Knight International Journalism Fellowships

Zambia: Putting Health News in the Headlines


Knight International is working to make health reporting a regular beat at one of Zambia's leading newspapers. Knight Fellow Antigone Barton helped to establish the first health desk at the Zambia Daily Mail, one of the country's most influential newspapers. Under her coaching and mentoring, the staff markedly increased the quality and quantity of health stories on topics such as HIV/AIDS, drug-resistant tuberculosis, cholera and malaria. Barton’s fellowship ended in February 2010. Knight Fellow Zarina Geloo began work the same month at the Times of Zambia.

HIGHLIGHTS

-Helped reporters and editors produce a World AIDS Day package that included an examination of HIV-positive Zambian prisoners who return to their communities and spread the disease.

-Led a team of reporters in producing a ground-breaking series on cancer risks and links to AIDS, and on the challenges of cancer treatment in Zambia.

-Created a monthly health newsletter as a resource to assist journalists covering health-related stories.

-Helped the new health desk report on disease prevention.

-Led a team of reporters and editors in producing an award-winning series on malaria, the nation’s deadliest disease. Zambia’s health minister credited the newspaper’s coverage with helping to reduce malaria infections.

-Helped organize an association of journalists and health experts to serve as a resource for the media community and forum for discussing health threats and policies.

Blogs

  • Feb 22010

    A Shining Example

    An award from the Minister of Health is just one prize for Daily Mail's malaria reporting, as journalists see rates of the disease drop.

  • Jan 22010

    Two editors at the Zambia Daily Mail died on Christmas day

    The deaths of two editors sadden colleagues and send a message. Two of my colleagues at the Zambia Daily Mail died on Christmas day, casting, as the newspaper's story the next day said, a dark cloud over us. Both died after illnesses, that were not described in the story.

    Mr. Pelekelo Liswaniso the newspaper's production editor was 50 years old. Ms. Diana Zulu, sports editor was 39.

    Both had been amongst us long enough and recently enough for their loss to be jarring as well as very, very sad.

  • Dec 42009

    Thanksgiving and World AIDS Day an uneasy mix

    LUSAKA, ZAMBIA — Reporters have a choice on World AIDS Day. They can go to the press conferences, the speeches, the red-ribbon-test-a-thons that happen every year, and write down what everyone said -- again.

  • Nov 212009

    Researchers, journalists, artists come together

    LUSAKA, ZAMBIA — For three days this week, a group of artists, researchers, journalists and others ready to make a difference sat around the Olive Grove room at the Intercontinental Hotel and talked about what they had in common.

    Not much, one would think, on the face of it. Researchers talked about protocols and policies, journalists about tight deadlines and bad headlines, and the artists -- singers, dramatists, visual artists -- they talked about the myriad ways to create messages concerning matters of life and death.

  • Nov 82009

    Where routines are challenged, health reporting abides

    Fuel shortages, power failures and Internet outages hinder, but don't halt health reporting here.Last night the lights went out, the sudden total onset of darkness followed by a resounding crash of thunder that went on, rumbling and clattering, shaking other bits of infrastructure for some minutes after.

    Interpreting sounds in the darkness can lead to dire conclusions, and it seemed likely then that the power would stay out for some time, as it has in the past after routinely predictable events.