I was asked point blank about a month ago: "what can be done to improve investigative journalism in Tanzania?" and I was surprised into answering that "I have no idea." This has been eating away at me for weeks. I wondered if I had inadvertently implied that this couldn't be done at all. Which isn't the case.
I spent years chained to a desk absorbing reams of newspaper, sifting through to find gold nuggets of solid work. Not to mention getting involved in scheme after training scheme with exactly this in mind: raising the quality of journalism in Tanzania. All of which resulted in my first white hair popping out before the age of thirty- and we don't grey early in my gene pool.
But recently I did a 'little' assignment that involved assessing yet another attempt to improve the quality of journalism in TZ. Somewhat against my will, if I am honest: previous experiences were caution inducing. But it only took one hour to re-ignite my foolish passions. Would this work, I wondered. Might this one client actually transcend the limitations that the others succumbed to and make a real go of it? Several days later, the results were in: Yes.
It is possible to work towards an improvement in the quality of investigative journalism in Tanzania. But it's bitching hard work and requires the kind of commitment that separates the passionate from the trend-followers. There are a couple of organizations that I admire in this area, but then they've got the heart and 200% effort mentality that's needed. It's a tough and tricksy job, like training cats. Can be done, but it's not easy and certainly not fast...
So to go back to the beginning. What I should have said when asked "what can be done to improve investigative journalism in Tanzania?" could have been more savvy. I could have answered 'gimme your dollars and i'll guide you through the process- Consultant Style. Heeeeeey, sexy Lady!" (Ride imaginary horse for ten seconds now. Consultant Style!).