ICFJ Knight roundup: Fellows discuss African open data revolution in Tanzania

by Jefferson Mok
Oct 30, 2018 in Digital Journalism

Each week as part of the Knight International Media Innovators blog, the ICFJ Knight team will round up stories focused on how their fellows are making an impact in the field. Find out more about the fellows' projects by clicking here.

Fellows talk civic tech and open data in Africa, mapping media organizations in South America, big news for a recent fellow and more from the Knight Fellows in this week’s roundup.

The African open data revolution

Earlier this month the World Bank hosted the Africa Open Data Conference in Tanzania. The conference brought together leaders from civic technology, nonprofits and government, including Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.

ICFJ Knight Fellows Catherine Gicheru, Chris Roper, Stephen Abbott Pugh and Justin Arenstein, along with members of Code for Africa, Code for South Africa and Code for Nigeria, played a key role in driving the conference. They led discussions and training sessions during the pre-conference, and spoke on panels during the main conference. Speaker presentations can be found here.

The fellows highlighted their work in open data and civic tech across the continent. Code for Africa’s lead technologist David Lemayian presented a checklist for building open data health tools, now available on Code for Africa’s Medium. Temi Adeoye, Code for Nigeria’s lead technologist, described why he recently gave up his full-time job in the oil sector to focus on civic innovation.

Media maps for Chile and Colombia launched this week

Former ICFJ Knight Fellow Miguel Paz helped launch comprehensive Maps of Media and Media Ownership for Chile and Colombia. Poderopedia, Paz’s project to chart networks of influence in Latin America, developed the maps, which show more than 700 major media players in the two countries and provide current details about each individual or organization.

The process took eight months of research to complete with the help of contributors, including the School of Journalism at the Universidad Alberto Hurtado in Chile and nonprofit organizations Consejo de Redacción and the Faculty of Communications at the Javeriana University in Colombia. The Open Society Foundations also provided support.

Code for South Africa’s interactive visualization tool breaks down inequality

Using Code for South Africa’s Wazimap tool, freelance journalist Kim Harrisberg breaks down the problem of economic disparity in Johannesburg in her piece, “Mind the Gap,” which was featured on UrbanAfrica.Net. The interactive visualization tool allowed Harrisberg to visualize income inequality at a local level. South Africa has one of the worst rates of economic disparity in the world.

Mariana Santos named Knight Innovator-in-Residence at Florida International University (FIU)

Congratulations to former ICFJ Knight Fellow Mariana Santos, who is joining FIU’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Santos will bring her years of journalism and startup experience to academia to teach students the newest digital journalism methods. Santos, who founded Chicas Poderosas to promote women innovators in journalism, writes on the Knight Foundation’s website that she “look[s] forward to changing the way academic journalism is taught.”

In other Chicas Poderosas news, the Argentina chapter will hold a free event Sept. 17-19.

Civic hacking to capitalize on Pakistan’s economic opportunities

The National wrote about Pakistan’s economic opportunity and highlighted the importance of civic hacking.

"Pockets of resilience and economic success are increasingly visible in the country," journalist K. Balkhi wrote. "Civic hacking, for example, is a global movement gaining traction in Pakistan."

The piece mentions the Quick Disease Outbreak Early Warning System, a winner of the Islamabad Civic Hackathon led by recent ICFJ Knight Fellow Rahma Mian and Code for Pakistan last May.

Fellow Shaheryar Popalzai joined ICFJ in August to carry Mian’s work forward and further seize this opportunity to spark data-driven journalism and civic hacking in Pakistan.

Main image by Twitter user Malick Tapsoda.