"Even veteran journalists must embrace new technologies," says Zimbabwean journalist Gibbs Dube.
Technology is opening up new frontiers in storytelling
Some experts do not need a whole lecture room to impart knowledge to students. Today I can proudly boast that I can scrap some data from websites to generate interesting content for radio listeners, television viewers and newspaper readers. Data specialist, Peter Verweij of the Netherlands, comes in handy here. He literally taught me how to use a simple program – Microsoft Excel – to put together any kind of data which can then be used to produce maps for beefing up stories. At times these maps can be used on their own to highlight important statistics. Story writing is not all about words, videos and pictures but data as well which is simplified for members of the public. As Peter stressed during the workshop in Lagos, journalists should however avoid technical jargon whenever doing these maps driven by gathered data. http://africanstorychallenge.com/article/2014-02-03-even-veteran-journalists-must-embrace-new-technologies-says-zimbabwean-journalist-gibbs-dube
Data and good storytelling can really change our world. Eugene N Nforngwa explores new and old journalism in a changing continent
Peter Verweij has a tough time showing us during one session at the camp. The beautiful Southern Sun Hotel did not come with great internet, most of us have forgotten our math and many of the self-taught computer literates in the room think excel is for accountants and Google for emailing.
But in the end we get it: when you start sorting, comparing and mapping data, surprising patterns begin to emerge, stories pop up before your eyes, numbers suddenly gain new meaning, maps come alive, things get explained… and if you are really good, authorities get embarrassed and are pushed to act.
As I think about it, the possibilities are limitless. Is there a relationship between heart diseases and income levels? How come malaria prevalence is higher in regions with heavy pesticide use? Why is the plot of cancer cases darker in areas with high use of artificial fruit ripeners? What is the correlation between investment spending and election results? http://africanstorychallenge.com/article/2014-01-30-accompanying-a-continent-on-the-rise
Mongezi Zulu is one of 20 finalists in the Health round of the African Story Challenge. Now back in Swaziland, he reflects on his experience at the Lagos Story Camp.
I recall with amusement how 20 journalists were turned into a bunch of clueless pupils as data journalism specialist Peter Verweij took us through the craft. At times the class would be griped by a deafening silence as Peter introduced us to different data software like Outwit hub, Tableau Public, Google Fusion Tables and the spreadsheets. However, we all showed composure, and a curiosity to learn and acquire the new skills required to come up with data focused stories.