SAMIP Update | A podcast in isiZulu, a new feminist talk-show, and hard news made easy

From isiZulu podcasts, fundraising campaigns, webinars, tv shows and coverage of all the news of the day, here is what SAMIP participants have been up to.

Scrolla launches a mini podcast
Scrolla, a bilingual mobile-first news platform, launched its new daily mini-podcast on its isiZulu platform. Scrollacast offers a news briefing in just two minutes, read by Scrolla isiZulu translator Zuzile Ndlela. Listen here.

QW+ crowdfunding campaign shows momentum
Quote This Woman+ raised over R30,000 in just a week with its new fundraising campaign – more than half of its monthly target of R55,000. To support the campaign and help QW+ continue to expand its database of hundreds of women+ experts in 2021, donate here.

To coincide with their funding drive, Quote This Woman+ is hosting a live virtual storytelling event on Friday evening, with a panel of storytellers including sexual health expert Dr T, and MC’d by Verashni Pillay. Details and bookings here.

DM hosts podcasting superstar behind NPR’s ‘How I Built This’
Daily Maverick’s Styli Charalambous hosted a webinar with Guy Raz, from NPR’s ‘How I Built This’. Daily Maverick has hosted more than sixty webinars since the start of lock-down, but the conversation with Raz on his book about entrepreneurship and innovation brings new global prestige.

Soul City launches a new feminist show
The Soul City Institute for Social Justice in partnership with the African Women’s Development Fund has launched a feminist talk show on SABC 2. A Feminist Thing will air on the national broadcaster every Sunday at 6:30pm. simplifies news for busy people
It’s been anything but a slow news week, but The Weekly Wrap, the flagship offering of, has you covered. The last two editions tackled the US elections, the latest happenings at the Zondo Commission, and so much more. Subscribe here.

gsport alum joins young leaders programme for the Olympics
gsport for girls celebrated the selection of former reporter Valencia Seshoene to participate in the International Olympic Committee Young Leaders six-week learning sprint programme. The programme is designed to help learners understand the principles of Olympism365.

Virtual career fair gives learners a taste of the farming life (and more)
Food for Mzansi hosted a virtual agriculture career fair, a live-streamed event with exhibitors having virtual rooms with different career options beyond farming for learners all over South Africa. Access the different virtual rooms here.

CRF celebrated for innovation in Covid-19 reporting
Children’s Radio Foundation was featured in by frayintermedia for their innovative work in helping youth reporters do their work safely while reporting in and for an uncertain Covid-19 world. Read more.

SAMIP participants closing the year strong

It would be fair to say this year has been no picnic. So as another month passes, the latest highlights from in and around the South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP) take on new resonance. With all the challenges that Covid-19 threw at media organisations big and small, merely surviving was accomplishment enough. But we take extra heart in presenting these updates, at the signs that SAMIP participants are not just staying afloat, but growing. Not just thriving, but surviving.

Here are some of the month’s highlights:

Making a mark at the AIJC

This year the African Investigative Journalism Conference (AIJC) was held online, like so many other conferences that have been affected by the pandemic. Several of our participants were featured as speakers in the conference including: Quote This Woman+ founder Kathy Magrobi, Viewfinder founder and director Daneel Knoetze, Media Hack Collective co-founder Alastair Otter, and Daily Maverick publisher Styli Charalambous.

A funding campaign to amplify women’s voices

Quote This Woman+ (QW+) has just launched a crowdfunding initiative to continue and expand its work into 2021. In less than a week they’ve raised nearly R30,000 (with a target of at least R55,000 this month).

QW+ aims to disrupt the gender gap in the news media by bringing together an amazing community of women+ experts, as a resource for news organisations to diversify their sources. When the novel coronavirus hit this year, the QW+ team, redoubled its efforts, growing its database of experts to more than 350 women+ voices, covering everything from the science of Covid-19 to politics and the economy, and everything in between.

The early success of their crowdfunding drive is a testament to the incredible value QW+ has shown in its efforts to amplify women’s voices and change the narrative. Share or support the project at

Shaking up the agri-space

Food for Mzansi continues to show how the project is pulling the agri-media sector into the 21st century, and defying some old-school assumptions about what media for the farm-and-food sector should look like.

