Sunday, November 21, 2010

Some more pictures from the training

Here are some more pictures from the internet training for journalists in Arusha. Tanzania Standard Newspapers Moshi correspondents Nakajumo James and Amina Juma sharing a joke during class. Behind is Lulu George, Tanga correspondent of Nipashe newspaper.

Susan Ngeiyamu is news presenter at Radio Sauti ya Injili, Voice of Gospel, the Lutheran church radio station based in Moshi.

Marc Nkwame is Arusha correspondent of Daily News, the government-owned English-language newspaper, the oldest newspaper in Tanzania.

Thumb up from Mohamed Msoffe, journalist and radio presenter at Radio 5 Arusha and also a popular local MC. Stay tuned. All photos by Mussa Juma.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Final toasts after fruitful week in class

The training has now ended with nice speeches and everyone raising a toast with bottles of soda. The last day was basically spent by working on the blogs and Maggid Mjengwa showing the participants many new features, such as posting pictures and adding comments to other blogs in order to network and create debate. Many thanks to Maggid again for a great session that was much appreciated.

Some of the participants have also published their stories on the final, more challenging research assignments.

Here’s the background feature by Marko Gideon, IPS News and MISA, about the so called Economic Partnership Agreements, or simply EPAs, that the European Union wants to sign with the African countries by the end of this month. These free trade agreements can be dangerous in many ways and actually destroy the local economies here by opening up the markets to subsidised agricultural products from Europe.

Marc Nkwame, Daily News, chose to write a commentary about a short story, “He’s My Brother”, by the Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina, published online on the travel website Travel Intelligence. Binyavanga’s story itself is a beautiful narrative on the Tanzanian hospitality he experienced during a one night’s stay in Dar es Salaam when he was travelling back from South Africa to his homeland Kenya.

Participants could also choose to write about the impact of climate change in Tanzania, but only few went for that topic.

I also reminded the class that it is strictly forbidden to copy and paste directly from other websites. It is not good journalism, and in most cases it is illegal. In other countries, journalists would get fired if they are found doing it. For more about this, I recommend a very good and reader-friendly website,

At the end of the training, most participants posted their comments about the final day and the whole training.

Seif Jigge from ORS FM writes about the eye-opening experience of blogging. Also he reminds us about the need to follow the ethics of journalism in our blogs too, as they are a new media outlet just as radio, TV or newspapers.

Marko Gideon says that five days in front of the desktop was not an easy task, but according to many participants, it has been the most interesting training they ever had :-)

Hamida Khalid of Tanzania Daima in Manyara says she is happy because she now knows how to search for information to her stories through the internet. Nebert Mramba, Business Times, wishes that the training could have been even longer. Marc Nkwame says the training has been fruitful and was “a very good investment to all.”

For more comments in Kiswahili, see the good summary of the last day by Mohamed Msoffe, MC and radio presenter of Radio 5 Arusha. Here’s the feedback from Nakajumo James of Habari Leo, and here the comments of Swalehe Kiluvia, Radio Arusha One.

And if you want to visit a new Tanzanian photo blog, please go to the site of Mussa Juma, Arusha correspondent of Mwananchi. For many more pictures, see the Kilimanjaro blog by Salome Kitomari, Moshi correspondent of the rival Kiswahili newspaper Nipashe.

Finally, I would like to warmly thank all participants for active participation and the good mood we’ve had in class all through the week. A big hand goes to Cecilia Mng’ong’o from MISA for excellent coordination of the training arrangements again. Thanks also to UCC Arusha for the IT support at the venue and to the catering team for the regular wali nyama with fresh salads and fruits.

Friday, November 19, 2010

African and international web resources

Here’s a list of some local and international websites we have visited and discussed during the previous days, useful sites not only for journalists but for anyone with the desire to find information. For Tanzanian online media, I will add some links separately to the column on the right side of the page. But here are now the other links.

