Monday, 17 March 2014

Tovuti training in the nyama choma capital

This is my first posting from a training course on investigative internet journalism arranged at the University Computing Centre in Arusha, the business hub of northern Tanzania and the world capital of nyama choma, the barbequed small pieces of local beef from the cattle that has been grazing in the vast savannah of the nearby Maasai land.

Picture from my hotel room with an almost clear view over
the giant Mount Meru, the fourth highest mountain in Africa.
The training course is part of an internet training programme for Tanzanian journalists 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 training is the fourth investigative internet journalism training in Tanzania so far and already the 27th internet training course altogether 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, Mwanza, Zanzibar and Arusha.

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

Now, at this investigative internet journalism training in Arusha, there are 14 participants from seven local and national radio stations, three newspapers, three institutions for journalism education and also one editor from the news agency Inter Press Service.

We are all neatly packed into an ICT student lab working hard with some already worn-out desktop computers and an internet access that would also need a bit of upgrading. Our task is to search for information from the web, or tovuti in Swahili, and to produce journalistic stories based on our investigations.

Through the open windows on the fourth floor, we can hear the constant noise from the daladalas and motorbikes moving on along the congested Sokoine Road. But the participants are so concentrated on their assignments that no-one seems to be disturbed of the sounds from the traffic.

More about the proceedings of the first training day will be published later.

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