Laura Grant is a data journalist with 20 years of experience in the South African media as a journalist, copy editor and designer. She likes to collect and play with data sets to tease out the stories hidden in them. She combines infographics, interactive maps and a variety of other visual elements with journalistic storytelling to make data accessible and interesting. Before joining the Media Hack Collective, Laura was associate editor: digital and data projects at the Mail & Guardian. She wrote data-driven stories and produced interactive graphics and maps for both the print and online platforms. She conceptualised, designed and managed the production of the M&G’s iPad edition. She also experimented with and introduced innovative digital storytelling techniques, such as immersive long-form features, to the newsroom. Before that she was the chief sub-editor of the M&G’s print edition. Laura has a BA in journalism and media studies, a BA Hons in psychology and a postgraduate diploma in environmental management and tourism development.
Alastair Otter has more than 20 years of journalism experience spanning both print and digital publications, and has more than 10 years of experience as a developer focused on producing media-related online products. Alastair started his career in print media working for a number of titles, including The Star and Business Report, before moving into digital media. In the early 2000s he launched his own online specialist publication, Tectonic, which covered the emerging world of open source software, and wrote for online technology publications such as ITWeb and MyBroadband. Prior to joining the Media Hack Collective, Alastair was the editor and later head of editorial innovation at Independent Online, one of Africa’s largest online news sites. At Media Hack, Alastair’s specialities are data visualisation and the development of online media products.
Tanya Pampalone has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and editor for print and digital news media and book publishing groups in Johannesburg, San Francisco, Prague and Los Angeles. She currently edits non-fiction books both independently and for publishers such as Pan Macmillan South Africa, is a contributing writer to US News & World Report and has taught journalism at the University of the Witwatersrand and at the Sol Plaatje Institute at Rhodes University. Her special interests are in the future of journalism, narrative and enterprise journalism and creative non-fiction. As the executive editor of the Mail & Guardian, Tanya oversaw longform journalism across platforms and edited all special editions, as well as the group’s flagships, 200 Young South Africans and the Book of South African Women. In 2012, Tanya won South Africa’s top journalism award for creative writing, the Standard Bank Sikuvile. In 2013, she was awarded the Menell Media Fellowship at the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy at Duke University and served, from 2014-2016, as the editorial director for Duke’s Menell Media Exchange, an annual conference held in Johannesburg. Tanya holds a BA in journalism and a MFA in writing from the University of San Francisco. Examples of some of her work can be found on tanyapampalone.com.