Friday, 29 January 2016

More photos from the veterans' training

Bujaga Kadago, chief editor of SUA Media at Sokoine University of Agriculture in
Morogoro, enjoying  a joke by the colleagues. Photos by Peik Johansson.

Fili Karashani started his journalism career at Daily Nation in Nairobi in the 1960's.
Now he still trains journalism students at Muslim University in Morogoro.

Othman Maalim has made a long career at Zanzibar state television and is now
the chairperson of Zanzibar Press Club.

Praxeda Mtani is the Morogoro correspondent of Tanzania Broadcasting
Coorporation TBC, both radio and TV.

Search assignments and final feedback

The training ended successfully already on Wednesday with most of us happy for the intensive three days training including lots of jokes and sharing of tales and anecdotes from the good old days. The participants have posted story drafts based on their investigation assignments on given topics, as well as some feedback from the last day's training and the whole training week.

I will provide a summary later. Until then, please see the links to the participants' blogs on the right.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

How to avoid plagiarism

Plagiarism was discussed today before moving on to the assignments on producing stories based on investigations through the internet.

The website lists the following examples as plagiarism:
Turning in someone else’s work as your own

Copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit

Failing to put a quotation in quotation marks

Changing words but copying the sentence structure without giving credit

Copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not
For most journalists, editors and lecturers in class, the previous examples sound too familiar.

Then how can you avoid plagiarizing? In most cases by citing sources. By simply explaining that a part of the material has been borrowed, and providing your audience the information necessary to find the original source. That’s usually enough to prevent plagiarism.

Plagiarism has never been as easy as it is today. Before the internet, potential plagiarists would have had to go to the library and copy texts from books by hand. But the internet now makes it easy to find thousands of relevant sources in seconds, and in a few minutes one could find, copy and paste together an entire seminar paper, or a feature story.

But there’s no point in copy-pasting. You just make a much better story by writing in your own style and words. An editor or a teacher should also easily recognize passages that are directly copied, from the vocabulary used.

Journalists in any country caught plagiarizing can get sacked. If you are copying someone else’s story for an article published in your own name, you might also get sued for copyright infringement and be forced to pay heavy compensation. The same goes for publishing a photo without the permission of the copyright owner. In most of the world, the length of the copyright is usually 50 or 70 years after the death of the author. In Tanzania, 50 years.

The recommendation was that all participants would take their time and read the Tanzanian Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act from 1999, found here as a PDF file on a UNESCO web portal where they have collected the copyright laws from most countries.

Here’s another link to a good BBC story about plagiarism, how easy it is, and how easily it can be detected.

Think first, and other tips for fact-finding

Here’s some useful tips when searching for information from the web.
Think first, before going to the web.

What do you search for and where might you find it? Are you searching for simple facts, backgrounds or any other information that can develop your story? Should you google, or can you find the information on a specific website you already know? Do you find it from the internet, or better somewhere else?

Always monitor other news sites, both local and international, and also other web resources.

Choose right search words.

Try different Google search options – sometimes web, sometimes news, sometimes “all web”, sometimes only Tanzanian pages, or only Swahili language pages. You can also narrow your search by date, for last year, last month, last week or the last 24 hours only.

Open pages in a new tab. While the new pages are opening, you can continue reading the original page.

Add to favourites, or bookmarks. Also open new files for your favourites, or bookmarks. Then you will easier find the stories when you want to come back to them.

Follow the links in the stories you read.

Go to original sources.

Don’t always read everything, but scan for what is of your interest.

Don’t ever copy-paste! That’s

Print if necessary. Read as homework, underline.

Also make notes to your notebook and save drafts to a USB flash.
Here’s some more tips before you start writing the story.
Structure your story in your mind and on paper.

Decide what is relevant for your narrative.

Write simple with own words.

Quote when necessary.

Understand what you write (you are there to make things understandable for your audience).

Add details for human interest.
When you’re about to publish:
Provide links to original sources (if you publish online).

Always also think about headline, visual outlook, quotes, images, graphics etc.
Some general good advice for producing good investigative stories:
Spend much more time on the investigation than on the actual writing.

Plan your story into narrative chunks.

Also plan how you use your time
  • for research
  • for writing
  • for editing your text
  • for checking facts
  • and for delivering the final story.

Some photos from the veterans' training

Shermarx Ngahemela is chief editor at The African newspaper.

Masoud Masoud is TV producer hosting a very popular music show on TBC.

Timothy Kitundu heads the Tanzania desk of East Africa Business Week.

Yassin Sadik is the chief editor of Hoja newspaper.

Height of high mountains and other investigations

For what we did yesterday, you can now go to see the participants blogs, where they have been posting their summaries about the hectic day of searching for simple facts and also more complicated.

Now, we have headed on to write some short stories based on investigations from the upcoming Lupita Nyong'o film to gas in Mtwara and the state of press freedom in Tanzania. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Some photos from the first training day

Veteran journalists from the right, Fili Karashani, Bujaga Kadago, Masoud Masoud,
Othman Maalim and trainer Peik Johansson. Photos Markku Liukkonen.
MISA Tanzania acting director and training facilitator Andrew Marawiti assisting
Joster Mwangulumbi with a new mini laptop. On the left, Timothy Kitundu.
From the left, Timothy Kitundu, Joster Mwangulumbi, Kassim Mbegha, Shermarx
Ngahemera, Yassin Sadik and Praxeda Mtani.

Veterans speak about yesterday

The participants yesterday at the end of the day published their summaries and feedbacks on what we did on Monday, the first day of the training. See the links in the list of training participants on the right.

Monday, 25 January 2016

First introductions with high expectations

The ten participants have now published their introductory postings, also listing their expectations for the upcoming training days. Will write a short summary and provide links to the postings later. For now, you can go and see the links to their blogs on the right... It has been a good first day even with some technical shortcomings, but challenges are always part of life.

So many famous journos in the same room

This is my first posting from an internet training with some of Tanzania’s most prominent journalists – most of them having been in the profession since the 1980’s, or even longer. Fili Karashani, nowadays journalism lecturer at the Muslim University in Morogoro, told us at the introduction that he started his career at Daily Nation in Nairobi, Kenya, already in the jazzy 1960’s.

The training is taking place at Hotel De Mag Plaza in Kinondoni, Dar es Salaam, a classy property with swimming pool and air-conditioned conference rooms, which you wouldn’t imagine based on the location in a dusty dirt road neighbourhood.

The training course is part of a wider internet training programme for Tanzanian journalists and journalism lecturers co-arranged by MISA Tanzania and Vikes – The Finnish Foundation for Media and Development, a solidarity organization of the Union of Journalists in Finland, with support from the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

This is the first training focusing particularly on what they here call veteran journalists, partly initiated by some of the old-timers themselves. It’s the 43rd internet training course arranged within the training programme which has been running since 2008.

Other previous internet courses have focused on editors from national mainstream media as well as radio producers, local reporters and journalism lecturers in Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Mbeya, Mwanza and Zanzibar.

During the last five years, separate Swahili-language training courses have also been arranged for local reporters and regional correspondents in fifteen locations around the country, namely Dodoma, Geita, Iringa, Kigoma, Mbeya, Morogoro, Moshi, Mtwara, Musoma, Mwanza, Njombe, Pemba, Shinyanga, Songea and Sumbawanga. These trainings have been conducted by a group of dedicated Tanzanian trainers who have been trained for that purpose as part of this same programme.

More about the proceedings of the first training day with the veteran journos will be updated later.