A 2023 cohort of the Report Women! Female Reporters Leadership Programme, Champions Building edition, Karina Igonikon of BBC News Pidgin provided a platform for female journalists in the South-South region of Nigeria to address challenges female journalists face in rising to leadership positions in their newsrooms. Themed ‘Factors challenging the rise of female journalists in leading newsrooms’, the one-day leadership seminar had over 75 persons in attendance at the Nigeria Union of Journalists Press Centre, Moscow Road, Port Harcourt on Wednesday, 5 July 2023. It was a platform for peer learning and experience sharing as stakeholders discussed their challenges and possible solutions.
2022 WSCIJ Lifetime Award for Journalistic Excellence recipient and Director of News at TVC News– Stella Din-Jacob was the Special Guest of Honour. The keynote speaker was Ann Godwin, Rivers state correspondent, Guardian newspaper. Seanam Bamigboye of Nigerian Television Authority, Port Harcourt Centre, Chioma Ezenwafor of Cool/Wazobia/Nigeria Info FM and Clarice Azuatalam of Verbatim Magazine were panellists.
Resource persons addressed the need for knowledge and skills upgrades among female journalists in preparation for leadership opportunities. They challenged participants to take up more leadership responsibilities in their newsrooms. Answers were also provided on steps to career growth, tackling peculiar challenges in newsrooms, especially sexual harassments, and male-dominated newsrooms with some set or parochial views and assumptions about females.
Igonikon also created a mentorship programme where younger female journalists can access more experienced female journalists and a network of female journalists in Bonny, Obio-Akpor, and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas of Rivers State. The platform also provided the opportunity for skills and capacity building for female journalists within the state and its environs.
Also present was Hilda Dokubo, a renowned Nollywood actress who contributed to the discussion on female journalists stepping up and taking on leadership responsibilities while she fielded questions from young female journalists present.