Mozambique Newspaper Monitors Polling Places With New Citizen Reporting Tool

The editorial team at Mozambique's @Verdade newspaper is gearing up to report on the country's municipal elections in November and national elections next year. With 2,500 polling stations across the country to monitor, it’s a tough job for any newsroom, and especially for @Verdade’s, which has just an 11-person editorial staff.

That's where an innovative citizen reporter network comes into play.

For the first time ever, citizens are helping @Verdade to report on the election process. They’re using Citizen Desk, a new toolkit that helps news organizations incorporate citizen journalism into their work online or in print. With Citizen Desk, @Verdade can collect, verify, reward and publish reports sent by citizens through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and SMS.

Citizens are helping to answer questions such as: Are polling places open? Are officials present and voters free of intimidation? Is the equipment functioning correctly?

During the elections, @Verdade will use Citizen Desk to monitor various information feeds, verify the information, save notes in a contact database and then choose the best content and include it in dynamic, live articles.

Citizen Desk is one of 20 winners of the 2012 African News Innovation Challenge contest (ANIC), designed to encourage experimentation in digital technologies and support the best innovations designed to strengthen African news organizations. The contest, modeled on the Knight News Challenge, was launched by the African Media Initiative under the leadership of ICFJ Knight International Journalism Fellow Justin Arenstein.

Read the full post on IJNet.

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.

Image courtesy of Flickr user sjcockell under a Creative Commons license.

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