International Institute of ICT Journalism (Penplusbytes) has commissioned a baseline survey to assess the current status of oil and gas reporting in the Ghanaian media, which will serve as a basis for developing a media guide on reporting oil and gas and also a comprehensive training programme for Ghanaian journalists.
The objective of this study is to establish both the quality and quantity of oil and gas reporting presently, to assess the knowledge base of ten pre-selected journalists and to establish the gaps in knowledge, paucity of content, the nature of reporting that cannot be impactful, the style of writing and reporting, etc.
The baseline study will pay particular attention to the number of oil and gas stories published in two leading newspapers in Ghana -The Daily Graphic (State-owned) and the Daily Guide (private ownership). The study will look at the angle used in reporting, the quality of stories written and take into consideration the sources used in building the stories. It will also look at the quality of selected journalists who will serve as trainees during the program through one-to-one interviews.
According to Dr. Doris Dartey, a media consultant and researcher, “the objective of the in-depth interviews is to assess the motivation and capacity of the journalists toward their work, the nature of issues they cover, the extent to which they cover or not cover events, and the depth or its lack thereof of their work in reporting oil and gas.”
The baseline study forms part of Penplusbytes’ “Empowering the media to play an active role over oil and gas revenue and resources’’, being funded by STAR-Ghana. The project seeks to provide journalists with an in-depth knowledge on how to effectively and efficiently produce quality stories on Ghana’s oil and gas sector. The project will comprise of workshops, interviews and informal ‘roundtables’, regular mentoring, field trips, and debates with technical experts and journalists from Ghana. There will be an online platform for information and knowledge exchange between the media and civil society for advocacy for impact- driven developmental projects in the oil and gas sector.
Penplusbytes in the past couple of years has provided leadership in training journalists in the use of cutting edge new media technologies to enhance their work on various diverse thematic areas. The organization has successfully trained 22 journalists in oil and gas reporting by improving their news gathering skills on the extractive, improving their data analysis and interpretation skills in the oil and gas sector and also the understanding of how oil companies work.