Monday, November 17, 2008

Some more pictures

Personal training during the last day of the workshop. From the right Lilian Timbuka, editor of Kiongozi, Edwin Mpokasye from Dar es Salaam School of Journalism and myself. Behind are Abbas El-Sabri from Radio Voice of Quran and Abraham Makinda of Uwazi.

Abbas El-Sabri, news editor of Radio Voice of Quran, checking his emails while listening to the facilitator in class.

Ratifa Baranyikwa, foreign news editor of Tanzania Daima, and Jacqueline Maro, assistant news editor of Radio Upendo, searching information from the internet.

In the front, our tool for fact-finding. In the back, Sekela Moses of Agape TV, Cecilia Mng’ong’o from MISA Tanzania and Jabir Idrissa, editor of Mwanahalisi, with Mawazo Lusonzo, sports editor of Changamoto. Thanks to Albert and Lilian for photos.

Many thanks to the TGDLC catering staff for the plentiful food which was always there when we went for break. Here’s Ratifa enjoying a mixture of stews and rice. Thanks to Maggid for sharing the picture.

For workshop participants’ last postings from Friday, November 14, please go to the links to their own blogs on the right.

Thanks to everyone in the group for being so active, attentive and encouraging. Let’s keep in touch and continue to network. Kazi njema.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Participants in action

Some of the participants working hard on their assignments. In the front Albert Kilalah, Lilian Timbuka and Edwin Mpokasye. Photo by David John of The Express.

This is the same group from the other side, and actually on another day. Closest to the camera Nancy Mwendamseke, Ratifa Baranyikwa and Jacqueline Maro. Behind Abbas El-Sabri, Edwin Mpokasye and Lilian Timbuka. Photo by Maggid Mjengwa. More pictures at

People like to see pictures

Today we have a guest lecturer at our workshop. My good friend Maggid Mjengwa has been running the show this morning on blogging and citizen journalism. Maggid is a trainer of adult education based in Iringa and a political columnist for the weekly Raia Mwema newspaper. But he’s also one of Tanzania’s most famous and admired bloggers.

So this morning Maggid has presented to us his blog and explained how he is doing it, how he started, some examples of the comments that visitors write to the blog. Maggid’s blog is a photo blog with daily postings from everyday life in Tanzania, both rural and urban. True images from Africa.

But his postings also include entertainment, such as links to local political cartoons – or a quiz about who is the person wearing the high-heal shoes on a picture. (Answer: the wife of John McCaine, I believe.)

Maggid’s family has other bloggers too. See the football blog of his 12-year-old son Olle Mjengwa.

Now participants themselves are adding images to their blogs and Maggid is showing how to crop and edit pictures. Stay tuned.

Searching info for feature stories

Most participants have now posted their short articles based on some given topics. The task was to search for material from the internet and to produce a feature story based on the findings. Links will be later added to sources, and an image as well.

Copy-pasting was of course not allowed, but unfortunately it still seems to be there.

But anyway, here’s links to some good stories.

Abraham Makinda of Uwasi newspaper has written about the melting of Kilimanjaro. I understand the text is based on some quotes from a climate expert in a Tanzanian blog and a story published in the Nipashe newspaper.

Lugano Mbwina from Mwananchi and The Citizen has published a story on the mysterious collapse of the World Trade Center Building 7 on Sept 11, 2001. This building was never hit by a plane and was situated a few blocks and over 100 metres away from the more famous Twin Towers. Some people believe the WTC-7 was pulled down by explosives as in controlled demolition.

Nancy Mwendamseke of Tumaini University has chosen as her subject the international boycott on products of the Nestlé company. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1.5 million babies are dying every year because they are not breastfed but given baby milk substitutes instead.

Another possible topic was to comment on a story by the Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina, “How to write about Africa”, published in Granta journal, but I think no-one chose that one.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Comments with links

New postings have been made, documenting and giving feedback from the more practical sessions of yesterday. Read more from the workshop participants’ blogs. Here’s the account of Ratifa Baranyikwa, foreign news editor of Tanzania Daima newspaper. And here are some comments from Edwin Mpokasye, lecturer at Dar es Salaam School of Journalism.

For an even deeper and academic approach on what we need online journalism for, see the posting of Madam Nancy Mwendamseke, head of mass communication department at Tumaini University Dar es Salaam College.

Part of the topic was to add links to the stories, and Jacqueline Maro, assistant news editor of Upendo FM, is surely breaking the record with the amount of links. Her commentary is in Kiswahili, which in my opinion is just wonderful. Because if the internet shall have a relevance in Tanzania, the contents must be in the language of the people. Soma zaidi also from Lilian Timbuka, editor of the Catholic weekly newspaper Kiongozi, and Albert Kilalah, principal of Time School of Journalism.

For funny links, you can go to the blog of Abraham Makinda, journalist from the Uwazi weekly newspaper, previously famous for its a bit sensational reporting.

African web resources

Yesterday was a bit hectic in class and we visited quite a number of local and international websites useful not only for journalists but for anyone with the desire to find information. Below some links. I’ll add later Tanzanian online media links separately to the column on the right side of the page.

Tanzania government Better to go directly to the section National information by topics with the giraffe image surrounded by links to ministeries.

Bunge, meaning the parliament, has a good site, but it’s just too slow to open.

Tanzania Online The only functioning Tanzanian web portal, has many links that you might also easily find by googling.

Reuters Africa Latest news country by country updated constantly if news happen. If things at home are relatively cool, meaning no huge floods or wars or rigged elections, the site might include only week-old business news.

