DATA JOURNALISM;A Step In The Right Direction


 

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The third edition of Journoshop took place at the African University College Of Communications, A.U.C.C. Accra on 30th April 2016. Students from the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), University of Ghana Legon, Central University College and African University College were in attendance to gain the required knowledge and skills when it comes to Data Journalism.

Journoshop is an initiative of ijourno Africa, an organization training student journalists to use new media tools and data to tell compelling developmental stories on the African Continent. Their aim is to unearth and equip one thousand data journalists on the continent by the end of 2017. You can visit http://ijournoafrica.com for more info on them.

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Bernard Avle speaking at Journoshop2. Photo credit:iJournoAfrica

Journoshop3 was a build up on Journoshop2, where one of the facilitators who is the host of Citi Breakfast show Bernard Avle spoke on the importance of Data Journalism. Sandister Tei who is a former AJ+/Aljazeera multimedia journalist also took her turn to teach us how to visualize stories after mining, cleaning and analyzing data. She also taught us how to use infographic platforms like Canva, Piktochart among others to create a story. By kind Courtesy of ijournoAfrica, I can now use Canva to Create stories.

Journoshop3 was mind blowing. We were basically taught some media ethics, elements of a story, critical tools needed in the field of work and how to use data to unearth stories by the two facilitators present.

FB_IMG_1462049183486Carolyn Thompson took us through the first session. She is a data journalist and daily news reporter for Postmedia news in Canada. Carolyn basically taught us how to look for data, interpreting and analyzing it and presenting it to the reader or viewer.For example when I want data on some government agencies in Ghana, I just have to Google site:gov.gh  and these results will appear(image below), I can then scale my search down to the governmental agency I want to unearth data from.

 

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When I want a pdf document on Ghana’s cocoa, I just have to Google Filetype:pdf “ghana” “Cocoa”.

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Carolyn Thompson took a break and made way for Philip Ashon to enlighten us on Multimedia Journalism. Philip Ashon  is an alumnus of Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies in Wales who holds a Masters Degree in International journalism. His area of expertise is Documentary filmmaking.

 

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PHILIP ASHON showing participants the type of Camera to use to enhance their Multimedia works.

Philip began by educating us on some principles a journalist should uphold. i.e Truthfulness,Accuracy, Fairness and Impartiality, Accountability among others.He also touched on some pointers a journalist should be aware of when telling stories.i.e  paying attention to details, Avoidance of making assumptions, taking the audience into consideration etc. He also prescribed some critical tools and Software’s that would enhance our work as student journalists.

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Some participants narrating their stories after the break out session. Photo credit:iJournoAfrica

He later sent us out to go look for stories, which we later deliberated on amongst ourselves.

Carolyn Thompson later took over and taught us how to analyze data using Microsoft excel and presenting them using an Infographic Platform; Piktochart and Google Fusion Tables.

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Data represented in Microsoft Excel(left) transformed into Google Fusion Map(Right).

Journoshop 3 has really exposed us to new ways of digging and representing data. Many thanks to Nana Boakye Yiadom, Carolyn Thompson and Philip Ashon for organizing such an educative initiative. I believe by the end of 2017, Africa will be replete with One Thousand Data Journalists. If you missed the exciting Journoshop3, watch out for Journoshop4.

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