Tanzania government You will find here all statistical data of the country, national budget and so on. For reaching the different ministries, better to go directly to the section National information by topics with the giraffe image surrounded by links.

Bunge, meaning the parliament, has a good site with CV’s of all MP’s and other info.

Tanzania Online The only functioning Tanzanian web portal, has many links that you might also easily find by googling.

Jamii Forums This is the Tanzanian discussion site, with the slogan: “Where we dare to talk openly.” Here people use to leak out scandalous documents of corruption etc. that maybe wouldn’t be published in the mainstream media.

Reuters Africa Latest news country by country updated constantly when news happen. If things at home are relatively cool, meaning no huge floods or wars or rigged elections, the site might include only week-old business news.

IPS News “Tells the story underneath!” Well written news features from the South produced by journalists from the South. The Kiswahili service you can find here.

Other international Kiswahili language news sites include BBC Swahili, Deutsche Welle and Voice of America, with all providing audio clips as well. Content from more than 125 African news organizations. Here you can read papers from Cameroon to Kenya. Of the Tanzanian media houses, The Citizen and Daily News seem to have joined this news portal recently.

Al Jazeera This satellite channel from Doha, Qatar, is today providing probably the best Africa and Middle East reporting of all the big international news channels. The website is beautiful with sharp pictures and often clever stories.

Daily Dispatch is a local newspaper published in East London, South Africa. I want to mention it here, because they have very well produced special reports on the website, technically and journalistically world class online media. See for example the investigative report on the murders of local Somalians in the town.

Awdal News This is a curiosity from Somaliland. Online journalism can be a great media in a country with long distances and lack of paper, as long as wireless connections are there. See also the Somalian news site with more than a hundred links to other Somalian news and other websites.

Pambazuka News Pan-African forum for social justice. Human rights activists and the best intellectuals on the continent are publishing enlightening stories on politics, development and people’s struggles.

African Elections Database Compiled by a chap somewhere out of Africa with numbers of votes, percentages and all other details from every election since colonial times. Unfortunately not updated for a year or so.

African Journals Online On this website updated in South Africa you can browse and read close to 400 different African scientific journals, from the social science journal Africa Development to Zimbabwe Veterinary Journal.

African Literature and Writers on the Internet A web portal hosted by Stanford University in California with hundreds of links to websites on African literature, from sites about Chinua Achebe to Zimbabwe Book Fair.

African Studies Internet Resources Web portal by Columbia University, New York. So many links that you can choose by region, country or topic.

More pics of journalists at work

Here’s some more photos from the class. In the front, Swalehe Kiluvia, Radio Arusha One, and behind, looking into the camera, Charles Masayanyika, ITV correspondent in Manyara.

Working on their assignments, Mustafa Leu, Radio Uhuru correspondent in Arusha, together with Nebert Mramba, Business Times. Many thanks to Mussa Juma for sharing the photos.

Blogging on albinos and happy babies

Today we have a guest lecturer in class, as Maggid Mjengwa, Tanzanian blogger and newspaper columnist, has been presenting to us his blog and telling how he operates it, updating pictures and comments usually several times a day.

Maggid is a long-time friend of mine from Iringa, where he is heading the Tanzania programme of the Swedish NGO, Forum Syd. But he is also a journalist, writing weekly columns to the Raia Mwema newspaper and publishing an online media site called Kwanza Jamii. His blog at is one of the most famous and most visited blogs in Tanzania, giving a sympathetic picture of the lives Tanzanians are living in both the rural areas and in the cities. You’ll see photos of people and peculiar events wherever Maggid moves, telling a story often more worth than thousand words.

These days you can see in his blog pictures with a short description from along the 800 kilometre journey from Iringa via Dodoma and Babati finally to Arusha. Here some children on a donkey cart, here an elderly couple is sharing a traditional brew, and here is an example of the poor maintenance of the rural road infrastructure. What is happening to all the road development funds?

