12 Journalists Selected to Attend EJN Data Journalism Workshop on Net Zero in Johannesburg, South Africa

A picture of a windmill at sunset.
12 Journalists Selected to Attend EJN Data Journalism Workshop on Net Zero in Johannesburg, South Africa

Since 2007, South Africa has been blighted by ‘load shedding’ — the rolling blackouts that occur when demand exceeds production and electricity is rationed to protect the national power grid against collapse. Since September 2023, nearly 4.6 million South Africans have found themselves experiencing blackouts every day, sometimes for up to 12 hours. 

Marginalized communities are most impacted by these disruptions, with access to transport, education and even home cooking affected. With access to transport, education, home-cooked meals and much more disrupted. South Africa’s journey to renewable energy therefore not only represents a potential end to loadshedding, but also an opportunity to redress broader socio-economic inequity.  

Journalists play a crucial role at this turning point, monitoring progress and holding governments to account on their net zero policies and just transition plans. Journalists also act as essential conduits of information, contextualizing complex net zero science, data and policy for their audiences, ensuring they can make informed decisions and are better equipped to demand action from decision-makers. To help journalists do this more effectively, Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (EJN) has selected 12 journalists from South Africa to participate in a four-day data journalism training workshop through its Pathways to Net Zero Project, which will be held from 29th January to 1st February, in Johannesburg: The 12 journalists selected to attend the workshop are:   

  • Bridget Lepere, Creamer Media’s Engineering News and Mining Weekly 
  • Jorisna Bonthuys, Daily Maverick 
  • Julie Bourdin, African Arguments 
  • Lidi Botha, Farmer’s Weekly  
  • Kimberly Mutandiro, GroundUp 
  • Nica Richards, Eyewitness News 
  • Ozayr Patel, The Mail & Guardian 
  • Qiniso Mbili, SABC News 
  • Sakhile Dube, Top Africa News 
  • Siya Mokoena, Radio Workshop 
  • Thabo Mohlala, Greening Afrika 
  • Zano Kunene, The Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism 

“Data skills are a useful addition to any journalist’s toolbox. For those who report on climate change, they’re especially useful,” said EJN’s workshop coordinator, Laura Grant. “Net zero is all about data and often it’s complex and hard to understand. Our job as journalists is to make the complex easier to understand, through data visualizations and reporting.” 

During the workshop, participants will be taught effective methods of integrating data into their stories and how to identify and draw out stories from data sets. Participants will visit a decommissioned power plant which is now the site of renewable energy projects and hear from thematic experts on a variety of topics, such as the interlinkages between net zero and public health. 

Look out for stories from workshop participants, which will be republished on the EJN website in upcoming months.  

Banner image: A recent report by IRENA found that South Africa could realistically, and cost-effectively, supply 49% of its electricity mix from renewables by 2030 / Credit: Nicolaas Swart via Unsplash. 

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