Technology is thriving in Africa. In just over a decade, the region has become the one of the most connected via mobile, experiencing the fastest growth in mobile subscribers. The world’s tech giants are investing in the region. And an active tech community is pioneering ways to rewire the media. But you wouldn’t necessarily know it from reading the news.
In Africa, “technology is largely reported under 'Business News',” says Alex Gakuru, Creative Commons Regional Coordinator for Africa and a Steering Committee Member of the Kenya Media Programme. “A few media outlets have 'Science and Tech' or 'Innovation' categories, but they’re often full of technology [PR] reports from agencies.”
According to Gakuru, this is due to the complexity of tech themes and a politics-driven news agenda, among other reasons. Because few media houses, or media outlets, have dedicated technology writers, journalists have to play catch-up when investigating and reporting complex tech stories.
The latest round of the African Story Challenge hopes to change the way African journalists report on business and technology. The contest, run by the African Media Initiative (AMI) and led by former ICFJ Knight International Journalism Fellow Joseph Warungu, will award grants of up to US$20,000 for investigative, digital and data-driven stories on key African business and tech issues.
Winners will also get training and mentorship to help them refine their ideas and create stories with lasting impact.
Gakuru, a panelist at a recent African Story Challenge event, talked with IJNet about how reporters can improve their tech coverage. Read his advice on IJNet.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Nick Harris under a Creative Commons license.
The International Journalists' Network, IJNet, keeps professional and citizen journalists up to date on the latest media innovations, online journalism resources, training opportunities and expert advice. ICFJ produces IJNet in seven languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, Persian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. IJNet is supported by donors including the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.