Fountain University lecturer, Rasheed Adebiyi, has begun advocacy visits to media education and practice stakeholders in Osun State on adopting Solutions Journalism approach in both the classroom and on the field. Adebiyi, who is a 2022 Fellow of the African Solutions Journalism Fellowship, began the visits with his department of affiliation at the Fountain University, Osogbo, Nigeria.
While making his advocacy talk, Adebiyi stated that solutions journalism is a practice of journalism that focuses on response to a social problem with the aim of drawing insights, presenting evidence and calling attention to limitations of the response. He further said this type of journalism is what is needed to give agency to those who are working to respond to the problems confronting humanity. He, therefore, appealed to his colleagues to accept the solutions approach in other to change the narrative of “bad news is good news”. He explained that focusing on efforts made to respond to problems would enable people to have hope and not be overwhelmed by the enormity of the problems confronting the human race and especially the African continent. The fellow therefore advocated for pedagogical mind-shift in the media classroom where the professionals on the field were being produced.
In his response, the Head of Department, Dr. Kamoru Salaudeen, embraced the idea of solutions journalism describing it as a redefined concept of human angle stories usually featured in the media. He, however, noted the uniqueness of the concept with its four pillars of response, evidence, insight and limitations. He averred that including it in the curriculum as a stand-alone course might be difficult. He then encouraged the members of the faculty in the department to see where it could be included in courses such as News Writing, Development Communication, Specialized Reporting, Investigative Journalism and Documentary Production. He appealed to the fellow to ensure that he shares training opportunities on Solutions Journalism among colleagues to enhance further understanding of the concept. Salaudeen further suggested that a sub-theme on Solutions Journalism be included in the forthcoming International Conference of the College of Management and Social Sciences in the university. He as well said that the scope of the proposed departmental journal should be expanded to accommodate solutions journalism. Members of the faculty of the department made contributions that would enable the acceptability of the solutions approach in the academia.
The programme featured a question and answer session where concerns of all the faulty members present were addressed. In attendance at the programme was Mr. Sanni Azeez; Mr. Ridwan Kolawole; Mr. Raheem Akintunde, Mr. Azeez Akeem; Mr. Adeniyi Yusuf, and Mr. Tesleem Adegboyega. Students who also served as volunteers at the event included AbdulGafar Adebayo, Alli Yusroh, Ayanwola Qudrah and Ishola Bilqis.
Advocacy visit is one of the deliverables of the 2022 African Solutions Journalism Fellowship won by Dr. Rasheed Adebiyi. Other activities to be undertaken by the fellow include organising a roundtable on Solutions Journalism teaching and practice in Osun as well as setting up a Solutions Journalism Hub in the State. The African Solutions Journalism Initiative is supported by the Solutions Journalism Network, New York and implemented by the Nigeria Health Watch, Abuja, Nigeria.