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Ten Practical Tips for Covering Development

Edem Djokotoe
Publication Date
Publication Date: 
January 1, 2013

According to this publication, by definition, development stories are big news in developing countries. The problem is that media reports are typically just government announcements of infrastructure development - roads, bridges, hospitals, etc. - and official claims that lives will improve. Thus, those articles turn off the reading and viewing public, and that has some editors pulling their staff off this important coverage.

Published by International Center for Journalists, the document provides 10 tips from Edem Djokotoe, Knight International Journalism Fellow in Malawi in 2010 and 2011. Djokotoe's advice stresses less jargon and more people, impact, and original reporting. It reminds us that journalists are writing for ordinary people - not development "experts" - to show them the implications of the events unfolding around them.

The 10 tips, which are elaborated, in the document, are:

  • Broaden the development story
  • Humanise the development story
  • Focus on ordinary people, not "big shots"
  • Look for unusual angles
  • Report from the field
  • Use news events to explain issues
  • Avoid technical jargon
  • Use statistics carefully
  • Follow up stories
  • Read widely
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