Saturday, August 30, 2008

Some pictures

Flora, Halima, Amina, Mary and Dominick sharing contacts at the end of the workshop.

Halima, Harrieth and Amina concentrating on their assignments. In the back, Mwajabu with Cecilia Mng'ong'o of MISA.

Thanks Maggid for sharing the photos. More pictures in Maggid's blog.

See also the new links added on the right. Scrolling down a bit you'll find links to good resources for the assignment topics we had on Thursday Aug 28.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Last postings so far

Dear friends, postings from the last day of the workshop have arrived. The participants were free to write whatever they wanted, and here's some examples.

Amina and Flora are writing against the evils of plagiarism and reminding their peers not to enter the nasty world of picking someone else's fruits and claim they're yours. I was ranting a bit about the issue earlier this afternoon.

Mary is commenting on blogging and the need for bloggers also to be ethical and not to slander on others.

Halima is giving a cosy picture of the whole workshop, which I believe all of us agree with. It has been a nice and fruitful week, also from the trainer's point of view.

Thanks to all participants for being so enthusiastic even though days have been long. A great thank to Maggid for joining us today. A good report of Maggid's session can be read in Timothy's blog.

Thanks also to Cecilia, Rose and the whole MISA office for smooth arrangements. Thanks for the TGDLC catering section for good food and tea and sambuzi which kept us going.

Participants in action

Here's a photo from our class today. On the left you have Selemani Semunyu from Radio Times FM and behind him Millard Ayo from Radio One. The ones in the back row on the right are Daniel Semberya from Business Times, Mary Lupamba and Dominick Mokiwa from TBC and Alex Luambano from Clouds FM. The photo was kindly provided by Maggid Mjengwa.

African web resources

During previous days we've gone through a number of local and international websites useful not only for journalists but for anyone with the desire to find information. Below some links. I'll add Tanzanian online media links separately below on the right side of the page.

Tanzania government Better to go directly to the section National information by topics with the giraffe image surrounded by links to ministeries.

Bunge, meaning the parliament, has a good site, but at the moment it seems to be down.

Tanzania Online The only really somehow functioning Tanzanian web portal, has many links that you might also easily find by googling.

Reuters Africa Latest news country by country updated constantly if news happen. If things at home are relatively okay, meaning no huge floods or wars or rigged elections, the site might include only week-old business news.

IPS News "Tells the story underneath!" News features from the South written by journalists from the South. Content from more that 125 African news organizations. Read papers from Cameroon to Kenya.

Awdal News Curiosity from Somaliland. Online journalism can be a great media in a country with long distances and lack of paper, as long as wireless connections are there. Links at the bottom.

Pambazuka News Pan-African forum for social justice. Old wise guys writing clever stories with the background idea that Africa shall unite.

African Elections Database Compiled by a chap somewhere out of Africa with numbers of votes, percentages and all other details from every election since colonial times.

African Literature and Writers on the Internet A web portal hosted by Stanford University in USA with hundreds of links to websites on African literature, from sites on Chinua Achebe to Zimbabwe Book Fair.

African Studies Internet Resources Web portal by Columbia University, New York. Soooooooo many links.

Kenyan blogs Read postings from Kenyan Pundit and hundreds of other active bloggers from Kenya. The latest Kenyan blog posting will appear on top. Tanzanian blogs you can find here.

Hello in many languages. This is one of my personal favourites. If you can greet in Kihaya language and also say "thank you", you might reach far. Here you can also learn to say "hallo" in about 20 different German dialects.

How people are living their lives

Today we've had a guest lecturer at our workshop, as my good friend Maggid Mjengwa joined us for the morning session. Maggid is an adult trainer based in Iringa, but also political columnist for the weekly Raia Mwema newspaper and one of Tanzania's most famous bloggers.

So Maggid has showed us his blog and explained how he is doing it, how he started, some examples of the commentaries the blog encourages as well as other features. Maggid's blog is a photo blog with daily postings from everyday life in Tanzania, both rural and urban. The photos show people's happiness and resourcefulness even in sometimes difficult conditions. True images from Africa.

In the afternoon participants will add images to their last postings. Wait and see.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dangers of copy-pasting

Might be that some simple copy-pasting was applied, though I underlined that one shouldn't do it. It's bad journalism, and in some cases it could be illegal.

Anyway, posts on this afternoon's assignments have now appeared on the participants' sites.

Timothy Kitundu, head of the business desk of The Express newspaper, writes a good story about EPA's, the so called Economic Partnership Agreements, which in the name of free trade might destroy the economies of African countries.

Daniel Semberya, senior reporter at Business Times, was the only one who chose to write about Nestlé, adding also some own views on the difficulties some working mothers in Tanzania might have in breastfeeding their babies.

