Towards the pursuit and accomplishment of its goal of transforming Africa media landscape into global standard. Africa Foundation For Young media Professionals in collaboration with Nigeria Grassroots News organized a day media skill capacity development for next generation and early career journalists across Nigeria and Africa on “Pitch and Grant Writing Dynamics”. The training which was originally aimed at enhancing the capacity of the targets on how to gain essential skills in pitch and grant writing held on Wednesday October 19, 2022.
This media skill capacity development was facilitated by three experts picked from Nigeria (Ann Godwin, Chief Correspondent The Nigerian Guardian and Fisayo Soyombo, Co-Founder Foundation For Investigative Journalism) and from Kenya, Elizabeth Angira, a freelance and award winning journalist.
In his opening remark, Yinka Olaito, the executive director of Africa Foundation For Young Media Professionals and Managing Editor of The Nigeria Grassroot News emphasized “In today’s world, the technicality of pitch writing with regards to how to craft it well has become an essential skill that must be understood by every early career and young journalist”. “If there is any time to upskill in this area, it is actually now. Thanks to the competitive nature of the media industry”, Yinka Olaito concluded.
Opening the session, Elizabeth Angira shared with the audience what she considered as tips to master by young journalists who wants to be relevant. Elizabeth Angira outlined “There is an essential need to use simple language, ability to describe the problem with an outline of solution, a need for research and data to back up facts”. Beyond these, Angira suggests a close relationship with a mentor for guidance will also help.
Ann Godwin, sharing from experience first affirmed “A pitch should not be long, in fact a 500 word will be good”. Ann Godwin also emphasized the need for research with regards to the audience: the public target of the pitch and the impacts the pitch will have”. According to Ann Godwin, “Research is needed for facts and data. This essential because it is facts and data that strengthen a pitch value”.
Ann Godwin also encouraged “A good pitch, aside from having a focus must be original. Pitch originality must highlight the significance of the pitch as well as portrays the urgency of the story”.
Ann Godwin in her speech also highlighted two ways pitch can be made. According to Ann Godwin, “Pitch can be submitted on a roll-in based. With this, there is no special call or request for the pitch but the writer had discovered a gap that requires a level of urgency to be attended to”. To get attention from funder, for a roll-in-base pitch, Ann Godwin emphasized “The writer must come up with a strong reason why that gap has become a matter of urgency”.
While closing her session, Ann Godwin also emphasized the need for appropriate budget. Ann Godwin says “There should be no room for guess work. Every detail must be covered and appropriate budget, not inflated one, must be assigned. In all, integrity is a factor. Never collect grant and run away”. Ann Godwin advised.
On his part, Fisayo Soyombo started with a statement that challenged the thinking of the participants. Fisayo said “We must all remember that journalism is a tool for improving the society. This understanding should help any pitch writer to first assess what impact the pitch has and how can this translate to a better society”. No wonder according to Fisayo“No funder is interested in wasting their resources on a pitch that has no soul or tangible goal it will achieve”.
But while encouraging the participants, Fisayo counselled “Your passion and purpose of coming into journalism will show overtime. Do not make money making the goal of your career but be resolute about changing the society for good. This will propel you in the early days” says Fisayo Soyombo
Some of the participants at the end were excited about the knowledge shared and gained. Iyang Blessing, an early Career journalist expressed her joy “Glad to be here, my professional experience today has been highly impacted by Mrs Ann Godwin’s presentation”. Jimoh Abdullah and Gift also affirmed “Mrs Ann Godwin session is eye opening and full of lessons for young journalists”.
Dormeme, a young journalist with Npress, an online newspaper said “I am grateful for this eye-opening opportunity”.
In all, over forty participants across Africa, especially from Nigeria and Kenya attended the training session. The population has young and early career journalists, students of mass communications across higher institutions, and lecturers’/faculty members of some Nigerian Universities.