By Agnes Ansah .
Contrary to the assumption that Journalists are afraid to deal with figures, some journalists who were schooled on Data Journalism at a workshop at Aburi in the Eastern Region, have expressed their interest in the course and want to pursue further studies in the area.
The workshop, a three-day-residential program was organised by Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) with support from DW Akademie.
It took place at the Little Acre Hotel at Aburi in the Eastern Region and brought together twelve Journalists from twelve media houses in the Greater Accra and Central regions.
Media houses that benefited from the workshop were from The Chronicle, Public Agenda, Today Newspaper, The Finder and the Daily Graphic.
Others include Joy FM, Citi FM, ATL FM, TV3, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Ghana News Agency (GNA) and Ghana Web.
The workshop sought to equip journalists with requisite knowledge and skills on how to read and report on huge amounts of data with different kinds of Softwares.
The participants were taken through a number of subjects, such as Researching Data, Data Cleaning, Data Analysis and Data Visualisation by their German resource persons, namely Kiran Schacht and Elena Erdman.
At the end of the program, Mr Mohammed Suleman, a senior reporter with the Public Agenda newspaper indicated that he wouldn’t mind paying money for more tutorials on Data Journalism because he had developed enormous interest in it.
He indicated that a number of Ghanaian journalists have not explored that area, so he believes any journalist who takes it up would excel in the country.
“Data Journalism is an emerging area that most journalists are not into, and since it’s an emerging area anyone who takes it up will go far”.
He stated that though the process wasn’t easy from the beginning, most of his colleague participants were able to understand the course as lessons progressed and the belief that with constant practice the course would become easy.
He observed that the course was an interesting one, hence his colleague journalists should get involved and not leave it to the Economic and Financial Journalists alone.
Louis Asare, a reporter with the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation also indicated that his expectation of getting more insight into Data Journalism was met.
“Going forward, this course would serve as a basis for me to go into Data Journalism in order to enrich my reports,” he said.
Mr Kwaku Krobea Asante, Programme Assistant for MFWA also indicated that technological advancement has made more information available and journalists must acquire some skills to understand and present all those information in a meaningful way.
“Therefore, the MFWA wanted to equip journalists with skills to understand, extract, process and make meaningful stories to their audience in the simplest, unique and futuristic way,” he said.
Perusing Data Journalism with other forms of journalism, Mr Asante observed that Data Journalism was a bridge between everyday journalism and data science and can be complex, so he wasn’t surprised at the difficulties it posed to the participants from the beginning.
He hoped with constant practice, the participants would have control of the course.
On how to track the progress of the participants, he indicated that the foundation has its own monitoring and evaluation programs and that participants would be assessed based on that.
He stated that: “even the selection of media houses for participation was done through our monitoring and evaluation program, so we would definitely track the success, using the same method”.
Mr Asante indicated that the role of the media was very essential, hence the foundation would always fund programs that would improve upon the professionalism of journalists.
Madam Elena Erdman, one of the resource persons, said she was very happy to hear and witness the analysis that came out of the data presentations.
She said, though she had held many programs on Data journalism, it was her first time in Africa and Ghana, so she was curious to hear the kind of stories that would come out of the data analysis and her expectations were met.
Pic 1: Participants receiving tutorials on the course
Pic 2: A Chronicle reporter receiving her certificate at the end of the program
Pic 3: Organisers, resource persons and participants in a group picture
Pic 4: A Joy FM reporter receiving his certificate after the program