lecturer at the Department of Mass Communication, Abeokuta Crescent University, Ogun State.

read also nigerian tribune

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