Open Journalism Workshop

Posted in Whistleblowing

The media environment in South Africa is not always conducive to investigative journalism. South Africa may have a free media, but the political environment presents many challenges in terms of accessing information – particularly information from the state. Within media houses, limited capacity and restrictive deadlines make it difficult to write stories that might require extensive, in-depth investigations.

In response, ODAC has launched this site as a resource for investigative journalists. It is an online workshop with three core modules:

  • The Promotion of Access to Information Act
  • The Protected Disclosures Act
  • Open Data Journalism

Each module provides you with a different tool to assist your investigative journalism. The structure is simple. Each module has a video lecture, an accompanying PowerPoint presentation, and several supplementary reading materials and videos. Each module ends with a short voluntary quiz which tests you on the core material.


Promotion of Access to Information Act

Introduction

The Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000 (PAIA) is a progressive South African law that gives effect to the constitutional right to access information from public and private bodies. This module will teach you how to use PAIA to make information requests.

Your lecture

 Essential reading

Your reading for this segment is the extended PowerPoint Presentation. It is longer and goes into more detail than the video lecture.

Promotion of Access to Information Act PowerPoint Download.

Additional resources

You should download your own copy of the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

The South African History Archive (SAHA) has created a step-by-step guide to filling out a PAIA request. This very useful document can be downloaded here.

Here are the correct PAIA forms for your own use:

For an inspiring example of how other journalists have made successful use of their respective access to information laws, watch this video of Heather Brooke below:

 Quiz

Now, why not see how much you have learned? We have created a simple quiz for you to take based on both the video and the required reading. You have two attempts to take this test.

Click here and take the quiz!


Protected Disclosures Act

Introduction

The Protected Disclosures Act (PDA) is a South African law created to provide legal protections to people who “blow the whistle” on alleged illegal activities in an organisation, private company or government department. Due to the close relationship between whistleblowers and journalists, it is vital that investigative journalists are able to give advice to whistleblowers on the nature and extent of these protections. This module will teach you the basics about the protections provided by the PDA.

Your lecture

 Essential reading

Your reading for this segment is the extended PowerPoint Presentation. It is longer and more detailed than the video lecture.

Protected Disclosures Act PowerPoint Download.

Additional resources

You should download your own copy of the Protected Disclosures Act 26 of 2000.

The Open Democracy Advice Centre has also created several resources on the Act which could be useful. For a practical guide on using the law, download the Whistleblowing Manual, by L. Martin (2012).

We also have a detailed report on the State of Whistleblowing in South Africa, by P. Martins, which may be of interest for advocacy purposes.

Quiz

Now, why not see how much you have learned? We have created a simple quiz for you to take based on both the video and required reading. You have two attempts to take this test.

Take the quiz here.


Open Data Journalism

Introduction

Open Data Journalism is journalism that is driven by the exploration of the wide range of open data now available. This module will teach you about what open data is and why it is important for South African journalists. You will also be given tips on how to create an open data story.

Your Lecture

Essential Reading

Your reading for this segment is the extended PowerPoint Presentation. It is longer and more comprehensive than the video lecture.

Open Data Journalism PowerPoint Download.

Additional resources

To help you make use of spreadsheets in your work, look through this brief introduction to Excel to brush up on your skills. Using Excel to do precision journalism, by S. Doig and S. Cohen.

For a detailed guide to Data Journalism, see the Data Journalism Handbook, by J, Gray, L. Bounegrau and L. Chambers (eds.). Read the free online version here.

For a great description of the importance of open data, watch this video of Tim Berners-Lee below:

For a demonstration on the power of data visualisations, watch this video of David McCandless below:

 Quiz

Now, why not see how much you have learned? We have created a simple quiz for you to take based on both the video and the required reading. You have two attempts to take this test.

To take your quiz, click here!