ICFJ Knight Roundup: Code for South Africa Launches Data Journalism School

Dec 72015

Each week as part of the Knight International Media Innovators blog, the ICFJ Knight team will round up stories focused on how their fellows are making an impact in the field. Find out more about the fellows' projects by clicking here.

A new data journalism training program in Africa, tracking government spending in Chile and more from the Knight Fellows in this week’s roundup.

Code for South Africa launches its Data Journalism School

Want to work in a data newsroom? Code for South Africa and ICFJ Knight Fellow Raymond Joseph are launching a three-month training program in February 2016. The school will offer junior- to mid-level journalists practical data journalism skills under the guidance of journalists, coders, wranglers and analysts. Applications for the program close Dec. 15.

New platform Compras Transparentes shines light on Chile's government spending

In Chile, a law passed 12 years ago to increase transparency has not produced results, but that story is changing now that new technology is making information more accessible. One example: the new Compras Transparentes website.

As former ICFJ Knight Fellow and project developer Miguel Paz describes in his blog post in Spanish, Compras Transparentes is "a new web application for journalists, citizens, researchers and entrepreneurs interested in doing business with the Chilean government or find out how and with whom the Chilean government conducts its business. It is a tool for browsing, searching and viewing the purchases made via tender by the Chilean government, allowing people to do advanced searches and queries that cannot be done in the government website MercadoPublico.cl and its database."

The project is already revealing much about government finances as illustrated by this story about municipal spending on the digital news site BioBio Chile. Compras Transparentes was developed by the tech lab Zoohash and Poderopedia, with support from ICFJ Knight Fellow Mariano Blejman’s Hackslabs.

Independent media in Venezuela team up to provide unprecedented coverage of parliamentary elections

For the parliamentary elections in Venezuela, five independent media outlets and an NGO worked together to mobilize more than 100 reporters in 23 cities across the country. This collaboration aimed to help the media pool resources to broadcast their reports to the widest possible audience while taking advantage of shared social media networks to amplify that coverage. This broad alliance includes news sites TalCual, Runrun.es, Crónica.Uno, El Pitazo and Poderopedia – a project that Miguel Paz helped launch – and the NGO Transparencia Venezuela. You can read the full story published on Rurrun.es. [Spanish]

Podcast tells the story of ANCIR's Australian mining in Africa investigation

Africa Investigates, a podcast showing exposés into governmental, institutional and corporate corruption across the continent, released its second podcast on "Fatal Extraction." Hosted by ICFJ Knight Fellow Chris Roper, in partnership with World Policy Institute and ANCIR, this podcast interviews two of the journalists who helped expose the misconduct of Australian mining companies in Africa. Read more about "Fatal Extraction: The Human Cost of Australia's Mining Empire in Africa" here.

Gustavo Faleiros and InfoAmazonia deploy water sensors along the Amazon River

InfoAmazonia, a digital project created by former ICFJ Knight Fellow Gustavo Faleiros, uses just about every tool to track environmental changes in the Amazon. Faleiros and his colleagues look at everything from topography to heat signatures to air molecule levels to reveal how human and climate impacts are changing Amazonian ecosystems. Now they are adding a new set of data using water sensors to detect changes in the expansive Amazonian water networks. With funding from Google that was awarded during his Knight Fellowship, Faleiros and his project team are collecting data from 18 sensors to measure the impact of human activity on water quality. You can read about their work and the initial results on InfoAmazonia’s blog. [Portuguese]

Africa Check discovers an embarrassing error at the G-20 Summit

While national leaders across the globe are trying to show their commitment to the environment, South African President Jacob Zuma vastly understated South Africa's investment in renewable energy. Africa Check, a winner of the 2012 African News Innovation Challenge created by ICFJ Knight Fellow Justin Arenstein, fact-checked President Zuma's speech at the G-20 Summit earlier this year in Turkey and found that he was a few zeros off. Africa Check's work was also published in "Fact-checking the world's most powerful leaders: the G20 factcheckathon," on Poynter.org.

ClimaTracker just might make climate science more fun - and more accessible

Making a 136-page document on historical climate trends interesting is a challenge. Oxpeckers, a winner of the 2012 African News Innovation Challenge, in collaboration with the Earth Journalism Network, aims to solve this problem with ClimaTracker. ClimaTracker is an interactive visualization that allows viewers to track climate change in South Africa with a mouse click.

OpenGov Fellows push African governments to recognize the value of open data

Code for Africa's and Open Knowledge's first cohort of Open Government Fellows are testing their ideas, finding ways to improve government and civil society, and writing about it. OpenGov Fellow Seember Nyager pushes Nigeria's government toward better public service delivery in "When Everyone Sees Everything," published in the Premium Times. OpenGov Fellow Claude Migisha highlights "The business side of Open Data" and the opportunities it brings to developing countries, like Rwanda, in his blog featured on Tumenye.rw.

This post is also published on IJNet, which is produced by ICFJ.

Main image CC-licensed by Flickr via Jim Makos.