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Issue #4   Oct 2019
It's been a busy two months for Media Hack. We visited three countries, where we gave workshops and presentations to journalists about using data and visualisations in their stories, but now we're back, and the focus of this data@mediahack newsletter is climate change.

Alastair has made a new visualisation: It's getting hot in here contains 100 years of average global temperatures, from January 1920 to July 2019, and it shows that every month this year has been close to 1°C hotter than the average for the 20th century.

Here in South Africa, water is probably the most noticeable way changes in climate affect us - remember when the Theewaterskloof Dam that supplies water to Cape Town nearly dried up? It may have filled up again, but that's no excuse to be complacent. This week, the Vaal Dam, which supplies water to Gauteng, the country's economic engine, was down to below 55% full. We're working on a new dam levels visualisation that keeps track of the state of more than 200 South African dams. We'll announce that on Twitter as soon as it is ready so click on our names below to follow us on Twitter if you haven't already.

If you enjoy this newsletter please forward it to a friend.

Laura & Alastair


100 years of global temperatures

In 2016, 196 countries agreed in Paris to limit increases in global average temperatures to 1.5°C higher than they were before the industrial revolution, or 2°C at the most. Nasa outlines what could happen if people allow global temperatures to rise by 2°C on their Global Climate Change website, and why we should care. To see how the world's average temperatures have changed month-by-month since 1920 we created a new visualisation. Click on the image below to view the full interactive version)

Counting every drop

It wasn't that long ago that Cape Town was all over the news because of its water crisis, but it isn't the only South African town to experience water shortages recently, there's also Makhanda and Beaufort West, to name just two. The good news is that Theewaterskloof Dam is 72% full this week – the satellite images below show how water levels changed from September 2016 to August 2019.

The not-so-good news is that the Vaal Dam has dipped to 55% – thanks to maintenance work being done on the Lesotho Highlands Water Project infrastructure, which media reports say will continue until November. Media Hack produced a visual story, South Africa's Water Challenge, about the country's water infrastructure and the catchment areas for the major dams a couple of years ago. You can read it here.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

To end off this environment-themed newsletter, we'd like to urge you to start taking steps to reduce your impact on the planet. If you're not already recycling, we created a beginner's guide to recycling in South Africa to help you get started. You can download a free copy of the Treevolution Beginner's Guide to Recycling in South Africa here.

Get Aweh
If you want to find out more about climate change, check out our fellow media startup Politically Aweh's brilliant series on YouTube

Come and say hi

We're going to be at the African Investigative Journalism Conference talking about data visualisation from 28 to 30 October, so if you're there, come and say hi. We'd love to meet you.

If you got this far, thank you. 

If you have any comments, suggestions or criticisms please let us know by emailing us on We'd love to hear from you. And please forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues that may be interested and encourage them to subscribe.
Copyright © 2019 Media Hack Collective, All rights reserved.

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