Journalism Training in Kibera

On the first Saturday in November I woke up ready to go to class. After graduating from j-school this would be my first time back in a classroom setting. But this time, although I was continuously learning, I wasn’t going to be the student.

The Kibera News Network (KNN) is an organization of citizen video journalists telling the stories that happen within their community. The news stories are posted online on YouTube and the group is aiming to have monthly screenings to show the stories in the community. KNN covers stories that are often untold by the mainstream media, and are from the perspective of Kibera residents as the journalists live in Kibera, as opposed to being outside press coming to Kibera only for a story. As the Kibera News Network website states, “This is the real citizen journalism.”

Kibera is arguable the best known slum in Kenya, and has often been (inaccurately) referred to as the biggest slum in Africa and sometimes the world. Although the population has been estimated to range as high as one to two million the 2009 Kenya Population and Housing Census capped the number at 170,070. (And for an interesting read on the Kibera census pop. read “Myth Shattered: Kibera Numbers Fail to Add Up.”) Either way, there is lots of news happening within the 2.5 square km radius! Founded in April 2010 by Map Kibera, KCODA, and two Kibera filmmakers, the reporters use flip cameras to film these stories.

The KNN journalists had previous training in videography, filming, and editing, but only minor training in reporting practices. My role would be to run weekly reporting workshops, resembling a j-school boot camp.

At the end of the four sessions (each filled with questions, discussions, and debates) I was asked to write a guest blog on the Map Kibera blog. Read my blog post on my experience with KNN, and I look forward to keeping you up-to-date on the stories these journalists tell in the New Year.

Standing with the Kibera News Network crew


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