No-one wanted to write about the crisis in Darfur, based on an essay by the Ugandan Prof Mahmood Mamdani published in the London Review of Books. Here's a link to that essay. It's very good and can change our perceptions on what's going on behind the campaigning for Darfur.

Searching for facts and moving onwards

The blogs of the participants are there. Please go and check them. One good one is the site of Mary Lupamba, a young news reporter from the TBC, the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation. The style is relaxed, observations witty and sharp. One funny characteristic is that, so far, every time I’ve reached the site the design has been renewed.

Others have added to their blogs some issues of their particular interest, like Clouds FM sports producer Alex Luambano picking up from English papers the latest news stories on European football. Or Millard Ayo, who runs a weekend show on Radio One, listing his own Top 5 Music Chart at the moment.

If you want a complete report of almost all the topics we have covered in the workshop so far, I would recommend the site of Flora Rugashoborola, assistant news editor of Star TV at the Mwanza headquarters. It's all there.

Links to all the blogs are listed on the right. Most participants have also added links to their colleagues' blogs.

In addition to the blogs, we’ve now done quite some practical internet searching, starting from finding simple facts like names of capitals and contact information, and ending up writing stories on human rights problems in China, effects of the climate change on Mount Kilimanjaro, or reasons for the international boycott against products of the Nestlé company, the world market leader of powdered baby milks.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Entering blogosphere

So we have got going. Since the last posting, the participants have opened their own blogs and written their first stories now published online. I’ll do my best to try to link the blogs to this site in the coming days.

The first postings were actually an assignment where I asked the journalists to explain how they joined the workshop, in what ways they have so far been using the internet, and what we did during the first day of the workshop. I also asked them to mention any new ideas they got and any wishes for the coming days – both during this workshop and also visions for the time after the training is over and they’re back in the field.

The blogs are nice, some actually very good. Everyone is answering the topic, and some are going much further: planning new feature stories to write, suggesting new government policies, vowing to share their new skills with their peers in their newsrooms. For the trainer, this is very encouraging.

Everyone also chose to write in English, though they were given the option to do it in Kiswahili as well. Still, the working language of the majority is Kiswahili.

But of course problems are also there. In the afternoon the network was again too slow for us to do what we wanted. The days are also long and intensive. We have our tea breaks and lunch in another room nearby, so during the day we are not really going out from the venue at all.

The main issue of the day was to go through practically all journalistic websites in Tanzania and also some other useful sites and portals. There’s now about 20 news sites online. The developments in Tanzania are very fast. I remember that two years ago when I started a similar training for journalism students and staff at Tumaini University in Iringa, there was only two or three journalistic websites and was the only one functioning well and regularly updated.

Now some Tanzanian websites are using video clips, some others have a very reader-friendly design, and some just seem to know quite well what they want from their sites. We made some comparisons with Kenyan Daily Nation, Monitor from Uganda, the South African Mail & Guardian, and visited some international news sites from BBC and Reuters to Al-Jazeera and IPS News. I also showed the news portal where you can read the latest stories from some 125 African news sites. This was news for everyone.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

How internet has changed societies

Yesterday we started the Internet workshop for Tanzanian journalists at the Tanzania Global Development Learning Centre here in Dar es Salaam. The workshop is organized by MISA-Tanzania, the local chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa, together with the Vikes Foundation, the organization for international cooperation of the Union of Journalists and other journalist associations in Finland.

I think the workshop started quite well. We have about twenty participants from twelve different media houses in Tanzania. There’s eight radio journalists, four TV journalists, and the rest are from the print media, with representatives from almost the whole Tanzanian mainstream media.

In the morning we had a short introduction of the participants. For me as the lecturer, it was very interesting to hear in what ways they are already using the internet at their newsrooms. Some are using it more, some less, but all said they were eager to learn more.

The first actual topic was how internet has changed societies and communication. I showed some examples of how people in Finland are getting their train tickets, paying their bills and finding phone numbers through the internet.

We also went briefly though some websites which have had an influence on the development of the internet to what it is today: websites such as eBay and Amazon all along to Wikipedia and the Blogger. This part was quite much based on a story from the Observer with the headline “Websites that changed the world”.

My point was that of course the new ways how people do their shopping and use services through the internet also has huge consequences for the media. We journalists also have to learn new ways how to construct and package our news and any other stories in any media.

Close to afternoon we then got into trouble, as the network went down. The reason was that all the bandwidth was occupied by a video conference held in another room beside our multimedia facility. So the afternoon was a small disaster, and instead of doing the practical issues I had planned for us to do it was more like just lecturing.

However, at the end of the day we were promised by the director of the venue that during the coming days there wouldn’t be a video conference anymore, so hopefully the network problem is now over.