Month: April 2014

Data Day: Data Journlism

Remixed from images from the Noun Project: thenounproject.com/noun/handle-with-care/

Remixed from images from the Noun Project: thenounproject.com/noun/handle-with-care/

Friday the 25th of April, happened to be data day and the main topic was data journalism. I must admit it was the first time I had heard about data journalism.  Apparently, Data journalism is a journalism specialty that uses numerical data in the production and distribution of information in the Digital era . Numerical data could range from population data, PLE results of the whole country, to the country’s expenditure budget etc. This kind of journalism shows the increased interaction between several fields such as journalism, design, computer science and statistics to produce content that you later read in news papers, watch on television, hear on radio or check out online.

As the presenters went on about data journalism and its benefits or how it has not been maximized in Uganda. I just kept thinking that being good at just one profession or specialty is not enough these days. It’s not enough being a journalist, in the future one would also need to be IT savvy.  I came to a conclusion that am not a woman of all arts and if I were a journalist, I would collaborate with professionals of other specialties and let them rub onto me.

We had some great presentations. First was a Programmer, who used a software called R to manipulate the previous primary living education results and showed us a great visualization of the map of Uganda based on performance. Am Happy to say my region is among the best performers in Uganda but can’t say the same for the presenter. It actually makes more sense when data is presented beyond just figures in tables but in formats that are eye catching like maps, graphs etc.

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Our second presenter was a journalist, who talked about her experience with data journalism. She said that she used software like excel but did not venture into any complicated programming languages like R. She explained that just like her, most journalist tend to shy away from the  IT part of journalism thinking it would be difficult or cumbersome to do.

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On a personal note the event was quite eye opening. With my background in GIS(Geographical Information Systems), I felt inspired to apply myself in Data journalism and not sit on all this incomprehensible data.

Muteesa 1 Royal University

That Wednesday i woke up on the wrong side of the bed. My head was pounding, my eyes were so heavy, I felt like I had left a debt with my bed. A visit to the doctor, the day before made me felt like I should bail out on this meet up. I told myself all the lies I needed to hear to get out of bed, got ready and headed off to Muteesa 1 Royal University.

When I got there, I could see and feel the liveliness of the young students, rushing in and out of lecture halls, holding discussions of sorts in the compound. It reminded me of my time at the university, where everything was a possibility and I believed I had the power to conquer the world. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe those things, but let’s just say a few years working can make you question some things.

We met up with the students in the computer lab and had an early start with an OpenStreetMap Presentation from our colleague Douglas. This presentation was quit eye opening not just for the students but even for me. It is always good to learn more than one expected from an Event. After the presentation, we headed out with our field papers and GPSs  to map the university.  This was followed by an uploading session, where students uploaded the information they had picked on the field papers and GPSs. We then had our lunch at the university canteen, which left some of my colleagues hungrier than they had come in.

Activation Morning

The Wikipedia Activation was in the afternoon, I started off with a presentation to the students. This was to help them understand why they need to use Wikipedia as students of muteesa1 Royal University. The presentation was quite interactive and students were able to give their opinions about some of the matters I raised. We then went on to open accounts and create user pages. After this we learnt a few tips on how to edit on Wikipedia and upload pictures. The session was crowned off with a series of questions from the students. This has been one of my most fulfilling activation so far. We left the students with a thirst yet to be filled, so hopefully this will not be my last encounter with these wonderful individuals.

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Let’s just say, if I had know what the day had in store for me, I would have been a ray of sunshine in the morning.

BOOK CLUB AT FEMRITE

Every Monday , FEMRITE (Uganda Women Writers’ Association) hosts a book club for writers. And on every last Monday of  the month the book club hosts an author of the month. I was  honored to attend  the last Monday of the month of March and listened to the author of the month, Jaimini Jethwa. The author is  a playwright and  came all the way from Scotland. Jaimini Jethwa was born in Uganda and in 1972, she was forced to migrate to Scotland when Idi Aim ordered all Asians to leave Uganda. Born in Uganda with Indian descent , raised in scotland , Jaimini Jethwa felt like she had to come back to Uganda and face her demons.

Jaimini Jethwa writes to remove all modern day barriers. She  uses humor to eliminate  barriers like race, color, nationality etc . Growing up in Scotland, Jaimini’s family was the only family of a different culture in their neighborhood  and they stood out like a sore thumb.  It was times like this that Jaimini thought to herself, that staying in Uganda would have been much better than the life she had in Scotland.

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During the meeting the author read to us parts of her play and  poems,and got feed back from the crowd. Through this interaction we learnt that Jaimini drew inspiration from different sources for her play,  both in Scotland and Uganda. The play is a monologue which could be challenging on how to keep people captivated. I  loved the poems , they had something captivating about them. I will surely be in line when the play is staged in the National theater,Uganda.