“Data and mobile technology are at a point where they can be used on a massive scale to help people access basic services and information,” said Patrick Butler, ICFJ’s vice president of programs.
There are many ways journalists and organisations can embrace data journalism e.g. Code for Africa has launched millions to improve the lives of South Africans through data journalism.
Check out this link and read more about Code4SA: http://code4sa.org/blog.html
A program has been implemented to help South African media to embrace new technology so that they can deliver high quality data journalism. This program will help data journalists to create apps, offer data boot camps to train journalists to use these new technologies, create business models for new data-driven services and more.
This program will create platforms for ordinary South Africans to make their opinions known about health, education, and other issues that matter to their daily lives
This program will also help the network of Hacks/Hackers that bring journalists and technologies together to collaborate on media projects. Check this link out to know about hacks/hackers: http://mediahack.co.za/media-hack-resources/south-african-journalists-on-twitter/
It is important that journalists embrace data journalism because organisations such as Code for South Africa are working to teach a culture of data journalism in South African newsrooms. Whether one is working out of a small office or is a software developer, everyone plays a role in South Africa’s introduction to data journalism which should be driven.
“We work with newsrooms to help them tell stories better with data and with civil society organisations to use data to promote social justice,” says Eyal.
In South Africa departments lay out strict conditions on how data journalism can be used if only it is made available. Nowadays things are starting to happen, e.g. Cape Town announced that it would launch a data journalism policy but having a policy is one thing and getting officials to make data available in readable formats is another thing.
Code4SA has built a series of data application programming interfaces (APIs) that has resulted in tools like Media Monitoring Africa’s which enables journalists to dig deep. With all this happening South African journalists are still slow in embracing data journalism.
Other things that Code4SA is doing are working with School of Data to offer data training for journalists. What their hoping for is once the media bosses see the value this adds, they will hire coders to work alongside their journalists, as it is already happening in bigger newsrooms in USA and UK.
But Eyal and his team are determined to embrace data journalism. They have seen the future and are working towards making it a reality in South Africa.
Last but not least, check out my fellow colleague’s blog: https://royaloudmouth.wordpress.com/2015/10/19/data-journalism-the-new-practice/