Here Maggid himself is taking a cup of tea at a place proudly named as Sheraton Hotel in a village outside Dodoma. And here a group of young men are watching the president speak on TV in a shop window in Sokoine Road here in Arusha.

Lately, there’s appeared several other interesting blogs in Tanzania, each of them usually focusing on one particular topic.

Daily News journalist Jiang Alipo maintains the Mama na Mwana blog for publishing happy photos of babies and comments about baby care. Tuntufye Abel is hosting a blog on football coaching, with comments and advice. Mzee Mwanakijiji, again, is a Tanzanian living in USA and running a podcast blog with audio recordings, on corruption revelations and other local Tanzanian topics.

Other blogs include the cartoon blog Katuni inasema, Cartoons say it all, by Tanzania Daima cartoonist Said Michael, the fashion blog 8020 Fashions by Darhotwire journalist Shamim Mwasha, and Albinos in Tanzania, a blog reporting on the violence targeting albinos and the general situation of people with albanism in the country.

Searching facts on football and Ahmed Ghailani

For two days, we have now been searching for information from the web, starting from very easy small assignments about names of capitals and presidents, and moving forward to more complicated background stories.

I have underlined to the participants that it’s important to think before going to search from the web. What exactly is it that you are searching for, some fact or background or context? Do you know from which website you will probably find the information, or should you use a search engine to find it more randomly? And also, is the internet necessarily the best way to find the information you are seeking, or should you rather just call someone or go out to the streets or go to ask your grandmother?

Participants were able to easily find some background information about the Bolivian president Evo Morales, who belongs to the indigenous majority population of the country and rose to national fame as a trade union leader of the coca farmers.

In order to check for facts, one assignment was to correct a passage about the Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai, with a misspelling of her surname and wrong year for when she received the Nobel Peace Prize. The simple way to check both the name and the year was a Google search with the search words wangari nobel.

Yesterday, the class also googled their way to the UEFA website to find the result and all statistics from a EURO 2012 qualification football match between Finland and San Marino, played in Helsinki late on Wednesday. The final result was 8-0 for the home team with a hat-trick by Mikael Forssell, striker of the German team Hannover, but previously also Chelsea and Birmingham.

At the end of the day, the task was to search for information about the Tanzanian Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, yesterday found guilty in a New York court for taking part in the arrangements of the bombings of the US Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998. Ghailani was finally sentenced for only one conspiracy charge, but cleared of 276 other murder and conspiracy charges.

Here are some good reports and commentaries on Ghailani by Marko Gideon, IPS News, Marc Nkwame, Daily News, Lulu George, Nipashe correspondent of Tanga, and Nebert Mramba, Business Times, who writes in Kiswahili. Some say Ghailani should surely remain innocent, others would send him to jail.

Marc Nkwame writes in his posting that Ghailani doesn’t know how to drive the car, “which leaves many to wonder how he was able to accomplish his missions, most of which required fast movements from one point to another, sometimes carrying heavy explosives.”

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Some photos from the class

Here are some pictures from the UCC Arusha classroom today. On the left, Mussa Juma, Arusha correspondent of Mwananchi. To the right, Hamida Khalid, Tanzania Daima, Manyara. Photo Marc Nkwame.

And here, working hard on their fact-finding assignment, Seif Jigge, community radio producer from Orkonerei Radio Service, Simanjiro, Manyara, and on the right, Marko Gideon, IPS News and MISA-Tanzania. Photo Mussa Juma.

Linking on to other good news resources

This morning we started the training at 9 o’clock sharp and almost everyone was in class. The first thing to do was to repeat how to add links to the blog postings. The point with the links is that in the online media you can easily provide the route to the original source, which again increases the reliability of your text and is also a service to the reader. With good links on your site, people will probably gladly come back to read your site.

