The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) has announced the launch of a local elections training and reporting portal for journalists. The aim is to assist journalists with online training and reporting resources in the run-up to the local elections, scheduled for 27 October this year.
The Sanef 2021 municipal elections portal provides newsrooms with information that they can use in planning their election coverage, training manuals, a local government data dashboard and other reporting tools.
The portal builds on the online resources for the national and provincial elections in 2019. Sanef and partners provided election training to hundreds of journalists around the country, backed up by an online election handbook and election updates during this time.
The 2021 portal
The expanded 2021 portal features newsroom manuals and training materials for a series of local government and election coverage webinars. These webinars are to be held from the end July on topics which will include how municipal elections work, the role of the media during elections, electoral disinformation, the safety of journalists on- and offline and municipal finances.
A new addition to the election portal is a data dashboard which provides journalists with detailed information on municipal demographics and finances. This is in an effort to assist them when they do stories on municipal performance and service delivery in the run-up to the elections.
Additional electoral datasets will be added to the dashboard when released by the IEC and will include information on registration levels for each municipality as well as the parties and candidates contesting ward and proportional representation seats.
The portal also provides newsrooms with information on a range of election initiatives and reporting resources, from projects to counter disinformation to service delivery levels in municipalities.
On the safety of journalists during the election period, the portal contains a quick guide for journalists on the best ways to report online and other harassment directly to the police, the SA Human Rights Commission or the IEC. Journalists will also be able to submit requests to Sanef for support with complaints.
To access the portal, go here