Wednesday, 30 March 2011

An early morning run to try and stir exhausted limbs, routing past the new carriageway and people waking in houses, past the rows of plants in the roadside shops and past the rockhard football pitch, later to be filled by dedicated groups of players training in the intense midday heat. Plenty of buildings springing up near the airport, double propeller iron beasts roaring low overhead, workers gradually turning concrete shells into offices, hotels and housing complexes.

The first production meeting of the day at the radio station office raised some controversy over our role, some journalists understandably uncomfortable about our filming. Rational discussion resolved the debate and talk turned to matters more important – reports coming in from Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea and Nigeria.

Training sessions were laden with more questions than answers as an unfinished system inevitable intrigued more than it satisfied, but the journalists all took to the new way of managing content and workflows with positivity and understanding – the understanding of the potential for a story to spread far and wide far outweighed any reluctance to take on extra work with metadata addition and content augmentation in the form of pictures, sounds and videos.

At lunch we spoke to two journalists, one Gambian, one French, and spoke about the unique nature of making news in Senegal, West Africa's supposed model of democracy. Quantity not quality seems to be a prevailing motif of the Senegalese press, with questionable journalists' motivations an interesting byproduct of a press that can be described – in the main – as free, especially in relation to the country's neighbours. The lack of public information and data makes it hard to establish provenance – it was suggested this is sometimes an excuse for spurious stories.

The rest of the day was spent triaging, planning and fixing with a grand overarching plan set out for getting the new website online and getting the final documentation captured. Night fell in seconds and sleep before midnight, following more amazing food, was very welcome.

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