So links have been made to the latest postings on what we did yesterday. Amina Juma, Daily News, Moshi, has written a good and compact report of the programme with several links to international and regional media websites we visited. Seif Jigge, Orkonerei Radio Service, also adds some examples about the simple research assignments we did, searching for capitals, presidents etc.

Here’s a nice report about the “magic of making links”, written by Marko Gideon of IPS News and MISA-Tanzania.

Nakajumo James, the Moshi correspondent of Habari Leo, has surely made the class record in the number of links to other media sites.

Salome Kitomari from the Nipashe newspaper, Moshi, also has many links to African web resources. She says that “from now on, I get something new in my life, because I didn’t know that internet is everything and can help me to collect the information in order to make good stories.”

Marc Nkwame, Daily News, is concentrating on the examples we had on South African media. There you can found some news outlets that exist only online, such as Africa The Good News.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Internet training makes national news

We have made it to the news. See the Daily News article by Marc Nkwame in yesterday’s paper. Under the headline “Scribes undergo training on internet”, Marc explains the basic facts about the training. He says that the training is organized by MISA-Tanzania in collaboration with VIKES, which stands for the Finnish Foundation for Media, Communication and Development. He also mentions the number of participants and which regions they come from.

“The journalists undertaking the training represent various media outlets including those from newspapers, radio, television as well as press clubs. They all admitted to have always been taking the internet for granted, yet the web has so many hidden tricks that most people, including the journalists themselves, were still unaware of.”
Marc wrote his text already on Monday when we were yet starting the training. If you want to read other participants’ comments on the training so far, you can find their postings in the blogs. Here’s a nice report from Seif Jigge, producer at the Masai community radio Orkonerei Radio Service, or ORS FM. And here’s another enthusiastic story by Nebert Mramba, correspondent of Business Times.

Providing links during public holiday

Eid Mubarak to all readers! It’s Eid al-Hajj today, the Muslim celebration of pilgrimage, as everyone here already knows.

This is a public holiday in multi-religious Tanzania where approximately half of the population are Christian and the other half Muslim – and religious conflicts are practically non-existent.

We had a discussion earlier in the week on what we should do during the Eid. Should we break for the day altogether, or should we go on with the training nevertheless, but provide an opportunity for the Muslim participants to go for their prayers during the day? Consensus was reached that we will have the training as scheduled, though starting an hour later in the morning so everyone who wants can go to the mosque for the morning prayers.

Today the plan is to visit a number of international news sites and other web resources on Africa. We shall then move on to some fact-finding assignments, starting with very simple ones, searching for capitals or presidents of different countries. But first of all we are going to learn how to provide links to the blog texts.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tanzanian online media is developing fast

Today the network has been coming and going, and we’ve experienced some power cuts as well. This is still a reality for journalists and all other people in Tanzania. You cannot rely too much on the internet service providers – and sometimes even less so on the power company.

This of course makes it more challenging to market the internet to the wananchi as a new revolutionizing means of communication, media or many other services. And if the audience is not there, then there’s no point either to invest too much time and financial resources in providing quality content online. If again there’s not much relevant content available, very many are not going to spend their energy in learning how to use the new technology. And with only few users, there’s not enough pressure on the providers of the network infrastructure to run their businesses efficiently.

In neighbouring Kenya, they now seem to have gained the momentum. We saw today some statistics showing that in Kenya there are now about four million internet users, four times more than only three years ago. In Tanzania, according to the website Internet World Stats, the total number of internet users is 676,000. That is 1.6 per cent of the population.

So it is really against all odds that the online media in Tanzania is developing fast. In 2006, only three media companies in the country had a website, and of them just IPP Media was updating its website regularly. Now, over 30 media houses or news outlets publish journalistic content on the internet, from the well-designed and focused political weekly Raia Mwema to the more sensational tabloids, such as Uwazi. The latest newcomer is Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation TBC, the government radio and TV. Some publications exist only online, such as the youth-oriented entertainment site Darhotwire.

