After four months of intensive training and publication of fact-check reports, ROUNDCHECK celebrated dedicated volunteers from its second cohort of the volunteers network program.
During the period, the volunteers were trained by veteran fact-checkers on media literacy and how to tackle misinformation as well as disinformation using different tools.
One of the volunteers, Egwu Linus said that the network has availed him the opportunity to learn about the nitty-gritty of fact-checking.
Linus who has produced fact-check reports for the organisation, said he discovered that fact-checking is a niche of journalism to explore.
In his words, “It has been a great time volunteering with ROUNDCHECK in the fight against misinformation”.
He added, “My time of volunteering has been a great opportunity which has availed me the platform to learn more about how misinformation spreads and how to tackle misinformation.”
“This opportunity is what I will always stand to be grateful for building my career as a journalist and also as a fact-checker.
Also, a volunteer, Fatimah Idera said the network has given her a chance to write and publish fact-check reports.
She also expressed her hope to continue writing for the platform.
In her words, “My experience so far has been great because I wouldn’t have written any fact-check report if not for ROUNDCHECK.”
“I really wish we can continue. I have learned a lot of things, including how to use fact-checking tools.”
“I also want to appreciate the team because they have really put a lot of effort into making sure we learn a lot.”
Ugbede noted that the need for people to verify information before sharing cannot be overemphasised.
“Fact-checking, although regarded as new, has always been with journalism as a gatekeeping measure and quality control before publication.
“However, fact-checking today has become a modern aspect of accountability journalism that holds public office holders and persons of influence to account.
“The primary objective of fact-checking is to provide accurate and unbiased analysis of statements/claims in order to correct public misperceptions and increase knowledge on important issues.”
The fact-checker, however, encouraged the graduating volunteers to continue to spread the gospel of information verification and media literacy.
She said, “This only calls for more. Like they say the reward for good work is more work. So it is important that as you graduate, you spread the gospel in your different spheres of influence and continue to do the great work of verification to keep political actors in check.”
Meanwhile, the Communication Manager and Head of Volunteer Network, Faith Alofe, noted that the journey has been interesting as the volunteers have shown dedicated efforts to fight misinformation in the society.
Alofe said, “For this volunteer network, I am very happy that I am heading the team and since I joined ROUNDCHECK when we wanted to start this second cohort of volunteers, it has not been an easy journey but of course, we are grateful.”
Furthermore, Alofe stated that the volunteers are equipped with fact-checking knowledge.
She however disclosed that, while some volunteers will be joining the ROUNDCHECK team, others are qualified to work in any media as a fact-checker.
” I hope that after this training, some people will be joining the team and some that will not be joining the team will go out there to become fact-checkers with other fact-checking organisations”, the Head, Volunteer Network said.
However, the Managing Editor of the platform, Adesola Ikulajolu said the four month period has been a continuous learning process, adding that the exercise has just begun.
Ikulajolu said, “volunteer network is an intensive period of training and learning. It has been an amazing period with the volunteers and to be candid we are only just getting started.”
“Having to edit and correct fact-checks is good, but more important is the learning phases that the volunteers went through. Some learnt, some improved and some are getting better.”
He however disclosed that the major aim of the volunteer network was to educate the youths on media literacy and to also equip them on how to combat misinformation while also appreciating facilitators who had helped to train the volunteers.
In his words, “The volunteers network is a hub to train the youths on media literacy and fact-checking. Our focus is on the youths because the buck of misinformation affects the youths and it is also circulated through them.”
The volunteers for the second cohort include; Fawaz Adebisi, Quadri Yahya, Fatimah Idera, Patrick Mutisya (Kenya), Zainab Adewale, Ololade Owosho, Miracle Adebayo, Ayoade Zariat Yetunde.
Others are; Muhammed Bello Buhari, Ajayi Taiwo Adeola, Olatunji Oluwayomi Victor, Kehinde Ayanboade, Peace Oladipo, Taiwo Babatunde, Goodness Adaoyiche and Hussain Wahab.
For the second cohort which started in August 2022, 30 members were selected but 18 members were dedicated and certified as fact-checkers by ROUNDCHECK.
The Volunteer Network is a project by ROUNDCHECK in a bid to train youths in fact-checking and media literacy.
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