Knight International Journalism Fellowships

Nigeria: Create New Health Section at Daily Trust newspaper

Through a new health journalism association, Knight International Health Journalism Fellow Sunday Dare worked to improve both the quantity and quality of health reporting in Nigeria.

As a Knight Health Journalism Fellow, Sunday Dare created an eight-page weekly health section at Daily Trust, the most widely read newspaper in northern Nigeria.

Working with a team of dedicated health reporters, he increased health coverage at the newspaper from an average of eight stories per month to 27, with in-depth and investigative stories on issues such as AIDS, cancer, cholera, polio, public health facilities, and Lassa fever, a fatal disease carried by rats. Dare’s trainees are producing investigative pieces that have led to better policies, such as the hiring of nearly a thousand new workers at government health clinics.

Multimedia stories are now published in the print and online editions and on the newspaper’s Facebook page, increasing reader engagement. Dare also coached a health editor at Daily Trust to take over the reins and ensure that high quality coverage continues after his fellowship.

In the northern city of Kano, Dare also trained dozens of journalists at Freedom Radio and increased coverage of issues such as polio. (Misinformation there in 2009 caused people to refuse polio vaccines, resulting in new cases.)