We visited today practically all Tanzanian media websites. Some of them were of course familiar to everyone, but other media sites were news to most of the journalists in class.

The participants have now been posting their comments listing their own favourite news media in or outside the country. Mohamed Msoffe of Radio 5 Arusha explains why he enjoys so much reading the Mwananchi newspaper. Marc Nkwame from the Daily News has a nice story about the Bongo media online scene in general. Amina Juma, also from Daily News lists her favourite media and mentions also online newspapers from neighbouring Kenya and Uganda.

First blog postings and first rainfall since long

It has been raining here constantly since yesterday evening, and this morning water was pouring down like from a bucket, forming streams running downhill and filling the potholes on the roads. People here say the rain is a blessing. The rainy season should have started already a month ago, so it’s really overdue.

However, most of us have made it back to class, and the participants are now writing postings to their blogs explaining what topics we covered yesterday.

Here’s some links to the first introductory postings from yesterday.

Lulu George, correspondent of Nipashe newspaper in Tanga, says that before this training she has used the internet only for sending her stories and a daily report to her editor in Dar es Salaam.

Amina Juma of Daily News in Moshi plans that her blog will contain stories about music and musicians and it will also be a platform where people can change ideas on love matters.

Mohamed Msoffe from Radio 5 Arusha wishes that after five days of this training he “will be speaking another language as far as the internet knowledge is concerned”.

For Kiswahili readers, you can go to see the nice introduction of Swalehe Kiluvia from the newly launched Radio Arusha One.

Links to the other blogs are in the column on the right side. All participants are first-time bloggers, and I believe many of them are very eager especially about this part of the training.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Celebration time at the Arusha tovuti training

Mambo from Arusha, the busy commercial and diplomatic town in northern Tanzania at the foot of the 4,500 metre high Mount Meru. Arusha is the bustling hub of tourism in the country, situated neatly on the way to the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater, both world-famous for their wildlife. The town is also the local capital of nyama choma, barbequed grilled meat, so popular here that after sunset you can feel the smell of charcoal in almost every street corner.

But Arusha also hosts the headquarters of the East African Community (EAC), a regional economic union of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and nowadays also Rwanda and Burundi. The Arusha International Conference Centre just outside the city centre has also been the venue for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, a UN court trying to bring justice to victims of the genocide in 1994.

This is now the place where we are conducting a one-week training course for local journalists in the use of internet, tovuti in Kiswahili, for fact-finding, news monitoring, communication and publication. The training is organized jointly by MISA-Tanzania and VIKES Foundation, a solidarity organization of journalist associations in Finland.

There are altogether 19 participants in the training. Nine of them are from Arusha itself, four come from neighbouring Moshi, three are from Manyara in the wide Masailand south from here, and two journalists have come with the bus all the way from Tanga on the north Tanzanian coast. Add to that as well the information officer of MISA-Tanzania, who is also the correspondent of IPS News in Dar es Salaam.

Most of the participants are reporters and correspondents of national mainstream newspapers, but there’s also a TV reporter from the national ITV channel and five radio journalists from local private FM channels, one of them from a community radio in Manyara.

We have now soon spent the first day of the training in a computer room at UCC Arusha, Summit Centre, Sokoine Road. The abbreviation stands for University of Dar es Salaam Computing Centre Arusha Branch.

The speed of the network was a bit slow today, so we didn’t really manage to do everything that was on the agenda. But at least we got started, learned to know each others, and visited a number of websites that have in one way or another changed the world in the quite recent era of internet. We searched the location of the venue from Google maps, we have seen what Americans buy from eBay, we edited the section about Tanzanian media in the Wikipedia online encyclopaedia, and also did an exercise on how to buy a train ticket in Finland from my hometown Helsinki to Turku.

The last one was to show how people in the so called developed countries use many services through the internet.

At the end of the day, there was a mood of celebration when most of the participants managed to open their own blogs. I will provide links kesho.