Journey through Jordan: Day 9

Day 9

students-hard-at-work-on-their-data-visualization-presentation

Elections, elections, elections! What can be said about elections?

A whole workshop worth of knowledge, apparently!

Today’s workshop focused on election coverage, journalistic tips, and data visualization and info graphic examples, to bring an election to life for viewers.

Before we got into CTV examples, the journalists and I discussed challenges we face when it comes to covering an election effectively.

I gave a few examples of remaining impartial, bribery, etc. but their examples were something else.

The situation in Jordan is obviously very different than the situation in Canada. While we all share the same goals of covering an election in a fair and just way, it isn’t always possible.

The participants explained that it can be hard to know what issues or topics to cover because there’s a lack of actual data to collect. Many of the statistics are outdated.

A number of people in Jordan never really get the chance to know the candidates, and therefore don’t bother voting. The information isn’t out there and there’s a lack of credibility, so it can be daunting to bother hitting the polls.

It was interesting to see that halfway around the world, everyone struggles with the question: will my vote matter?

After a heated discussion, it was time to get to work.

I gave the participants homework last night to poll their friends and family about something political.

Today, their task was to visualize this data that they came up with. First task: a graph. Second task: a map.

Side by side, we worked together to put what we learned yesterday to use.

Some needed more help than others, but it was an honour to be able to assist them, even in such a seemingly small way.

It was difficult, at times, to reach everyone and help each participant with their data visualizations, but luckily, they helped each other. Some even came up with new ideas in addition to what was taught in the lesson.

It really goes to show you how much they learned, when they’re able to help themselves and one another.

There were questions through interpreters, smiles when participants finally understood or grasped the concepts, and a true display of what happens when people work together and exchange knowledge.

Each participant gave a short presentation on the results of their work, and were handed a certificate for participating in the workshop.

I’ll never forget when one of the participants who seemed to have the most trouble, excitedly volunteered to present first. She was beaming from ear to ear, and proudly showed off all that she was able to accomplish.

It’s those kinds of moments that really remind me why I’m here.

It was great to hear that some were dreading having to do a presentation and discuss their work, because they weren’t sure that they could do it. It turns out, though, that practice makes perfect with anything and everything.

Some of them thanked me for their help and explained how they’ll use these tools in the future. It’s exciting to know that these lessons won’t go to waste and that I actually made an impact already.

Funnily enough, when we were finished and it came time to take a group photo, the same scenario played out in Jordan, as it would have in Canada.

Getting a group of 15 or so people together to take a photo can be difficult, to say the least. Everyone wanted to take selfies and pose in their own way, but eventually, we ended up with a great group photo.

No matter what separates us geographically and circumstantially, some things will never change!

As I reflect on my three-day workshop, I’m honoured to have participated in this experience. Teaching journalists in Jordan, though challenging in another language, was something that I’ll remember forever because as much as I taught them, what I learned is also invaluable.

It’s never an easy thing to keep pushing yourself to learn new things, but you could really tell that each participant wanted to be there. It wasn’t forced knowledge or forced information spewing from the front of a classroom. It was understanding and results.

Kaleigh

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