5 Lessons from the African Story Challenge Bootcamp in Marrakech, Morocco

On Aug. 10, 2014, 20 finalists in the third round of the Story Challenge met in Marrakech, Morocco to attend the African Story Challenge Bootcamp. The group spent the week with trainers, including three current or former ICFJ Knight Fellows. (Storify by Kendall McCabe and Patrick Butler)

  1. Lesson #1: As the open government movement grows and spreads across Africa, more and more data becomes available to journalists. 

    There are many simple tools that reporters can use to find, analyze and visualize data. Making good use of data allows audiences to see issues that matter to them in new and compelling ways.

  2. Lesson #2: It’s not enough for journalists to simply send out information. 

    Reporters must engage their audience in the news. From social media to user-generated content, from citizen journalist networks to interactive SMS services, reporters need to be innovative and find ways to get their audience actively participating in the story. 
  3. Lesson #3: Learn from advertising: Don’t try to know too much, narrow your audience and  aim for behavior change.

  4. Lesson #4: Organize your project for maximum results: Build the right team, be sure you have the resources you need, make sure all the tools serve the narrative and follow a logical step-by-step process.

  5. Lesson #5: Get your story out on as many platforms as possible – think “cross-media” not “multimedia.” Adapt the story to run in as many different type of media (print, radio, TV, online, mobile) as possible, and perfect your pitch to sell the story.

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