By: Okethcwinyu Harrison



Crowdsourcing is the process of getting work or funding, usually online, from a crowd of people. The word is a combination of the words ‘crowd’ and ‘outsourcing’. The idea is to take work and outsource it to a crowd of workers. Journalism crowdsourcing is the act of specifically inviting a group of people to participate in a reporting task such as newsgathering, data collection, or analysis—through a targeted, open call for input; personal experiences; documents; or other contributions.

  • Facebook: facebook is a social platform that is available to almost everyone and easy to use by anyone. By the first quarter of 2016, facebook had 1.65 billion users around the globe. Facebook has its users spread out almost all around the world. Radios, television, publications and any form of media use facebook to post and crowdsource from people who have liked their pages and friends of those who like their pages. Facebook has been important in people contributing to breaking and developing news stories. Examples are places hit by catastrophe like earthquake or mudslide. Media houses post to people to provide new angles, new updates and any other thing related to the event. This is because these people are at the exact place where the event is unfolding and are capable of providing current and credible information in time as the media house arranges to get their reporters to go there. The credibility is in the fact that they can take photos and post. This leads to collective gathering and reporting of news.


  • Emails: Email is a formal way of communication between people and especially between people and offices. It is mostly for formal communication. Media houses gather their readers’, viewers’, listeners’ emails through requesting for them or when they subscribe for their products. Media houses keep these email addresses in their directories. Publications also include their emails while television stations display their email on the screen. Media houses crowdsource using email especially when they need personal accounts from people and need to keep it a little private until published. This includes crowdsourcing on life challenges, love stories, life experiences or any touching story. Media houses could ask people to share with them what they have gone through or what they know. This helps in collective generation of content.


  • LinkedIn: This has been in existence but it has recently undergone a site redesign and some new functionality was added. Media houses can post a question to LinkedIn and tap the wisdom of the site’s millions of users. LinkedIn is a formal platform that harbors people with skills and expertise in different fields of knowledge that the world requires. This means media houses can use it to tap specialized expertise when the media has a knowledge gap that is hard to feel with standard reporting techniques. Media houses also use LinkedIn when they need expertise knowledge on things they are writing or reporting or are interested in covering. This can range from mechanics or rare unique species of things to any other complicated thing. A critical latest example was when the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) landed massive troves of leaked documents that were too big for one news organization to analyze alone, they tapped members around the world to leverage their knowledge of local individuals and entities whose names appeared in the data.


  • SMS or Text messages: this is also a common platform for crowdsourcing since many people around the world have phones, they are easy to use and cheap. It is among the most used. One way it is used is in conducting opinion polls. Media houses can have a list of things they want to cover but might need its readers, viewer’s or listener’s views on what to prioritize and cover first. Daily monitor and other publications in Uganda plus television stations also ask poll questions to know their reader’s or viewer’s stand point on certain issues of concern. The most common is when they ask to respond with a ‘Yes’ or No’ and they give instructions like type ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ and send to 8008. At times these text message services are free of charge to enable people participate.


  • Quora: Quora is a new crowdsourcing site that harnesses the people in your social networks as well as others. It is a question-and-answer website where questions are asked, answered, edited and organized by its community of users. The firm was founded in June 2009, and the website was made available to the public on June 21, 2010. Quora aggregates questions and answers to topics. Users can collaborate by editing questions and suggesting edits to other users’ answers. You ask questions to the group and members answer. But the neat thing about Quora is that all of the questions and answers are then put into categories and archived, so that the conversations become a body of content that can later be researched and reused.


  • Aardvark: Aardvark is a social search engine, where you can post questions to the people in your social network (and the people in your friends’ networks). Aardvark uses a series of algorithms to determine the best person to answer your question, and relays your query. Within minutes, you’ll get an answer. Aardvark impressed researchers and search companies so much that it was acquired by Google for $50 million in 2011. Users submitted questions via the Aardvark website, email or instant messenger and Aardvark identified and facilitated a live chat or email conversation with one or more topic experts in the asker’s extended social network. Aardvark was used for asking subjective questions for which human judgment or recommendation was desired. It was also used extensively for technical support questions. Users could also review question and answer history and other settings on the Aardvark website.


The writer is a final year student of Journalism and Communication at Makerere Unversity.




Digital Revolution

Digital Revolution

By: Okethcwinyu Harrison

The Digital Revolution, known as the Third Industrial Revolution, is the change from mechanical and analogue electronic technology to digital electronics which began anywhere from the late 1950s to the late 1970s with the adoption and proliferation of digital computers and digital record keeping that continues to the present day. Implicitly, the term also refers to the sweeping changes brought about by digital computing and communication technology. The Digital Revolution marked the beginning of the Information Age.

  • The Digital Revolution has improved research and sourcing. With the coming in of great search engines like bling, yahoo and Google among others, digital revolution has made available a great deal of resources and information that is used by journalists. For example, when doing health and fitness story, journalists can just Google it out and get all the information he needs. When looking for statistics for example about number of boda-boda cyclists in Uganda, one can just find it online instead of running around, going to the KCCA office to find out the figures. This explains why it is easy to get information on critical things that would’ve been hard to find had it not been for the digital revolution. This has also widened coverage to cover international news like sports that can be found on YouTube and DSTV satellite technologies.


  • The Digital Revolution has also enabled two way information in the form of enabling feedback. With the Digital Revolution, it is no longer a one way form of communication say from radio to recipient but has become a two-way communication system from say, radio to listener and listener. Before the digital revolution, forms of communication were letters, donkeys, doves, radio, and analogue television among others which could never enable timely response. These days, listeners, viewers and readers use Facebook, tweeter, whatsup, email and other forms to give information to media houses. These feedback help in conducting opinion polls, feeding media houses with information and informing media houses on where to improve. This has also enabled journalists to follow the fairness principle where they give each voice to each side in a story. This is more possible with the digital revolution where media houses call sources for their views.


