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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Geo-journalism: EJN launches ‘InfoCongo’

After many years of behind-the-scenes work, InfoCongo, a new GeoJournalism website from Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (EJN) that combines interactive maps, visualised data on natural resource issues and traditional journalism stories, has been launched at a ceremony in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Managing Editor of InfoCongo, David Akana, facing the DRC media after the launch of the interactive mapping platform in Kinshasa
Managing Editor of InfoCongo, David Akana, facing the DRC media after the launch of the interactive mapping platform in Kinshasa

A day after the launching ceremony, EJN specialists with support from development organisations working on similar topics in the Congo Basin such as the Central African Programme on the Environment (CARPE) and The Observatoire Satellital des Forets d’Afrique Centrale (OSFAC) organised a half-day capacity-building workshop on “Data journalism: Emerging Practices to Tell Impactful Environmental Stories.” Twelve local reporters with expertise in environment reporting from major media organisations participated in the training.

“InfoCongo represents a new opportunity to better understand the changes that this important region is undergoing,” says David Akana, the site’s managing editor. “We are aiming for it to become a vibrant platform for the exchange of information about sustainable development between journalists, scientists, policy makers and the public at large.”

As the second largest rain forest in the world after the Amazon, the Congo Basin faces a myriad of challenges ranging from deforestation, illegal logging and wildlife trafficking to climate change. InfoCongo is designed to raise awareness and improve public understanding on these issues. In addition to bringing a new approach to collecting, analysing and disseminating environmental data coming out of the Congo Basin, the site’s approach of using networked journalism is able to syndicate content into a single space and provide greater visibility to stories from local media and development organisations.

InfoCongo is part of a series of interactive web platforms initiated by EJN to strengthen environmental reporting around the world. Combining visually compelling maps, data, and stories from local reporters, InfoCongo intends to spotlight emerging challenges facing the Congo Basin.

“InfoCongo can serve as an important addition to the region’s and the world’s understanding of Central Africa,” adds Gustavo Faleiros, EJN Manager and the founder of InfoAmazonia. “When combined with our existing GeoJournalism sites in the Amazon, Indonesia, the Himalayas, and upcoming sites in the Mekong region and elsewhere, we will have an unprecedented ability to monitor environmental change in the Global South.”

InfoCongo is operated by Internews’ Earth Journalism Network, and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through NASA and the University of Maryland. Top government officials from the DRC, leading civil society organisations working on the Congo Basin and select local and international media based in Kinshasa are expected at the launch ceremony.

InfoCongo is built on the principle of collaboration, partnership and participation. Do you know of any stories, maps, data or any other information that is not on InfoCongo? Please let us know (contact@infocongo.org).

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