IPS News “Tells the story underneath!” Well written news features from the South produced by journalists from the South. Content from more that 125 African news organizations. Read papers from Cameroon to Kenya.

Awdal News Curiosity from Somaliland. Online journalism can be a great media in a country with long distances and lack of paper, as long as wireless connections are there. Links to other Somalian sites at the bottom.

Pambazuka News Pan-African forum for social justice. Old wise guys writing clever stories with the background idea that Africa shall unite.

African Elections Database Compiled by a chap somewhere out of Africa with numbers of votes, percentages and all other details from every election since colonial times. Unfortunately, we couldn’t reach the site yesterday.

African Literature and Writers on the Internet A web portal hosted by Stanford University in California with hundreds of links to websites on African literature, from sites on Chinua Achebe to Zimbabwe Book Fair.

African Studies Internet Resources Web portal by Columbia University, New York. So many links that you can choose by region, country or topic.

Kenyan blogs Read postings from Kenyan Pundit and hundreds of other active bloggers from Kenya. The latest Kenyan blog posting will appear on top. Tanzanian blogs you can find here.

Hello in many languages. This is one of my personal favourites. If you can greet in Nyakyusa language and also say “thank you”, you might reach far. Here you can also learn to say “hallo” in about 20 different German dialects.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Some shots from embassy reception

Here’s some photos from a reception organized for the workshop participants and other media stakeholders at the Finnish ambassadors residence in Dar es Salaam yesterday evening. Above, Lilian Timbuka, editor of the Kiongozi newspaper, together with our happy host, Mr Juhani Toivonen, ambassador of Finland.

Tanzania Media Women’s Association director Ananilea Nkya together with Lugano Mbwina, web editor of Mwananchi newspapers. On the right, MISA Tanzania chairman Ayub Rioba and Nancy Mwendamseke, head of mass communication department at Tumaini University Dar es Salaam College.

MISA Tanzania chairman Ayub Rioba (in centre) in a brisk debate with Jabir Idrissa (right), editor of the Mwanahalisi newspaper, which is temporarily banned from publication. Edwin Mpokasye from Dar es Salaam School of Journalism watching by.

Abbas El-Sabri, news editor of Radio Voice of Quran discussing details of the soon to be launched Tanzania Media Fund with Hester Somsen from the Embassy of Netherlands. All photos by Albert Kilalah.

Challenges of the traditional media

This morning the workshop participants made postings on ideas they got after yesterdays training. One of the resources yesterday was a speech by Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul of News Corporation, given to American newspaper editors some time ago.

In his presentation, Mr. Murdoch described the challenges that especially the print media are facing as a younger generation doesn’t really read newspapers anymore, at least not in the USA. The youngsters want to get their news from other channels, usually via internet, where they can also send comments, forward stories to friends and join chat groups.

See the workshop participants’ reflections. Links are on the right.

John Solombi of Wapo Radio has written a good summary of Mr. Murdoch’s analysis. Jabir Idrissa of the weekly Mwanahalisi newspaper is doing the same while adding some entertaining narrative to it.

Lugano Mbwina, web editor of Mwananchi and Citizen newspapers, is not writing about Murdoch but believes the internet can in Tanzania add value to the newspaper. “The same company will retain its old readership for the print media while on the other hand creating a new digital constituent of internet users”, he concludes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

So hot scandals

Oh, it’s such a hot morning in Dar es Salaam. Myself I was just sweating as I arrived at the venue, which has a bit tricky name, Tanzania Global Development Learning Centre, usually referred to as TGDLC. It’s probably one of the best places in Tanzania for having workshops like this where you need to have good computer facilities and a fast connection to the internet all the time. And here inside in the multimedia classroom it’s heavily air-conditioned and cool, even cold for me. But others are not complaining.

Right now the participants are making new postings to their blogs. The topic: some views and opinions on what we did yesterday, with wishes and expectations for coming days as well. I will do my best to provide links to participants’ blogs later today.

Outside class, news are big this morning. Three new high level corruption charges in the so called EPA scandal involving both politicians and businessmen. All newspapers are running headlines big as cats on the EPA issue. One of them shows a picture of a shameful suspect crying tears in court.

Monday, November 10, 2008

How to make popcorn with mobile phones

This is the first posting from an internet workshop for editors and journalism trainers in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. So far we have 13 participants in class, most of them news editors or editors-in-chief of Tanzanian radio stations or newspapers based here in Dar es Salaam, as well as three trainers from local journalism schools. To that you can also add two participants from MISA Tanzania, the local chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa, and myself, Peik Johansson, journalist from Finland and trainer of this workshop.

The training is organized by MISA Tanzania together with the VIKES Foundation of Finland, the international solidarity foundation of the Union of Journalists and other Finnish media organizations, with financial support from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. This is the second workshop within a training programme on internet for journalists planned to run for three years. We had the first pilot workshop in August this year. For more on that pilot workshop, you can visit the blogs produced as part of it.

Today, we have spent some time introducing ourselves to each others. Then I was showing some examples on how people in countries like Finland get some of their services done via internet. So even we went to buy a train ticket in Finland using the internet and also checked how to purchase a Kenya Airways flight ticket from Nairobi to Bujumbura. We had a discussion on internet banking as well. One of the participants is using internet banking of the local CRDB Bank.

We also visited some websites which have in one way or the other had an impact in transforming the world into what it is today. We edited the media section of Tanzania at Wikipedia, watched a funny video at YouTube on how to make popcorn with mobile phones, and visited the ICT site where users are providing most of the contents.

Now the participants are writing their first postings for their blogs that will be opened today.