Tell me baby, what's your story?
Everyone has a story to tell, but not everyone has caught up with the way that storytelling has evolved, as we move into the digital age.
Here at Codebridge, we have a bunch of techies and journalists, with strong activist ideals and each day, we attempt to bridge the gap between different sectors, organisations and social issues. Using the variety of skills we’re surrounded by, we create tools, analyse data, investigate issues and turn these into stories.
The Codebridge movement aims to work with and engage the communities around us – in both a physical and philosophical sense – by trying to affect change. And so, from underneath a literal bridge and from deep within the heart of online communication, Re-imagine Storytelling came to be.
The initiative, supported by a variety of organisations that are trying to do some of the same things we are, brings together elements of journalism, technology, data and activism. Naturally, we thought, this is what innovative storytelling is all about.
Over the past two weeks, we have launched the challenge at our Cape Town and Durban hubs and in the social media and digital space. Not only has interest been sparked from all over, but also by a huge variety of people: young, old, experienced, newbies, journalists, community activists, artists, documentarians, environmental scientists, concerned citizens and playwrights.
We kicked off in Cape Town where a group of nearly 40 people gathered to get to know one another really, really well. Our resident “wrangler of things”, Jen, introduced just about everyone there to the joys of speed-geeking. For many of us, it was the first time we’d ever been at an event where we got to interact with every single person. We swapped stories about storytelling, debated the country’s most controversial of topics and met people who we otherwise probably wouldn’t even bump into on the street.
In Durban, we saw a variety of industries in the room, from scientists, to people in local government, and everyone had some idea of a story they want to share, to bring about social awareness and change. The night started with a briefing of the challenge, followed by a short presentation of past stories that grew from just reporting about an issue to using data and technology to provide a solution to the problem. This was accompanied by some great networking, where those with vague or no ideas managed to find a story where they could contribute and use their skills to assist.
Of course, there’s everything that being part of this experience comes with: The chance to win a grand prize of R20,000, a small pot of financial assistance to make the stories happen and all of the resources we have access to – editorial experts, a drone pilot, app developers and designers, and an innovative space to plot, plan and create,.
The atmospheres at both launches were electric and filled with the passion for storytelling and collaborating.
Some ideas are already submitted and others that are still to come range from improving the public transport system to addressing issues about education. Potential challengers have come up with an array of ideas about how to tell their stories, using video, photography, mapping, educational seminars, app development, community-based campaigns and website building.
In case you missed the part about where we told you how the challenge works, here are the details:
- Teams of two or more submit their story ideas online
- In conjunction with this, teams must create a project on the Codebridge HackDash board, using #CBStoryChallenge as part of the title
- Eight teams and their projects will be chosen to compete (these are the “challengers”) for the grand prize
- All challengers will have to attend workshops, training and planning sessions in either Cape Town or Durban (Saturday 1 October)
- Challengers will have access to a multitude of resources (as mentioned above) and will be guided through the entire planning, reporting and packaging process.
- If there’s something they aren’t sure of, there’s a discussion forum where they can ask for advice, or source resources and assistance for skills lacking in the team, like data visualisation, photography, videography, web design or whatever you may need.
- An expert panel of judges will decide on the winning team and their project – and their decision, of course, will be final
- Beyond the challenge itself, teams will be encouraged to get their stories published in the media!
The deadline for submissions is 23:55 next Tuesday, 20 September. Once again, if you’re unsure about the details or if you want to get involved but don’t know how, get in touch with us via the discussion forum.
Oh and last but definitely not least, a very big thanks to our partners and donors in this initiative, Making All Voices Count: A Grand Challenge for Development, Hacks/Hackers – Africa, Code for Africa and Code for South Africa.