MCL sustains market dominance in data journalism

The Citizen journalist, Salome Gregory (left) , and her Mwananchi counterpart, Aurea Simtowe pose for a photo after they emerged winners of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 2022 data journalism awards. PHOTO | COURTESY

Summary

  • Since the inception of the awards in 2019, no other media house apart from MCL has won the top prize.

Singida. The Citizen journalist, Salome Gregory, and her Mwananchi counterpart, Aurea Simtowe, have emerged as top winners of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 2022 data journalism awards.

The two Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL) journalists secured first and second place, with Mwananchi being named this year’s top winner for their story covering attrition of primary school teachers and The Citizen coming in second for the story titled ‘Burden of NCDs and the adverse impact on health and economy.’

Since the inception of the awards in 2019, no other media house apart from MCL has won the top prize.

The awarding ceremony took place in Singida and was part of the commemoration of Statistics Day in Africa.

Awarding the winners, the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Antony Mavunde, said it was important for NBS to see if there was a possibility of working with the Statistics College and coming up with a course in the subject matter specially designed for journalists.

The competition collected more than 40 articles from different journalists, but only two entries made it to the finals: Aurea was the first winner for her story on the shortage of teachers at primary schools, and Salome secured the second spot with her story on the burden of non-communicable diseases and how they cost the health sector and economy.

“Data journalism simplifies the way people can understand how big the challenge is. When I was writing my article, I had a lot of numbers and words, but the data easily communicated the information. It is time we invested more in data journalism,” said Salome.

On her part, Ms Aurea said teamwork in the newsroom has helped her get the award, as everything from sharing news ideas to idea improvement is always done by the team.

Reacting to the victory, MCL Executive Editor, Victor Mushi, said: “These awards validate our relentless focus on impactful storytelling for both The Citizen and Mwananchi, in line with our ethos of empowering the nation. We believe data, when put in the right context and powered by the right narrative, helps our readers make sense of the world around them. That is the essence of our approach to data journalism, and that is what these winning stories do. Salome’s write-up, for instance, on how NCD prevention ultimately saves lives and money for Tanzania does an excellent job of using global data to advocate for a preventative approach to health care. That is solutions journalism.”

Commenting on the award criteria, the NBS Director General, Dr Albina Chuwa, said the article has to be extensively researched and the data has to be broken down in a simple way that can be easily understood by everyone.

Adding to that, she said, trusted sources of data and information in the story are a must, while the use of photos in the story has to go along with the story presented in the competition.

Another criteria is an article that was able to assess a statistical report with the aim of getting a message to the community. “We received both Kiswahili and English stories,” she said.