Storymaker 2’s Got your back!

Storymaker 2

A journalist friend was complaining the other day how she was employed as a journalist when she first started her work. Her job was reporting the news. Then one day she was asked to be a journalist and Facebook updater. Then she became all that AND the Twitter person for her newsroom. After that she was asked to not just write stories, but take photos and do audio and video as well…

As tech innovations fly into newsrooms across the world, few organisations take time to think and plan about who will be assigned what tasks or about the training needed to make journalists proficient in using various digital media tools.

Enter Storymaker, a journalism app that has recently released version 2. I love this app! It takes one through some very simple steps of filing a video, audio or photo story, giving useful prompts of what exactly to capture at various points. It then compiles the video, audio or photo story for easy publishing to your favorite platform.

There are a number of templates to work from and you can download lessons and guides to help make you not just a better user of the app, but more aware of the elements of good journalism in general.

Right now, the app is only available for Android, but a chat with a representative of the Guardian Project, who have taken over development of Storymaker, revealed that the iOS version is on its way.

Spanish authorities lie about immigrant tragedy


Spain has two enclaves in Morocco, Ceuta and Melilla, and migrants from all over Africa regularly try to reach them, mostly by climbing the border fence that separate them from Morocco.

The border fence consists of 6.8 miles of parallel 10 feet high fences with razor-wire, regular watch posts, CCTV, spotlights, noise and movement sensors, and a road running between them for police patrols. Deaths and injuries are common and have increased since razor wire was installed.

There are more migrants now who attempt to reach a seawall that separates the Spanish territory from Morocco, as seen in this map published by El Pais:

The seawall that separates the Spanish territory from Morocco. An info graph from

The seawall that separates the Spanish territory from Morocco. An info graph from

The news

On February 6 fifteen immigrants died off the coast while trying to swim around the seawall to reach the Spanish enclave. Spanish Civil Guard, who was alerted by Moroccan security forces that the migrants were approaching, didn’t admit any responsibility in the tragedy.

Migrants who survived accused the Civil Guard of firing their weapons at them while they were in the water, rubber bullets included, which caused the panic that resulted in the tragedy. Head of Civil Guard and Spanish Government denied it and lied about the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.

Some reactions

1. NGOs released videos, pictures and interviews with surviving migrants showing that panic set in as Civil Guards began firing tear gas and rubber bullets at those attempting to swim. [Examinations by the Northern Observatory for Human Rights on some of those who died confirm that some had marks indicating they had been shot by rubber bullets. The observatory also stated that the Civil Guards did not assist the migrants or alert the rescue coastguards].

One of the survivors shows wounds caused by rubber bullet. Image was distributed by Caminando Fronteras NGO

One of the survivors shows wounds caused by rubber bullet. Image was distributed by Caminando Fronteras NGO

2. European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström immediately said on twitter that European Commissions wanted an explanation about why police fired rubber bullets in warning.

Captura de pantalla 2014-04-08 a la(s) 23.06.00

She got tons of replies, mainly from Spanish people, saying things like these:

Captura de pantalla 2014-04-08 a la(s) 23.09.36

EU has asked Spain for an independent investigation.

3. People organized themselves online and protests took place in 15 Spanish cities to condemn the death of the migrants. Placards proclaimed, “They didn’t drown, they were murdered,” “Natives or foreigners, we’re all the same”, “No one is illegal,” and “Where are the pro-lifers now?” (In reference to those who support the new restrictive Abortion Law being prepared by the Spanish government run by the Conservative Party).

Madrid protest. a picture of Jairo Vargas for

Madrid protest. a picture of Jairo Vargas for

4. Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz was forced to appear at the Parliament. He acknowledged that Civil Guard officers fired their anti-riot weapons, contradicting an earlier version.

5. Almost 200.000 people have signed a petition demanding the minister resignation because of the tragedy and manipulation carried out by state forces to cover his speech.