Oct 282014

ICFJ’s Ben Colmery participates in panel on data journalism for the developing world

Data journalism is having a powerful impact on the lives of citizens, especially in the developing world, according to a panel of media-development experts brought together on October 15 by the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA).

The discussion titled “How Data Journalism Drives Results in Developing Countries” touched on data initiatives around the world, with a focus on projects in Africa and Latin America.

Pilirani Phiri

ICFJ brought Malawi broadcaster Pilirani Phiri to New Hampshire to cover the 2012 U.S. presidential election. He brought back the concept that a president should answer to the public, and he landed the first live presidential interview in his country.

Apr 182011

In Malawi, the battle over trees pits the poor population against the government

Editor note: Knight Fellow Edem Djokotoe discusses contrasting philosophies between a government bent on prosecuting the charcoal industry and a rural population dependent on its profits.

Two weeks after he returned from the UN climate change conference in December, Malawi’s energy minister, Grain Malunga, made a controversial public pronouncement: “Arrest all charcoal sellers.”

Prosecuting them, he argued, would save the country from the devastating effects of deforestation and deter others from chopping down trees for charcoal.

Feb 282011

Witchcraft in Malawi Provides Challenges for Journalists

Editors note: Knight Fellow Edem Djokotoe discusses the challenges and various methods of identifying and prosecuting withcraft.

The witchcraft stories that make the news range from spine-chilling and spooky to downright bizarre to fatally tragic. Take the case of 26-year-old Leticia Wyson from Nkondilile Village in central Malawi, for example. On January 15, villagers say she gave birth to two plastic bags containing a millipede, a snail, two mango seeds and nine small stones instead of a baby.

Jan 252011

Presidential Celebration in Malawi Does Little to Help Struggling Newspaper

Red carpet…a sea of tuxedos and dazzling, figure-hugging evening gowns…a phalanx of paparazzi looking for someone important or something offbeat to shoot.

But this black-tie event took place, not in Los Angeles but in a giant marquee on the lawns of Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika’s State House in Lilongwe, the capital.

The event in question was an awards dinner hosted by the state-owned and government-controlled Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), dubbed “Our People, Our Pride.” It is an annual ceremony to honor Malawians whose deeds have touched the lives of many—ordinary people

Dec 102010

Bizarre Stories Sometimes Trump Substance, Even in Malawi

When it comes to crazy things, nothing beats what Pilirani Lazaro, a 22-year-old peasant farmer from Kalaza Village in central Malawi, did recently.

It may sound stranger than fiction, but on November 21, he took a knife, went into the bush, cut off his testicles and immediately put them up for sale.