Catherine Ghiceru is a veteran investigative editor and digital strategist who manages Code for Africa’s (CfA) local open-data and civic technology laboratory in Nairobi, at Code for Kenya (CfK). The lab pulls together software engineers, data analysts and data journalists to help local watchdog media and NGOs adopt cutting-edge new technologies ranging from drones and sensors, to forensic data analysis. The lab also incubates civic startups, including the PesaCheck fact-checking initiative and the continental sensors.AFRICA citizen science initiative.
In addition to her local role, Catherine is the continental champion for CfA’s women data journalism network: WanaData. Catherine shares her insights globally as an ICFJ Knight Fellow, through its partnership with CfA. She also serves on the advisory board for the Open Society Foundation’s fiscal governance programme. Prior to joining CfA / ICFJ, Catherine was a Reuters Fellow at Oxford University, where she studied how digital innovation and disruption are changing civic media across sub-Saharan Africa.
A trail-blazing journalist, Gicheru was the founding editor-in-chief of the Star newspaper, now the third largest and fastest growing newspaper in Kenya. She also worked as a reporter and later served as the news editor and investigations editor for Africa’s second largest media conglomerate, the Nairobi-based Nation Media Group. She was the first woman to hold those top positions in the history of Kenya’s media, and was also the 1st East African woman to win a Nieman Fellowship, in 1988.
In 1992, she was awarded the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Courage in Journalism Award, and has been cited by WikiLeaks for her fearless investigation of corruption and State-sponsored violence despite treats and intimidation. Catherine is particularly passionate about peer-mentoring and gender empowerment in both the media and civic technology sectors, and regularly mentors rising stars on behalf of WAN-Ifra.