In March, we spent a lot of time with the editors of Thaba Chweu News, Sipho Theledi and Nomthandazo Shai. After our initial meeting that took place at the end of February it came to light that their journalist who has been working with MCMI and submitted articles using Wazimap and Municipal money, resigned and was now working with another participant of the project, GPS News.
During the meeting, we decided that Nomthandazo would be compiling the last outstanding articles so that Thaba Chweu News might also have 11 articles like the other participants do. I would be meeting with her at Wimpy in White River for a few Saturdays to give her training on Wazimap, Municipal Money and WordPress.
This went very well as Nomthandazo is a quick learner and she was glad to sacrifice a few hours over the weekend to see the project through. Together, we compiled three articles for Thaba Chweu News and identified more stories that she would be working on in the near future for the publication.
One important issue we dealt with during March with the participating newsrooms was the importance of getting both sides of a story. Some journalists would leave this extremely important aspect out of their copy. We explained to them that the consequences could be very costly since one may not uncover the whole truth and could thus very easily end up with a lawsuit. Coincidentally, the very same thing happened to another community newspaper the next week (whom is not part of the MCMI project) whereby a story was published with just one side. I believe the journalists got a wake-up call and will not strictly adhere to this rule.
TWNA and Open Data Durban (ODD) got feedback regarding the website template. Quite a lot that we still have to do but atleast the newsrooms know how to upload content to WordPress. I have no doubt that when the websites are ready, they will immediately start uploading their articles that they wrote for MCMI and others.