Practical tips for journalists covering development stories

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Although this has been out on the net for a while, it’s worth a reminder that the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) offers a free, downloadable guide for journos covering development issues. The ten practical tips were put together by Edem Djokotoe, a Knight InternationalICFJ tips for journalists Journalism Fellow (Malawi, 2010 and 2011).

Djokotoe’s tips for creative, engaging and information-rich stories include: focusing on ordinary people, reporting from the field, and showing how these stories link to — and impact — current news events. He reminds us that journalists are writing for ordinary people – not development “experts”.

You can download the 11-page PDF guide for free, on the ICFJ website. You’ll also find it in the list of links on the Promote-Your-Cause homepage.


Social media tips from 2014 SOMA nominees (and winner)

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beyond-zero-campaign-www.its254.com_-830x737More and more Kenyan non-profits are jumping onto the social media bandwagon. Like many businesses today, a small but increasing number of charities are using social media to connect with their target groups. The growing social media savvy of local non-profits was well reflected in a new “Best Use of Social Media for Charity” category at this year’s Social Media Awards (SOMA).

As the three nominees for the award show, Twitter, Facebook and other social media are more than just platforms to raise funds. These smart non-profits are using social channels to attract new supporters, raise awareness around important issues, and put pressure on politicians and big business.

Here’s how they’ve done it…

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What donors should know: A journalist’s perspective

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The Women Living Postively group in Nyaoga . Photo credit: Give Us Wings

By Sarah Ooko for Round Earth Media

An aerial view of Nyaoga village in Western Kenya reveals a vast savannah of short trees, lush grass and occasional hills. Rectangular mud-thatched huts, with iron sheet roofs dot the horizon. Villagers from a distance seem to be tilling small pieces of land, roaming into different homesteads and going about daily activities.

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Breaking bad news: Explaining budget cuts to staff and stakeholders

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1671962-poster-buggin-out-1So apparently the American government will not be cutting back support to HIV/AIDS programmes in this country. In fact the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) — which funds 70 per cent of Kenya’s HIV programmes — recently pledged to boost diagnostic facilities in ten counties. Great news given we have the 4th highest HIV infection rate in the world.

Still, it was a near miss with catastrophe. With insecurity still a problem in parts of the country, we’re bound to hear more grant-makers and donors talking about a “shift in priorities” and “budget re-alignments”. Already there have been reports of a significant scaling down of operations by the UN and USAID with staff being reassigned outside Kenya. Read the rest of this entry »

Easy ways to spice up your next report

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aromatMost of us know the drill when it comes to report writing. We describe our project or programme, include testimonials, outline the financials, thank donors and stakeholders, and wrap up our narratives with a call to action. Following a reporting template is pretty straightforward.

What can be a little tricky, however, is getting your report to have the right tone and pitch so you don’t bore or upset your audience. You don’t want it to read like a technical manual and it shouldn’t sound like a marketing proposal either. What you want is a document that is interesting, engaging and clearly shows the impact of your organisation’s work.  Here are some tips that may help.

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Job alert: Communications Assistant at ILRI

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Hallmark_job_openings2ILRI seeks to recruit a Communication Assistant who will contribute towards implementing a regional communication strategy; provide support in design of program material and management of an online information portal on climate change, agriculture and food security. He or she will work closely with the communication specialist and other program staff. Read the rest of this entry »