Nukta Habari: an online news portal in Tanzania that improve people’s live by humanising data

By Tulinagwe Malopa.

Looking back for the past two years it was still a nightmare whether Nukta Habari could have existed and survive in the media industry as it is today. It was an idea that mainly came up with the aim of changing the media industry through effective use of digital tools and data in telling stories that impact people’s lives.

Today Nukta Habari, which covers technology, education, business, tourism and data content, has emerged as one of the trusted and innovative analytical Swahili news portal in Tanzania.

It has managed to increase its audience by 1,300% in a year through content that are impact based content to its general audience. Photo credits | Nukta.

For them, online analysed data stories with human face will help readers make decisions by using facts and experts advice featured in stories.

Despite its newness, Nukta has managed to increase its audience by 1,300% or by 14 times in a year despite covering what is perceived to be hard news for the youth.

Unlike the past where blogs and other news portals in Tanzania were criticised for copy pasting content from newspapers, Nukta has changed the narrative where at least newspapers are now copying our analysis and visuals for publication.

Nukta is also a learning platform for the team to develop their skills and deliver what is suitable for the targeted audience. New storytelling skills and open source tools are tested here before trainers go out to train other journalists. The platform is used to find customised solutions for local online news platforms especially on content development.

Such transformative objectives are what encourages the editorial team to keep pushing for production of creative content everyday for free everyday.

“Nukta is a perfect learning platform. It has helped me alot in acquiring media skills and has contributed to my career growth,” Daniel Samson, Online Content Editor of Nukta Habari said.

To ensure the future generation acquire best digital and data journalism skills, graduates have been given opportunities to learn and showcase their talents.

As young journalists who are contributing to the platform, also they are happy too on how they learn and given the ground to experiment new storytelling techniques and show their journalism skills while working at Nukta.

“As a content writer from Nukta Habari, what excites me every morning is the way I brainstorm new ideas to write what brings impact to the readers that I write for. Nukta gives me a huge platform to show my ability,” Rodgers George, a digital journalist at Nukta Habari said.

George has been keen on experimenting new styles of storytelling by using explainer videos.

Though it has just two years in the market, Nukta journey has never been easy. The platform still builds its audience to ensure that the analytical news it publishes reaches many people like other online news portals which publish sports or gossip.

Sources and readers are happy that now there is a serious online news portal which services the youth while maintaining high standards of journalism.

“Their style is different and new. But they need more marketing and probably creativity for Nukta to be well known out there,” Kennedy Mmari the Founder and visionary leader of a communication agency, Serengeti Bytes said.

Most sources say Nukta Habari has helped them spread their views as well as boosting their businesses like Fatuma Mbaga.

Fatuma, an entrepreneur, said a story published by the platform brought impact to her business and she was not expecting Nukta would have that influence.

She said the story was detailed and well balanced and no one has ever reported about her agribusiness initiative before.

“The questions I was asked are unique compared to those i have been asked about before.

“I can tell the creativity of Nukta from the stories reported about my business, I still encourage the team to market themselves by the perfect stories they publish,” Fatuma said.

The editorial team at Nukta Habari are looking for more techniques and tools to produce high quality news that will help the portal increase its audience as well as revenues.

“As a content editor and journalist at Nukta, I’m planning to use my skills and experience of using digital tools for storytelling. This will help us meet the audience’s desire,” Samson said promising more quality content in future.

To achieve quality content production, Samson said he is determined to ensure the editorial team is adhering to the journalistic standards while writing and disseminating news that help improve people’s lives.

“My plans are to learn more digital tools that will help me make unique content. I nee d to write to the extent that someone doesn’t need to see a logo or any identification to know he/she is reading Nukta by the sense of uniqueness in the content,” George said.

To ensure they attract more audience and offer impactful content, Nukta Africa, which owns Nukta Habari, is planning to launch a new website soon that will be more interactive, up to date and reach in content.

Nuzulack Dausen the CEO and Executive Editor of Nukta Africa, said the new website has been improved both technologically and content wise.

From the content side, he said they will cover more special reports or in-depth news and updated weather forecasts and market data that answer the “So What” question to the readers.

The stories, according to him, will exhaust data to help readers understand issues in a bigger picture.

“We will have more updated weather and market data in a special page in Swahili to build a data-driven nation. Individuals such as farmers and companies will be having opportunities to get these data for decision making,” said Dausen, who is an award-winning data journalist.

From the technological point of view Dausen said the new website has been built to cater the needs of the mobile first generation.

The new website has been built to cater the needs of the mobile first generation. Photo credits| Jonah Pettrich -Unsplash

“We want our audience to enjoy quality content in a mobile friendly platform. Our apps will later be available in Android, and iOS,” Dausen said without giving details on when the apps will be rolled out.

The new website will be launched in April 2020 where agriculture will be among the top topics to be covered.

The team believes the improved website in technology and content will enable Nukta increase its audience share while producing quality data-driven content.

Nukta Africa is an African digital media and technology company that specialises in training and development of digital and data-driven news stories and tools.