In October, the digital news outlet launched its brand-new agricultural TV series, Vir die Liefde van die Land (“For the love of the land”). The show promises a focus on the “unsung heroes” of agriculture: its first episode told the story of 73-year-old Samson Mahlaba, who spent 50 years as a labourer before he realised his dream of becoming a farmer.

A Snapchat docuseries on climate activism

Citizen journalism outlet Hashtag Our Stories premiered a new docuseries on Snapchat: First Person. Shot entirely on Spectacles smart-glasses, First Person showcases stories of young innovators fighting to save the planet. Watch it on Snapchat here.

Hashtag also premiered a new series on NBCLX, telling local stories about communities creating positive change – like these eco-designers growing furniture directly from trees.

Exploring race and the newsroom

Last month, #SMWX founder Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh produced a four-part video series unpacking issues of race in the South African media, with support from SAMIP. The series features discussions four prominent media figures: SAMIP Advisory Committee member and health journalist Pontsho Pilane, political analyst Eusebius McKaiser, SABC politics reporter Samkele Maseko and co-founder and editor of The Daily Vox Khadija Patel. Watch it all here:

Other highlights for the month:

  • We were delighted to see staff from the Daily Maverick and Mail & Guardian among the winners of this year’s Sikuvile Journalism Awards. Take a bow Pauli van Wyk (Journalist of the Year and the Investigative Journalism), Richard Poplak (Editorial) and Carlos Amato (Editorial Cartoons).
  • Media Hack Collective delivered a major upgrade to their Covid19 data project, adding a rolling out a data portal for Africa-wide coronavirus stats.
  • Our friends at the Membership Puzzle Project, now part of the Media Development Investment Fund, opened the next round of applications for media organisations seeking to develop a membership programme. The deadline for registrations of interest is 5 November – details and eligibility criteria is here.
  • Also coming up: the Africa Media Summit is set to happen virtually on 19-20 November. Attendance is free – register here.

SAMIP Update | Awards, audio stories, and a Snapchat documentary

As we head into the final week of October, it’s been a busy time for participants of the South Africa Media Innovation Program, with a string of awards, new editorial content, and – yes, a docuseries for Snapchat. Here is what’s been happening in the SAMIP family:

Hashtag snags a Snapchat docuseries

Hashtag Our Stories, a citizen journalism outlet, has announced an upcoming docuseries to premiere on Snapchat on 24 October. First Person, shot on the Spectacles smart-glasses, will showcase the perspectives of young innovators fighting to save the planet.

New awards nods for Daily Maverick and Mail & Guardian

Two SAMIP participants were among the winners announced for this year’s Standard Bank Sikuvile Journalism Awards:

  • Daily Maverick’s Pauli van Wyk won Journalist of the Year and the Investigative Journalism category for her investigations of VBS corruption. Meanwhile, Daily Maverick’s Richard Poplak won in the Columns / Editorial category.
  • Mail & Guardian’s Carlos Amato won in the Editorial Cartoons category

Frank talk on race in newsrooms
SMWX continued its four-part series on race and South African media, with founder Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh releasing video chats with SABC politics reporter Samkele Maseko and former Mail & Guardian editor Khadija Patel. Produced in partnership with SAMIP, the series features conversations with diverse practitioners from across the SA media landscape and grapples with the way race continues to affect journalists in South Africa.

A digital jobs fair for farmers of tomorrow

Agri-news outlet Food for Mzansi will be launching a virtual careers fair for high school students looking to enter the agriculture sector. The Food for Mzansi Virtual Agri Career Fair 2020 will feature a series of virtual rooms for high school learners to explore the A to Z of agricultural careers, offering a combination of low-data sound clips for easy and cheap downloads, and high-quality video for those who prefer it. This event launch on 29 October 2020.

Scrolla expands its editorial mix

As its news offering continues to grow, mobile-first news agency Scrolla is expanding its editorial mix to include more sports and music coverage, and has published its first bi-lingual op-ed. The isiZulu version, “Ngabe uAce Magashule uzoboshwa na?” (““Will Ace Magashule be arrested?”) unpacks the messy politics around corruption-accused ANC politician Ace Magashule, and wonders how long he has as a free man. (The English version is here.)

New Covid-19 projects

Children’s Radio Foundation published an audio diary of a CRF local facilitator as she recovers from Covid-19, offering the listener a glimpse of her life in isolation.

