Canada's leading media development charity kick-starts multi-platform
data journalism project
TORONTO, Aug. 27, 2013 /CNW/ - On Friday, July 19th, Ghanaians woke up
to learn what many suspected but had never been proven: that nearly
half - 46% - of the country had paid bribes for government services.
On Saturday, August 24th, news broke that 43% of Ghanaians had been forced to pay cash for
health treatments covered by the national health insurance card.
The statistics - gathered from exclusive telephone polls - broke in The Weekend Globe newspaper, on the airwaves at Citi FM, and online through Facebook and
Twitter. Robust data journalism, a growing field in Canadian media, had
arrived in Ghana.
The project, an innovative partnership between Journalists for Human
Rights (JHR), mobile polling and engagement start-up Voto Mobile, and
Accra-based Citi FM, will continue for two months. The first of its
kind in Ghana, the project brings print, radio and online media
partners together to cover important national issues based on strong
Coupling charts and graphs with in-depth analysis and reporting, the
project creates compelling and informative journalism on a range of
local issues from corruption to women's rights to access to national
health insurance to the responsibilities of local government.
Spearheaded by JHR trainer Iain Marlow, the project's first
investigation was ambitious: the cost of corruption for the average
citizen. "Quite simply, nothing like it has ever been done before in
Citi - and possibly Ghana - so no one was sure what to make of the
project," he explained.
The response was very positive. Conversations about the scope and causes
of corruption lit up the Citi FM airwaves as callers weighed in.
Reactions and comments on social media spanned the globe as people
shared, tweeted, and commented throughout the day.
Starting public conversations about common social issues is challenging.
But by highlighting local voices and statistics in media coverage,
people take notice. Citi FM's Facebook posts on the corruption story
averaged 20% more comments than regular news posts.
"Data journalism is a complex and constantly evolving field," explained
JHR's Executive Director Rachel Pulfer. "Using information from
reliable, locally designed and executed polls as a basis for
hard-hitting, issue-focused journalism is a crucial step in
strengthening media, which is an essential institution in democracies.
JHR is thrilled to be at the forefront of data journalism in Ghana with
such dedicated partners."
"I always thought this process was reserved only for established
institutions," said Martin Asiedu-Dartey. The Editor of The Weekend Globe was one of the co-authors of the 1800-word lead story on corruption and
wrote the feature on the national health insurance failure. "I was unsure what the responses would be…[But] The data was very easy to
analyze. That really helped me in writing the final piece with ease."
"It was a truly exciting experience working on the project. It was
refreshing to see journalists use data they had gathered themselves to
source original stories," said Philip Kofi Ashon, Online Manager at
Citifmonline.com. "I think this represents the breaking of a new dawn
for data driven journalism...It was a real pleasure monitoring the
response of people from all over the world contributing to the
discussion on Facebook and Twitter. It is something I would love to see
happen more often."
Notes for Editors:
Journalists for Human Rights (www.jhr.ca ) is Canada's leading media development organization. JHR helps
journalists build their capacity to report ethically and effectively on
human rights and governance issues in their communities. Since 2002,
JHR has trained over 12,000 journalists whose stories have reached over
50 million people.
JHR has worked in Ghana since 2003. JHR's work in Ghana is made possible
through the generous support of the Canadian International Development
VOTO Mobile (votomobile.org) is a unique company that makes it easy for organizations, local
governments, and journalists to share information and gather real-time
feedback from citizens, made possible through voice and SMS delivered
to mobile phones in local languages. VOTO's works with organizations
throughout the social sector to help them engage, educate, and learn
from citizens whose voices are most rarely heard.
Citi FM (www.citifmonline.com ) is an English-speaking radio station that operates in Accra, Ghana.
Citi FM publishes online, and in The Weekend Globe newspaper. The radio brand combines a comprehensive and credible news
function, backed by innovative listener-driven on air programs. Citi
97.3 FM covers the vibrant Ghanaian political scene with objective and
balanced live reports, news features and documentaries as well as
regular round-table discussions on pertinent issues. Citi FM has
partnered with Journalists for Human Rights since 2010.
SOURCE: jhr (Journalists for Human Rights)
For more information please contact Claire Hastings, JHR's Director of Community Engagement at [email protected] or 416 413 0240 ext. 206 (office) or 416 836 4640 (mobile)