Breathing new life into population reporting

Covering population issues is no easy feat. Population topics are broad, complex and intricate. With World Population Day just around the corner, we have an opportunity to re-evaluate our approach to reporting on this vital subject assess how we can better inform and engage audiences. So this week, ACME Mwalimu provides tips to revitalise your coverage and a list of story ideas you can add to your story basket.

Tips for engaging population stories

Reporting on population matters does not have to be mundane or lacklustre. It holds the potential to captivate audiences and initiate thought-provoking discussions. With the right approach, you can transform your reporting into compelling stories that ignite interest and resonate with readers.

  1. Find the “hook”:

Straightforward demographic data may not be enough to capture the interest of your audience. Look for compelling angles, human stories or local situations that can serve as hooks to engage people. Connect population trends and projections to issues that resonate with everyday life, such as healthcare, education, employment, or environmental challenges.

  1. Tell compelling stories:

Package population information in the form of engaging news stories. Use narratives, case studies and personal experiences to humanise data and convey its relevance to audiences. Highlight the impact of population dynamics on individuals, communities, and societies, emphasising the human aspect of the issue.

  1. Seize opportunities for storytelling:

Capitalising on significant events or milestones can generate interest in population-related stories. Frame the population issue within the broader context of historical trends, societal changes and future projections.

  1. Context and relevance matter:

Provide the necessary context and background information to help people understand the broader implications of population trends. Emphasise the interconnectedness between population dynamics and other pressing issues. Provide data-driven insights that can inform audience understanding, decision-making and policy discussions.

  1. Explore new storytelling formats:

Experiment with innovative storytelling techniques to capture the attention of your audience. Consider using multimedia elements such as videos, infographics, interactive maps, or data visualisations to present population data in a visually compelling and easily digestible format. Collaborate with designers and multimedia specialists to create engaging and interactive content.

  1. Highlight solutions and success stories:

Move beyond highlighting challenges and obstacles and showcase innovative solutions and success stories related to population issues. Feature initiatives, policies or programmes that have effectively addressed population challenges or achieved positive outcomes. Celebrate the efforts of individuals, organisations or communities working towards sustainable population management and improving people’s lives.

Population story ideas

When it comes to population reporting, the possibilities for new storytelling are endless. This is just a short list to inspire you to uncover the captivating narratives hidden within the population landscape.

Fertility rates and family size:

  • Investigate the role of cultural norms, beliefs and traditions in shaping fertility preferences and family size. Analyse the shift in attitudes towards family size among rural populations or different religious groups
  • Examine the availability, accessibility, and quality of family planning services in Uganda. Highlight successful initiatives and policies that have improved access to family planning and their impact on fertility rates and population dynamics.
  • Interview young people to understand their perspectives on fertility, family planning and desired family sizes. Explore how societal expectations, education, aspirations, and access to information shape their attitudes towards reproductive choices.

Teenage pregnancy:

  • Investigate the various factors that contribute to teenage pregnancy and analyse how these factors intersect and lead to vulnerabilities among teenage girls.
  • Explore the long-term consequences faced by teenage mothers in Uganda, including the psychological effects and the impact on their future financial and socioeconomic capacity.
  • Share the stories of teenage mothers who have overcome challenges and are working towards a better future.
  • Compare teenage pregnancy rates in your country with other countries in Africa and globally. Analyse the factors contributing to variations in rates and explore successful strategies implemented in other countries to tackle the issue.

Feeding a growing population:

  • Explore innovative approaches and solutions to ensure sustainable food systems for the growing population. Investigate technologies and practices that optimize resource use, reduce environmental impact and increase food production.
  • Analyse the trade-offs and synergies between food production and ecosystem conservation. Explore the potential for integrating biodiversity conservation into agricultural landscapes and the benefits of preserving natural ecosystems for long-term food security.
  • Explore the role of consumer behaviour and dietary choices in shaping sustainable food systems. Investigate the environmental impacts of different diets and the potential for shifting consumer preferences towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly food choices.

The demographic dividend:

  • Investigate the role of education in unlocking the demographic dividend. Explore initiatives aimed at improving access to quality education for all, especially for young people, to equip them with the skills needed for future employment and economic growth.
  • Examine the strategies and policies implemented to stimulate job creation and economic growth. Analyse sectors with high potential for employment generation and explore innovative approaches to sustainable economic development. Investigate the challenges and solutions related to youth unemployment.
  • Explore the potential benefits and challenges the country may face in realising its demographic dividend.

Information sources

Remember to critically evaluate the credibility and reliability of sources and cross-reference information. Utilise a wide range of information sources to gather data, insights and perspectives. Here is a list of potential sources, some specific to Uganda, for you to consider:

Government agencies:

  • Uganda Bureau of Statistics
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development
  • Ministry of Education and Sports
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries

Non-Governmental Organisations

  • Reproductive Health Uganda
  • Marie Stopes Uganda
  • Reach A Hand Uganda
  • Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum
  • Save the Children Uganda
  • ActionAid Uganda

Research institutes and think tanks

  • Population Studies and Research Institute, Makerere University
  • Economic Policy Research Centre, Uganda
  • African Population and Health Research Centre
  • Institute of Development Studies, Uganda
  • Uganda National Academy of Sciences

International organisations:

  • United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
  • World Health Organisation
  • World Bank
  • United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
  • International Planned Parenthood Federation
  • Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)

Academic journals and publications

  • African Journal of Reproductive Health
  • International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
  • Population and Development Review
  • The Lancet Global Health
  • Journal of Population Economics

Reports and publications

  • World Population Prospects (United Nations)
  • Uganda Demographic and Health Surveys (UBOS, USAID)
  • State of Uganda Population Report (UBOS, UNFPA)
  • Uganda State of the Environment Report (National Environment Management Authority)
  • Global Hunger Index (International Food Policy Research Institute)
  • World Development Indicators (World Bank)


ACME Mwalimu

The African Centre for Media Excellence's training unit, known as ACME Mwalimu, scours news platforms and online resources to curate the best training tips and resources for journalists and media organisations, empowering them to become impactful contributors to public debate and development. If you have a training tip or question, you can reach out to ACME Mwalimu at training[at]

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