Promoting Data Storytelling

The Institute for Human Development (IHD) in partnership with the Graduate School of Media and Communications (GSMC) conducted a three-day training on ‘Data Journalism’ for journalists based in the coastal region. The training aimed at empowering journalists with skills on how to appropriately analyze information, find insights and produce stories from research data. More than 38 journalists participated with a special focus on representatives from community media organizations.

The media landscape has changed. Previously, journalists would report cases and press conferences as they happened. Today, journalists use data to investigate, elaborate and give a broader understanding of whatever issue is at hand.

“In the media landscape today the ability to work with data has become such an essential skill and many of us are looking into reporting with data. This helps cover stories that will otherwise remain untold and provides audiences with a better understanding of some of the complex issues,” said Professor Nancy Booker, Interim Dean at the Graduate School of Media and Communications (GSMC).

The training held under the UZIMA-DS project seeks to use data as an early warning system to address critical health issues impacting young Africans. The project will look to work together with journalists to simplify and disseminate research findings that can create powerful stories for various audiences. This will in turn draw in new audiences and provoke responses from policymakers to address critical health issues.

IHD Director, Professor Amina Abubakar noted that journalists had a key role to play when it comes to disseminating research findings. “We would like to disseminate our research findings so stakeholders know where they can be of help and that is why we want to work with journalists. Data collected from different parts of the country will help inform us on factors that affect health the most and where interventions can be made,” she said.

Being the first initiative of its kind in the region, UZIMA-DS looks to leverage data science to proactively avoid adverse outcomes in maternal and newborn health and mental health. It also leverages machine learning, an artificial intelligence (AI) application, to identify creative solutions to aid health service providers and policymakers within underserved populations.