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Data journalism takes top prize in revamped awards

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DATA JOURNALISM

The winning team illustrates the extent to which non-traditional capabilities like programming and data visualisation are powerful tools in the hands of skilled journalists. Most significantly, it shows how data that has been available for a long time can be revisited to extract new meaning, understanding and insights in order to bring new perspective to a burning issue. Thanks to this investigation of data, through using data tools, and striking visual treatment, education activists found themselves with a powerful new resource. In the fast-emerging field of data journalism, this set of stories set a new benchmark in both the exploration and representation of buried information. The winners are Alastair Otter and Laura Grant of Media Hack.

CSI/SUSTAINABILITY

Fracking has been a major debate across South Africa in recent years as energy demands conflict with environmental protection ideals and ecotourism. Now this push for new energy sources has expanded to the ocean. Offshore exploration rights have been quietly and almost clandestinely handed to big energy interests with little attention to legal environmental safeguards. The winning entry was well researched, clear and direct, using good statistics, examples, interviews and great visuals. The winner is Julie Laurenz from Nguni TV.

PHOTOGRAPHY

This photographer captures the shocking moments when a father stripped of his dignity and hope flings his baby daughter from the roof of his illegal shack in the hope of stalling a forced eviction. Almost doll like the one-year-old baby lands safely in the arms of an anxious policeman cushioning her fall. The winner is Theodore Jephta from Die Son.

Click here to see who won the journalism awards for politics, feature/lifestyle and live reporting.

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Arts and Entertainment

Netflix to make SA series

The world leader in streaming movies has announced the first South African production to join its Originals roster.

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World leader in entertainment streaming services Netflix this week announced its first Original series in Africa, with South African series Queen Sono.

The news comes immediately in the wake of local rival Showmax announcing it’s first original drama production. In this context, it heralds a new phase in the evolution of streaming video-on-demand in South Africa.

The action-packed series follows Queen Sono, the highly trained top spy in a South African agency whose purpose is to better the lives of African citizens. While taking on her most dangerous mission yet, she must also face changing relationships in her personal life. The series will be created by Director, Kagiso Lediga and Executive producer Tamsin Andersson.

South African actress, Pearl Thusi, will star as Queen Sono, with the character having been created with her in mind. Thusi is also known for her performance in the romantic dramedy, Catching Feelings, available on Netflix.

Pearl Thusi stars as Queen Sono in Netflix’s first original series in Africa.

“We are excited to be working with Kagiso and Pearl, to bring the story of Queen Sono to life, and we expect it to be embraced by our South African users and global audiences alike.” said Erik Barmack, Vice President of International Original Series at Netflix.

“We are delighted to create this original series with Netflix, and are super excited by their undeniable ability to take this homegrown South African story to a global audience. We believe Queen Sono will kick the door open for more awesome stories from this part of the world” added the director and executive producer of the series, Kagiso Lediga.

The series is due to start production in 2019.

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Microsoft adds Chrome to Edge

Microsoft is working to build a new version of its Edge browser on the open-source version of Google Chrome, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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After 20 years of backing Internet Explorer and its underlying software technologies, Microsoft has chosen to integrate Chromium, the open source version of Google Chrome. This announcement comes just three years after launching Microsoft Edge, the refreshed version of Internet Explorer.

“We intend to adopt the Chromium open source project in the development of Microsoft Edge on the desktop to create better web compatibility for our customers and less fragmentation of the web for all web developers,” said Joe Belfiore, corporate VP at Windows, in a blog post on 6 December.

The change affects the back-end elements of the browser that run in the background to make the web pages work for the user. The shift includes scrapping Microsoft’s EdgeHTML rendering engine in favour of Chrome’s Blink.

Utilising the Blink engine will allow Microsoft to support versions of new Edge on Windows 7, 8 and 10, as well as a version for macOS. Belfiore said that the company had also started contributing to the Chromium open source project: “We’ve begun making contributions to the Chromium project to help move browsing forward on new ARM-based Windows devices.”

Microsoft’s move to Chrome has shifted the “browser wars” in favour of Google Chrome, as Opera and Edge will now both be using Chrome’s rendering engine.

“If you’re a Microsoft Edge customer, there is nothing you need to do, as the Microsoft Edge you use today isn’t changing. If you are a web developer, we invite you to join our community by installing preview builds when they’re available and staying current on our testing and contributions.” said Belfiore.

Edge’s project manager, Kyle Alden, confirmed in a Reddit thread that Chrome extensions will be compatible with the new version of Edge. It is expected to launch in a preview build in early 2019.

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