Navigating the Global Media Forum 2023: A Milestone for Africa Data Hub
August 4, 2023
After attending the Global Media Forum Patricia Andango ruminates on the role data plays on balancing the narrative and engaging the youth.

When the digital world connects, media thrives and, at the epicenter of it all, the Global Media Forum held in Bonn, Germany, from June 19th to 20th, 2023, proved no exception. There, in the historic city on the banks of the Rhine, journalists, media executives, activists, and technologists from across the world converged to discuss, debate, and strategize on the future of global media. As a representative of Africa Data Hub, my experience at the conference was both illuminating and transformative.

Moreover, connecting with potential capacity-building partners such as DW Akademie, Germany's leading organization for international media development, opened avenues for fostering media literacy, improving journalistic quality, and promoting independent, fact-based journalism. Their rich expertise could help us achieve our goal of empowering African journalists with data storytelling skills, thus fostering informed conversations and driving social change.

But the conference wasn't solely limited to potential partnerships. It presented an invaluable opportunity to participate in a radio show, a platform bringing together minds from different backgrounds - Kenyan Standard Group, Tanzanian broadcaster ITV, and the global foundation, Luminate. The crux of our discussion? The role of data in overcoming divisions and Africa Data Hub's crucial role in that space.

During our engaging discourse, we emphasized how leveraging data could provide nuanced perspectives and balanced narratives, thus bridging the divides that seem to be more prevalent in today's world. 

The conversation then shifted to an increasingly pressing concern - how to reconnect with the younger generation that seems to be disconnecting from traditional news media. We explored how new media, characterized by interactivity, user-generated content, and real-time updates, could provide a remedy.

By incorporating multimedia, data visualization, and interactive elements, we can make news more engaging for the young audience, encouraging them to interact with, and not just passively consume, information. The potential for new media to democratize news consumption and encourage critical thinking can't be underestimated. With this in mind, Africa Data Hub is eager to experiment, innovate, and engage with younger audiences through Vybecast.

Looking back, the Global Media Forum 2023 has been a milestone for Africa Data Hub. The conversations held, relationships forged, and ideas exchanged during the two-day conference will undoubtedly shape our approach in the days to come. They will influence our collaboration strategies, our storytelling techniques, and our endeavors to make data more accessible to African journalists.

I've returned from Bonn, energized and inspired, ready to bolster our mission and further our cause - because every number has a narrative, and it's time Africa's data stories took center stage.

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