This is a selection of stories on road safety in Uganda written and produced by some of the journalists that participated in ACME’s fellowship on covering road safety in 2021 and 2022. ACME conducted the fellowship as part of an 18-month project delivered in partnership with the Global Road Safety Partnership.
The stories were examined and scored according to the following criteria: sourcing; data use; background and context; framing; human interest; general understanding of story; clarity; appropriate language use; and evaluation of key behavioural risk factors, i.e., speed, drink- driving, seatbelt-use, and crash-helmet use.
A number of these stories are of the enterprise type, where the journalists conceptualised a story idea, and developed it by assembling facts and considering different perspectives. They did not depend entirely on news occurrences, press releases or conferences, but they explored the forces that shape certain happenings, events, and trends in road safety. The stories are either explanatory, backgrounder, educational or representative of those whose voices are hardly heard.
The stories also show good use of relevant data, including police annual crime reports with reference to road safety, national health statistics, and data from international agencies. This allowed for the identification of trends than would otherwise have been possible. The story titled ‘750 Ugandans killed every year between 6 pm and 8 pm,’ is a case in point.
The stories that made it to the top also provide background and context to help the audience understand where the story is coming from. Stories such as ‘Road crashes kill people more than Covid-19’ and ‘Seat belts save lives’ illustrate the importance of context and background, which enable the audience to relate to issues under discussion. Writers of the best stories also framed the issues in such a way that they advocated policy action.
Such framing brings out stories about the plight of people with disabilities on the roads. In the same vein, voices of amputees of road crashes that feel abandoned are amplified to seek government intervention in the story titled ‘We are abandoned, say accident amputees.’
Several journalists wrote human interest stories which, combined with other elements of good writing, tell powerful and moving tales of what crash victims go through. ‘Will Hussein walk again?’ and ‘Amputees self-networking’ are stories of both sadness and resilience against all odds. But these human interest angles in stories also point to human efforts and advances in sustaining life after crash disasters.