On Friday, November 19, 2021, the American University of Nigeria and Premium Times, one of the nation’s most respected newspapers, officially presented to the public their jointly developed digital data hub.
A joint statement on this unique collaboration between higher education and the media to inject more data-driven analysis into the Nigerian civic space was issued in Abuja. The statement was signed on behalf of the two institutions by the President of the American University of Nigeria, Dr. Margee Ensign, and the Editor-in-Chief of Premium Times, Mr. Mojeed Musikilu.
The dedicated Data Hub aims to provide the best possible data-driven and evidence-based analyses.
Below is the full text of the statement:
Introducing AUN-Premium Times Data Hub
Democracy thrives when there is a well-informed and engaged citizenry. However, for a well-informed and engaged citizenry to emerge, they must have access to objective analyses based on unbiased data. The AUN-Premium Times Data Hub is a unique collaboration between higher education and media to inject more data-driven analysis into the Nigerian civic space.
As leaders of two of Nigeria's finest educational and media institutions, we have observed three significant changes in our time. First, the status of the media consumer in Nigeria has changed.
The level of activity of the media user on the internet and social media through their mobile devices is unprecedented. The implication is that politicians and professional media producers are now challenged by literally hundreds of millions of citizens who can now express their views to the public. While this is potentially an economic, social, and political good, it can equally be dangerous. As we have seen around the world, the manipulation of public discourse through fake news, misinformation, and falsehoods is a global problem.
Second, journalism is changing - mostly in response to this unprecedentedly connected and active audience. The Premium Times is ahead of the curve in its response to the changing landscape of the media environment and the increasing need to broaden the civic space to accommodate new and alternative voices.
Third, higher education is changing. As our society evolves socially and technologically, students want to be more engaged with the big issues and questions that affect their future. The American University of Nigeria sees its mission beyond the classroom. As Africa's development university, AUN seeks to provide the knowledge that drives human development. Its location in northeast Nigeria provides a unique looking glass with which to understand the complex intersections of climate change, development, and conflict.
It is our mutual awareness of these changes that drives our determination to fuse our collective strengths into a force for the common good of our society.
AUN and the Premium Times will partner to provide the best possible data-driven and evidence-based analyses through a dedicated data hub. The AUN-Premium Times Data Hub will be the digital news library for policymakers and engaged citizens. It will connect scholars, journalists, policymakers, and students who are the problem-solvers of tomorrow. Those who care about equity, fairness, and development will come here for the data they need.
This is a very new and bold partnership and a unique and pioneering role for higher education and the media. The times we are in call for such a bold and innovative partnership to construct a new form of thought leadership that transcends traditional silos. The data hub will be the go-to place for in-depth and rigorous analysis of development-related data in Nigeria in every major sphere of development.
We hope that the articles will drive a national conversation that will lead to the common good.
Dr. Margee Ensign Musikilu Mojeed