Southeast Asian journalists 'future-proof' data projects in workshop
MANILA, Philippines – Eleven journalists from 6 Southeast Asian countries took part in a week-long workshop in Manila to "future-proof" their data-driven projects.
The data journalism training by French-based agency CFI was the 3rd and final leg of the 4M Asia data journalism training program. The first two legs were held in Cambodia and Malaysia earlier this year.
"The purpose of this last week of training is to help them finalize their project and learn how to future-proof it," said French data journalist Marianne Bouchart, one of the workshop trainers.
Held at the Rappler office from October 13 to 19, the workshop tackled themes such as monetization, collaboration, project planning, budgeting, and security.
"We have a lot of work helping them understand how to work with data, why it is useful for their job, and also help them hold the powerful accountable," she added.
Bouchart was joined by Rappler Research and Content Strategy unit head Gemma Mendoza in training the 11 journalists.
Bouchart was moved by the participants' passion and hard work. "Here in Southeast Asia, journalists are almost activists because they have to fight to get access to information," she said.
"The participants we have in this program are really inspiring because all of them are really driven and passionate about the work they do. It's a real pleasure to work with this group of people," she added.
Making an impact
The participating journalists said they would bring lessons from the workshop back to their home countries.
"I've learned that it's not just about reporting a story. You should also think about how to give your project longevity, how to make an impact in the community, and how to think about the nuts and bolts of the project, the practical things," said Koh Aun Qi, sub-editor of Malaysiakini.
"Through our projects, we are hoping that we can somehow change our communities," added Marlon Alexander Luistro of Batangas-based newspaper The Filipino Connection.
"I think the most important part of this is about how to manage engagement with the public," said Syailendra Persada of Indonesia's Tempo magazine.
This was echoed by Thai journalist Teeramon Bua-Ngam of Prachatham Media Foundation. "We learned a lot about how to engage with people and expand our work to our community to make something happen."
CFI's 4M Asia project manager Sara Guglielmi said they will continue guiding the workshop participants until the publication of their stories.
She also said CFI plans to organize a forum in March 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia. "During this forum, the participants of the data journalism training will present their projects," said Guglielmi.
CFI or Canal France International is tasked with coordinating and implementing France's aid policy for the development of media in developing countries in Africa and Asia. It is the media cooperation agency of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs.
Beyond the training, Mendoza encouraged the participating journalists to sustain the connections they forged during the workshops.
"Given the challenges that newsrooms and journalists in the region face, it is very important for us to have strong connections with colleagues in the region and other parts of the world who can assist us in times of need. This is why we at Rappler really support initiatives like these," she said.
Mendoza also encouraged the participants to think of cross-border reporting initiatives that could stem from their current data journalism projects.
Rappler has hosted various media organizations in past events to foster cooperation and help develop tools for journalism and society.
In July 2016, Rappler partnered with the Global Editors Network (GEN) for the Philippines Editors Lab hackathon tackling crisis reporting in the country. Then in November 2016, Filipino and Indonesian journalists took part in an open data training facilitated by Rappler and CFI. – Rappler.com