Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ghanaian Journalists for #HackAgainstEbola

According to a recent World Health Organisation statement, the West African sub region could record 10,000 new cases of Ebola a week by Christmas if the epidemic is not handled properly.
To ensure journalists are well equipped to effectively cover the epidemic, the Global Editors Network (GEN) in collaboration with Penplusbytes is organizing a two-day competition on the 19 to 20 November 2014 at the Penplusbytes' New Media Hub for journalists, web developers and designers.

This Editors Lab is being organised in partnership with OSIWA and supported by Google and BBC. It is part of a series of international hackdays hosted by world-renowned media organizations, in New York (The New York Times), London (The Guardian), Madrid (El Pais), Buenos Aires (Clarin), Paris (Le Parisien), and many more.

This edition of the Editors Lab will be very specific, as it is focused on Ebola and renamed #HackAgainstEbola. This is a first of three Editors Lab focused on that theme. The next one will be in Lagos, and the last one in Dakar.

According to GEN's programme manager Evangeline de Bourgoing, "Epidemics create panic, irrational information, dangerous rumors and uncertified facts, which can all generate chaos. Ebola has not yet been neutralized and could continue to spread throughout Western Africa as well as other continents. Journalists must be prepared to fight all collateral damage associated with Ebola. Unfortunately journalists on the ground don't have the necessary resources and tools that match the responsibility they have to inform local communities."

The Editors Lab is trying to foster an environment to create those needed tools. The teams, composed of one journalist, one designer, and one developer, will work to build a prototype in 48 hours. The participating teams are: Citi, Graphic Communications, Times, Daily Guide, GNA, MultiMedia, BFT, NAFTI, STARR, GBC.

According to Jerry Sam, Projects Director at Penplusbytes, "The participants will benefit from two workshops, given by: - The UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) and Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research. This workshop will provide the participants with background info about Ebola (infection and transmission, signs and symptoms, diagnosis and treatment and preventive measures). It will help the participants better cover Ebola and debunk the rumors.

Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) will take  the teams through tools to enable them hack faster and better.

The team with the best project, will be chosen by our Jury:
-    Edward Tagoe (
-    Joe Jackson (Dalex Finance and Leasing Limited)
-    EvangĂ©line de Bourgoing (Global Editors Network)
The winning team will compete against the other winning Editors Lab teams during the Editors Lab Final, the World Cup of Newsroom Innovation. This final stage of the Editors Lab international tournament will occur during the GEN Summit in Barcelona next June.

International Institute for ICT Journalism

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ghanaian journalist wins first African Fact-Checking Awards

Video journalist Edem Srem and his team from MultiTvWorld in Ghana on Friday won the first-ever African Fact-Checking Awards, honouring journalism in Africa that exposes misleading claims by public figures.

The awards, launched this year by the AFP Foundation and its African fact-checking project, Africa Check, are the first of their kind and aimed at promoting a new and important form of journalism on the continent.

More than 40 journalists from 10 countries across Africa -- Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe –- submitted entries for the award.

Winning journalists of the first Agence France-Presse sponsored African fact-checking awards Ghanaian Edem Srem (C), runner-up Paul Shalala (R) of Zimbabwe a...

Winning journalists of the first Agence France-Presse sponsored African fact-checking awards Ghanaian Edem Srem (C), runner-up Paul Shalala (R) of Zimbabwe and 1st runner up Kenyan Victor Amadala pose on November 14, 2014 in Nairobi ©Tony Karumba (AFP)

The winning entry, "Trading Ghana's water for gold", is a hard-hitting video report that exposed misleading claims by the government in Ghana to have eradicated the risky practice of alluvial gold mining in the west African country.

The two joint runners up were Paul Shalala of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, for a report on false claims made about the impact of multi-national mining investment on food security in his country, and Victor Amadala of the website for a report debunking a superstition that leads parents to have the teeth of newborn babies removed.

The winning team will receive a total of 2,000 euros ($2,500) in prize money while each runner up will receive 1,000 euros.

"I think there is nothing more important in journalism than holding people to account for the promises and the claims they make," Srem said.

"I am very honoured, on behalf of myself and my team to win this award for that work."

The chairman of the AFP Foundation, Emmanuel Hoog, said in a statement: "By taking claims made by public figures, and by checking them rigorously and impartially, these African reporters and editors are defending the best values of journalism. They are also helping to promote openness and transparency in public affairs."

The winners were selected by a jury of prominent media figures chaired by Eric Chinje, the chief executive of African Media Initiative, a body bringing together leaders of hundreds of African media organisations.

"I hope this award serves as a call to excellence and integrity in journalism everywhere in Africa. The jury readily identified entries that demonstrated a high level of professionalism and balance in reporting," Chinje said.

The AFP Foundation, the non-profit media training arm of AFP news agency, in October 2012 launched the continent's first independent fact-checking project, the website, based in Johannesburg, South Africa, in a partnership with the Journalism Department of the University of the Witwatersrand.

It has since published hundreds of reports on topics from fake claims of health cures, to exposes of misleading statements about water quality on the continent and the effect of gun control legislation on murder rates.

For more information on the outcome of the awards, follow @AFP_Foundation or @AfricaCheck.

Winning journalist of the first Agence France-Presse-sponsored African fact-checking award Ghanaian Edem Srem (L) receives on November 14, 2014 the overall p...
Winning journalist of the first Agence France-Presse-sponsored African fact-checking award Ghanaian Edem Srem (L) receives on November 14, 2014 the overall prize from foundation director Robert Holloway in Nairobi, Kenya ©Tony Karumba (AFP)

International Institute for ICT Journalism