• Dec 92010

    Better Sources and Tougher Questions Lead to More Funds for Uganda's Hospitals

    A reporter who relies only on official sources will often miss the real story. To a seasoned journalist, that may sound like a cliché. But through my Knight International Journalism Fellowship in Uganda, where independent media are very new, I’m trying to help journalists understand the need to dig deeper and find new sources, especially when it comes to health reporting. Recently, I got to see stunning results-- $130 million worth in fact. In 2008, a reporter I was working with, Kakaire Kirunda of the Daily Monitor newspaper, set out to write a story about the country’s hospital system.

  • Oct 82010

    Citizen Journalism in Uganda

    Cradling a dead baby in her arms, a girl weeps as she walks alone down a dirt road in eastern Uganda.

    About a year earlier, she learned she was pregnant. She turned to the baby’s father and his family for help and support, but they denied responsibility. Then, her own family spurned her. Though still a child herself, she had no choice but to leave her village and fend for herself. Six months later, she returned with the child, who had been born but subsequently died. She needed to find a place to bury him. But again the father, his family and her own family rejected her.

  • Jul 242010

    Mobile phone technology meets citizen journalism

    When my health-journalism fellowship began two and a half years ago, I dreamed about finding the “killer app” for mobile telephones that would revolutionize journalism in Africa.

    I didn’t make much headway, and the dream came to look like a wild fantasy. But today, 26-year old Lydia Namubiru is engineering the kind of leap forward I once dreamed would be my claim to fame.

    The diminutive Ugandan was working as a features writer for the New Vision newspaper when I arrived in her country at the beginning of 2008.

  • Jun 122010

    Good Reporting Can Produce Stunning Results

    Any reporter who relies on official sources will often miss the real story. That may sound like a cliche, but in countries that don’t have much experience with an independent press, it’s a lesson many reporters are just starting to learn. When they do, however, the results can be stunning.

    In 2008, reporter Kakaire A. Kirunda of the Daily Monitor newspaper set out to write a story about the country’s hospital system.

  • Mar 262009

    Use UHCA to learn - through experience

    Editors Note: Fellow Chris Conte work towards sustainable impact with UHCAIn late 2007, when I learned that I would be coming to Uganda to train and support health journalists here, I sought advice from Bobby Pestronk, the longest serving and one of the most highly respected local public health officials in the U.S. “The first thing you need to realize,” he told me, “is that nothing you do is going to make a difference.”

    He was talking mainly about health, where lasting improvements only come with time. But his bleak comment applies to journalism too.

  • May 12008

    What difference can a newsletter make?

    What difference can a newsletter make? Quite a bit, judging from the launch of a modest new publication in Uganda. Designed to serve health journalists, the “Uganda Health Reporter” is making a bid to help spearhead diverse training programs and become a rallying point for professional development.

    “The first step is always the hardest.”

  • Mar 22008

    Of Demons and Public Health

    Editors Note: A group of journalists set out to investigate reports of demons in rural Uganda, but they ended up learning a few things about public health.

    As I sped down a narrow dirt road enveloped in a cloud of dust in Hoima District, Uganda, I must admit I wondered what in the world I was doing. I had begun a stint as a Knight health journalism fellow three weeks earlier, but here I was with a reporter and photographer from New Vision, Uganda’s largest newspaper, bouncing toward the isolated village of Kiziranfumbi about three hours west of Kampala.