On the Road: African News Innovation Challenge TechCamp in Zanzibar
Out data wrangler Michael Bauer is on tour through Tanzania and Ghana. His first stop: The African News Innovation Challenge (ANIC) TechCamp in Zanzibar. Read his impressions below.
How do you innovate the news? You bring a bunch of technology geeks and journalists to low bandwith paradise and let them bounce ideas off each other for three days. Sounds like a good idea? Well yes… it is.
The African News Innovation Challenge is a program to fund innovative ways of improving reporting and journalism in Africa. It was conceived by the African Media Initiative and right now is having it’s first round of funding. Forty projects were nominated as finalists and were invited to a three day barcamp-like event in beautiful Zanzibar.
The event, co-organized by the African News Innovation Challenge and the US State Department, brings together ANIC finalists, technology experts, journalists and civil society organizations to re-think and re-design their submissions. The Open Knowledge Foundation’s Open Spending team – collaborating with the Open Institute – is one of the finalists in this challenge. So I got to serve a dual role: representing a partner in one of the finalist projects and facilitating sessions on Open Data, Freedom of Information and Models for Financial Reporting.
The first day started off with an intense set of sessions – from design thinking exercises in teams to deep sessions on specific technical or journalistic subjects. The challenge of participating in those was to select from a wide range of topics – most of them too interesting to miss. Conversations continued until late at night.
TechCamp will end October 8th. I’ll stay in Tanzania for an Open Data workshop in Dar from 18th-20th October and then move on to Ghana after this. If you’re interested meeting during that time, contact schoolofdata [@] okfn.org