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Cablegate: Voa Sports Reporting Workshop On Target

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 001646

SIPDIS


BBG/NI STEWART


STATE FOR AF/PD AMIRTHANAYAGAM
LAGOS FOR PAS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OEXC SCUL NI
SUBJECT: VOA SPORTS REPORTING WORKSHOP ON TARGET

Ref: State 242411


SUMMARY: U.S. media trainer, Ken Fischer,
conducted a highly effective two-day "Sports
Reporting" workshop in Abuja September 8-9. His
program made a great impact on Nigerian
journalists, who learned that accountability,
transparency and professional journalism can
contribute to Nigerian democracy. The
Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria (BON), an
umbrella organization for all Nigerian
broadcasters, said the workshop was imely nd
big challenge o Nigerian journalists as
Nigeria prepares to host the 8th All Africa games
in October. Preparations for the coming event
have been mired in scandals and scheduling
problems, which the Nigerian media rarely report.
Fischer made a strong point on the importance of
reporters serving the interests of their audience
as opposed to the prevailing focus on government
personalities. End summary.


2. DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITY: Public Affairs
Abuja, in collaboration with the Broadcasting
Organization of Nigeria (BON), organized a two-
day "Sports Reporting" workshop in Abuja on
September 8-9, 2003. U.S. media trainer Ken
Fisher of the Department of Broadcasting,
Southern Illinois University, conducted the
workshop. He taught basic reporting skills,
including journalism ethics, to a group of 30
Nigerian sports reporters and editors from 10
northern states and the Federal Capital
Territory. He also provided them with highly
needed primers on different sports (including
baseball) that are unfamiliar to most Nigerians.
BBG Sandra Stewart recruited Ken Fischer and
coordinated the Washington preparations for the
program, including certificates that were issued
to the 30 participants at the end of the
workshop.


3. JUSTIFICATION AND OBJECTIVE: Nigeria is a
sports-loving nation, yet poor facilities,
inadequate training, self censorship and heavy
government control of the broadcast media hamper
professional reporting. Nigerian preparations to
host 23 different sports and athletes from
throughout the Continent in the 8th All Africa
games provided an excellent opportunity to help
sports broadcasters prepare to meet the challenge
of reporting a complex event spanning nearly
three weeks. Normal Nigerian sports reporting
basically focuses on results of football/soccer
matches because of football popularity coupled
with the reporters limited knowledge of other
sports. Many journalists lack in-depth reporting
and interviewing skills. They have no clear
understanding of the role of the press in
ensuring good sports administration. The
workshop was requested by the Broadcasting
Organization of Nigeria (BON) to help Nigerian
sports reporters overcome these impediments by
teaching them basic reporting skills and
providing them with primers on different sports
other than football/soccer.


4. MPP UMBRELLA THEME AND AUDIENCE REACHED: NI-
PD-01 strengthening democracy. Audience was a
targeted group of 30 sports reporters and editors
drawn from mostly government-owned broadcast
stations located in 10 northern Nigerian states
and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The
program also impacted officials of the Organizing
Committee of the 8th All Africa games (COJA) and
the Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria (BON).


5. USG SUPPORT: Excellent. Thanks to the superb
work by Sandra Stewart in selecting Ken Fischer
to conduct the workshop. With an excellent
combination of practical exercises, PowerPoint
lecture notes and video presentations, Fischer
was able to capture and retain the complete
attention of the participants for the two days,
and in the process taught them how to plan good
story ideas and how to bring a human touch to
their reports. He gave the participants primers
on different sports, including baseball, and
exhorted the participants to make their reporting
better and more professional.


6. RESULT/IMPACT: Excellent. "The lunch can
wait," the participants chorused, as lunchtime
was announced while they took turns practicing
their newly acquired reporting skills while their
colleagues critiqued them. This mood summed up
the value that the 30 participants placed on the
workshop. BON Chairman, Taiwo Allimi,
profusely thanked the Voice of America and the
U.S. Embassy in Nigeria for the opportunity o
bring Nigerian sports journalists together at a
learning table, or the first time in many
years. Communications and media manager for the
8th All Africa games, Fan Ndubuoke, said the
workshop was on target, and he would like to
build on the experience. The reporters described
their two-day experience with Mr. Fischer
teaching as own to earth and
basic, nd that
they cannot wait to start applying their newly
acquired skills in their next assignments.


MEECE

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