Scribes urged to embrace data-based journalism

File pic: Journalists lined up at an event

MEDIA practitioners have been urged to embrace data-driven journalism to enable them to provide readers with fact-based information that can give context and useful insights on risks to public health and livelihoods in the country.

Speaking at a media training workshop in Mutare on vital statistics hosted by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat), Vital Strategy representative and director of public health programmes Lara Tabac said journalists must use reliable data when reporting on issues pertaining to sustainable development goals (SDGs).

“We urge journalists to use data to strengthen and enrich their stories. We also want them to provide accurate information, particularly public health issues so that the country knows where it is standing, possible risks, threats and so on. We believe that civil registration is a rich source of population data that journalists can use to develop stories that are useful in advocating for public health outcomes and other developments outcomes, for example, SDGs,” Tabac said.

“We also believe that journalists are in a unique position to ask their governments what they are doing to ensure that the civil registration and vital statistics data is complete and covers the whole population.”

She urged journalists to write stories that mitigate disinformation.

 “Data is a great remedy against disinformation and misinformation. It can be used to promote population-based health. Journalists should use trusted data sources and use clear language that is understood by everyone.”

ZimStat spokesperson Roland Chiringa said: “Journalists are important in communicating information including vital statistics reports. Training journalists will enable them to report from any point of view.  We also link them with necessary government departments. This training will help them to report responsibly on information related to civil registration and vital statistics.

“Journalists are key in reporting on the importance of birth and death registrations, hence the need to understand the process involved in civil registration. This training will also improve their abilities to source, understand and translate relevant data into rich and compelling stories, and to evaluate public health achievements.”

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