PLSI through its MacArthur Foundation funded project to strengthen public audit practices and accountability at the state level in Nigeria is implementing a Public Audit Media Fellowship to assist independent media actors to use audit data to investigate, report and expose corruption at subnational level in Nigeria.
This media fellowship will identify and train 10 journalists (two each) from five geopolitical zones of Nigeria (aside North Central), on how to use public audit information combined with creative communication and data-driven storytelling skills to investigate, report, and expose corruption at subnational level in Nigeria. The media fellowship is focused on one state in each geo-political zones being considered, and the specific states include: South East – Anambra State, South South – Delta State, South West – Ekiti State, North West – Kaduna State and North East – Yobe State.
The Fellowship will run for four weeks (six days in the first three weeks (virtual) and two days in the fourth week (physical) in Abuja, Nigeria). Fellows will be onboarded in October 2023.
Selected fellows would be supported to analyze annual audit reports of state governments and track public spendings with potential for corruption and investigate such spendings with a view to exposing tendencies or reporting acts of corruption for possible sanction by relevant authorities. The 10 investigative stories developed from the media fellowship will be published via the medium by which the fellows work on.
Monitoring and Evaluation
The project will be monitored based on the metrics we have set to achieve with the project.
- First, we will measure the number of fellows trained and their spread to establish if we achieved inclusion, region, and gender balance.
- We will also count on achieving the training sessions planned for this project and 10 data-driven stories using audit data.
- We will also measure the feedback of the fellow on how the program is helpful or otherwise to their career, and we will track citizens’ impressions on the stories that the fellows would publish.
- We will provide N30,000 stipend to cover virtual training logistics. PLSI will also cover costs (return ticket – economy class, accommodation, and per diem) relating to the two days’ onsite training in Abuja.
- In Addition, PLSI will provide the sum of N100,000 to each fellow to support story coverage and logistics.
- We will also hold rounds of engagements with stakeholders on the ideas to receive feedback and potential support.
PLSI does not guarantee the publishing of stories in the Nigerian dailies as applicants are ideally full-time writers, print, radio or broadcast journalists, filmmakers, bloggers, or other media makers, with well-established records of publication, dissemination, or broadcast in local, regional, or national markets, or among targeted audiences or constituencies.
The training sessions will focus on various topics to be facilitated by field experts enhance the capacity of the fellows to better understand the public audit system and develop investigative stories.
The sessions will include:
- Understanding public audit legal frameworks
- Sourcing and analyzing audit report
- Understanding the role of Auditor-General and the Public Audit Action Cycle
- Tracking stakeholders (Public Accounts Committee, Executive Agencies, Anti-Corruption Bodies) actions on audit findings
- Concept of investigative reporting/Journalism
- Understanding the functions of Public Accounts Committee
- Ethical and accuracy in data journalism
- Audit reports as source of investigative reporting
- Writing sample investigative report on 2020 and 2021 audit reports
- Data visualization, storytelling, and creative communication
- The Use of Freedom of Information Act
- Using technology tools for fact-checking
- Crafting compelling narratives & The power of storytelling