  • The Digital Revolution has also increased and eased distribution and coverage. In the past before the digital revolution, before the internet, computers and satellite, media coverage was confined to nearby areas to the media house. With the digital revolution, there has come globalization. Local events are shaped by things happening on another planet. Media houses own stations and publications that are read and received across the world. This in one way has increased the amount of papers in circulation for publications hence higher and increased sales. Local and international media also get big advertisers both which contribute to their finances and are able to survive. For newspapers, the digital revolution has increased readership while for television, their viewership has also increased. Even for radio, digital revolution has brought about live streaming and podcasts. Also, journalists are now entitled to international recognition and awards hence a great motivation for them.


  • The Digital Revolution has also enabled citizen journalism. Before the digital revolution, there mostly existed radio, television and publications. Starting up these ventures requires huge amounts of capital that a single individual can hardly accumulate yet every individual has information or news to share. With the digital revolution social media like Facebook, whatsup and twitter are available at users’ disposal and are easy to use. With them individuals can break news, share important information and give tips. This has helped to provide content for media houses and made them never run out of content. This has also helped the media to get accurate information when affected people retort through social media to clarify things. An example is Stella Nyanzi who gives the media news and clarifies things through social media. The same applies to Dr. Kizza Besigye. Another example is the NTV Go app that enables viewers to publish their own news and get it at times shown on tv.


  • The Digital Revolution has also brought about powerful computers and provided exponentially increasing storage platforms. These include computers, flash disks, external hard disks, phone memory, memory cards, among others.  This has provided archives for the media. It is important for the media to store their content for quite some time. There is even a provision in the laws of Uganda that requires media houses to for example radio and television to keep their recordings and for publications to also keep their papers. Without the digital revolution, this wouldn’t be possible. These computers and storage devices have also provided the ability to access, modify, store and share digital media in the hands of billions of people and the media. This has improved journalism in that media can refer back to. An example is NTV that use their archive files to add explanations to their current events and breaking news story. This helps to add background information to a current event or happening.

The writer is a final year student of Journalism and Communication at Makerere University.


Daily Monitor logo

Daily Monitor Logo

By: Okethcwinyu Harrison

Daily monitor lives up to the design and content principles through the following ways:

  • Daily Monitor provides content that is relevant, engaging and appropriate for the audience, ensuring the site meets users’ needs. Daily Monitor is a publications website with hard copy content production as well. Therefore, Daily Monitor is known to be a provider of useful news and information to its users like it does in its print outs. Their website lives up to the content principles by doing exactly what its known to do; providing useful news and information. When on the Daily Monitor website, you don’t find irrelevant information that is unrelated to their website; like videos that do not connect or relate or provide useful information. Daily monitor also being a private publication is known to advertise to make its money. We find this on their website as well. Unlike other websites that are congested with other irrelevant adverts, Daily Monitor advertises only for its clients that the reader know and can identify with.


  • Daily Monitor is well organized: Provides users with a clear and consistent conceptual structure this manifests in its consistency, layout and navigability. This simplifies their website and makes it easy to use by its visitors. Daily Monitor is organized in such a way that its contents fall in their right places. Stories or news are grouped and classified according to where they belong. The groups on their website include editor’s choice, latest news, magazines and other features, commentary, business, sports and other features. This group makes their website easily usable since it directs users to where they want to be and what they want. If one wants magazines and other feature, he just clicks on it and it takes him to all the news or information that falls under that category.


  • Daily Monitor also economizes its interface to the best level they can. They make sure a page has enough to offer its readers. In other words they do the most with the least amount of cues and visual elements. Under simplicity, they include only what’s important and worth publishing to appear on their website. When you read their hard copies, you’ll find the have included everything that got published that day but when you visit their website, you’ll find they have economized and less important things are not included. Also, they use ‘Read more’ tag to take readers to read the whole story. They don’t include the whole story but just put the most important first few lines to give the reader a cue. Also, they outline their stories in the form of links that when clicked on, takes you to the whole story. For example, under latest news you find latest news headings like for 19th May 2016 they have Oulanya defeats Nsereko to post of Deputy Speaker, Former ADF rebels decry government neglect. This economizes their space and they are able to maximize it and get the most out of it.


  • Daily Monitor website is easily accessible and gives their users full control. This is great because users want to have control over their browser and they want to rely on consistent data presentation throughout the site. When on their site, new windows don’t just pop up anyhow to inconvenience the user. When you click on a link, it opens in the same tab. A new tab doesn’t open. This makes their website easily usable since users can get back to the previous site they’ve been on before without having to go back to the previous different browser. Also, Daily Monitor doesn’t have strict requirements for one to access their site. By this I mean, when you enter their site name in the url, it opens right away without requiring the user to put in certain details like other website would.


  • Daily Monitor also manages to focus users’ attention. They do this through the attributes of distinctiveness and emphasis. The important properties of the necessary elements are easily distinguishable. Under this, the headings of each story stands out and can be seen clearly and more vividly than the subsequent parts. Their stories’ headings are in red colors and in bigger fonts to attract attention and make them distinct. Under emphasis, at the top of their site is ‘Daily Monitor’ in biggest font and red color to show and remind the reader he’s on the Daily Monitor’s official website. When it comes to the body of their stories, they apply short and concise phrases and plain and objective language. This aids the research that users don’t read but scan. Such a well-organized structure of layout makes Daily Monitor live up the principle of principles of website usability.

The writer is a final year student of Journalism at Makerere University.