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The Outlier Team

Laura Grant

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


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.


Gemma Gatticchi

Gemma Gatticchi is a journalist and researcher at the Media Hack Collective. Most recently she has worked with Bloomberg and MHC as an intern and Africa Check as a freelance intern. Gemma completed her BA in French and Criminology at the University of Pretoria. She also holds a BA Hons in journalism and media studies from the University of the Witwatersrand. At Wits she received a Bloomberg bursary as well as the prize for the 2019 Wits Television Journalist of the Year.


Gemma Ritchie

Gemma Ritchie is a journalist who became interested in data journalism during her fellowship with the Open Society Foundation in 2019. Before joining the Media Hack Collective in 2021, she spent a year at amaBhungane, the centre for investigative journalism, where she investigated the mining industry, government employment programmes and the passenger rail industry among others. She previously worked as an online journalist at the Mail & Guardian as well as spending several months at Grocott’s Mail in Makhanda.



Tanya Pampalone

Tanya has been a journalist for more than 20 years, living and working as a writer and editor in Los Angeles, Prague, San Francisco and Johannesburg. She is currently the managing editor of the Global Investigative Journalism Network, a Washington DC- based non-profit and occasionally moonlights as a non-fiction editor for Pan Macmillan South Africa. Most recently, she was a contributing writer to US News & World Report and taught creative non-fiction and digital storytelling at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Tanya served as the executive editor of the Mail & Guardian, where she worked for six years, was the managing editor of Maverick magazine (now Daily Maverick) and head of strategic partnerships and audience development for The Conversation Africa during the start-up phase of the global group’s expansion into Africa. From 2013-2016, she was the editorial director of Duke University’s annual journalism conference in Johannesburg, the Menell Media Exchange. Tanya holds a BA in journalism from San Diego State University and an MFA in writing from the University of San Francisco. Examples of some of her work can be found on tanyapampalone.com.