A guest post from Madeleine McGreevy reflecting on the Data + Media panel.
— Open Data PH (@datagovph) May 28, 2015
Data journalism was the topic of a panel held recently at the 2015 International Open Data Conference in Ottawa. There is data everywhere, but a certain kind of literacy is needed to consume data in meaningful ways. That’s where journalists come in. Journalists can look at data sets, figure out what stories people want and disseminate them in avenues where people seek out information. The work of data journalists has the potential to stir public debate, overcome public indifference and create public demand for data.
Chequeado verifies public discourse in Argentina
In Argentina, a constant battle of words is fought between the government and media. Citizens are caught in the middle, unsure of the truth. Chequeado aims to verify public discourse and increase the cost of lying by collectively fact-checking the statements of politicians, business people, public figures and the media. Chequeado openly publishes their sources, refusing to publish information with closed or “off the record” sources. In 2014, Chequeado brought together a group of volunteers and specialists to fact-check Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s speech as it was happening. Citizens were invited to participate, by sending in information via Twitter and Facebook.
News story publishes data to support drought-mitigation methods in Kenyan region
Famine has ravaged Turkana, Kenya repeatedly over the years. The news story Famine Strikes Again uses data to reveal that funds go to emergency food aid in Turkana, rather than long-term drought mitigation. A family featured in the story helped to draw public attention to the suffering endured by many. Donations flooded in and local politicians offered to sponsor families featured in the stories. Motivated by water shortage data published by the story, the government plans to travel to Turkana to dig more boreholes. Journalists behind the story were supported by Internews, an international non-profit organization whose mission is to empower local media worldwide.
Una Hakika monitors and counters misinformation in violence-prone Kenyan region
Between 2012 and 2013, a series of violent conflicts between the Omra and Pokomo ethnic groups rocked the Tana River County region in Kenya, taking the lives of an estimated 166 people and displacing tens of thousands from their homes. The violence is linked in part to the spread of misinformation and rumours that caused many to respond pre-emptively to false threats. Una Hakika emerged as an IDRC-funded collaboration between the Sentinel Project and iHub research to monitor and counter misinformation in the region. How does it work? The community reports rumours via SMS, the web or a community ambassador. The Una Hakika team then investigates the rumour and reports back with neutral, accurate and trusted information.
Horizontal partnerships spur civic tech communities and data journalism in Latin America
In Latin America, an ecosystem of civic tech communities has been building, propelled by vibrant partnerships and exchange between hackers, data scientists, journalists, end users and technologists. SocialTIC is a not-for-profit organization that enables change makers through the strategic use of ICTs, and has promoted civic-tech communities like Escuela de Datos, Desarrolando América Latina, Video for Change Network and AbreLatam. Data journalism trends and experiments in Latin America have included crowdsourcing ventures such as OjoPúblico, user interfaces such as Poderopedia and data driven narratives such as Infoamazonia.
— Sheba Najmi (@snajmi) May 28, 2015