Meanwhile, Media Hack Collective has added a new section to their coronavirus data dashboard – a portal to keep track of Covid-19 in the rest of Africa.

Global recognition for women in sports

gsport for girls, a women’s sports initiative in South Africa, continues to raise the profile of women’s sport globally, with profiles of newly elected vice-president of SA Gymnastics, Keolebogile Mokolopo, Kenyan athletics lawyer Sarah Ochwada (the first Black African woman to hold a Master’s Degree in International Sports Law), and global women’s sports advocate Sonia Soria.

Building investigative journalism on the continent
The African Investigative Journalism Conference continued its sessions through the month, with several more inputs from SAMIP participants. Viewfinder’s Daneel Knoetze presented on some of the reporting tools that helped him uncover systemic failures of police oversight in South Africa.

On 28 October, data journalist Alastair Otter from Media Hack Collective will join SAMIP alumni Raymond Joseph and Adi Eyal in a session on the data-driven storytelling behind their long-running investigation of corruption in the South African lottery. The session is facilitated by SAMIP program officer Siyabonga Africa, making it a true family affair.

Highlighting mental health

As Mental Health Awareness month continues, Verashni Pillay, founder of, published a helpful advisory on how (not) to talk to someone about mental health. The outlet had previously published a video on suicide awareness:

Youth media outlet The Daily Vox also published an article on the need to challenge mental health stigmas within black communities.

SAMIP participants’ blockbuster bi-weekly update

As we enter the final quarter of the year things are about to get busy and this can be seen in the amount of activity from our cohort of participants.

Food for Mzansi launches a TV show

Digital agri-news platform Food For Mzansi set out into a new frontier, with the launch of their TV show Vir die Liefde van die Land (“For the love of the land”). The show is hosted by FFM co-founder Ivor Price and agri-business manager Piet Potgieter, and is broadcast on DSTV. [LINK:

Tackling race in the media

#SMWX founder Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh has partnered with SAMIP to produce a four-part YouTube series unpacking issues of race in the media. The first two episodes featured journalist and media scholar Pontsho Pilane, and political analyst Eusebius McKaiser:

#SMWX is a video channel focusing on politics, culture and current affairs from a youth perspective. Mpofu-Walsh appeared on eNCA to discuss the ongoing video series.

The future of podcasting in Africa?

The World Association of Newspapers’ (WAN-IFRA) write-up on the growth of podcasting in Africa features the work of two podcasting outlets in the SAMIP family: Volume co-founder Paul McNally and Shandukani Mulaudzi, a producer for Children’s Radio Foundation. The two joined a panel discussion on the topic at WAN-IFRA’s Digital Media Africa conference last month. [LINK:]

Both Volume and Children’s Radio Foundation also featured in the latest edition of The Podcast Sessions magazine, in an article on strategies for financing podcasting businesses in South Africa and beyond.

Bringing news to new mobile audiences

Scrolla, a bilingual (isiZulu and English) mobile-first news platform has continued delivering local and international news to under-served audiences: from the trial of a policewoman charged with killing family members for insurance fraud, to a teen in Nigeria who builds cardboard superhero outfits went viral on social media.

Stokvel Talk goes back to the printing press

Stokvel Talk, a media company serving members of the South African financial cooperatives known as stokvels, has returned to a print edition of its free community newspaper. For the past few months, the company had focused on publishing digital editions of the newspaper, due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. While Stokvel Talk has demonstrated it can successfully pivot to digital, the resumption of printing is a hopeful sign for South Africa’s return to a new normal.

Data stories: how coronavirus spread through SA

Data journalism outfit Media Hack Collective has turned their months of Covid-19 data into an interactive timeline on how the pandemic spread through South Africa. It was published by health reporting group Bhekisisa, and Health24.

Championing women’s voices

Last week QuoteThisWoman+ director Kathy Magrobi spoke at the African Investigative Journalism Conference 2020 in a session on the challenges facing women investigative reporters.

In its ‘Our Voices’ newsletter series, QW+ team member Christina Schild wrote a moving piece about a series of artworks about gender-based violence by Capetonian artist Emma Leslie. Lizette Rabe, a member of the QW+ community of experts, published a piece on the importance of mental health, marking Mental Health Awareness Month.

Tips and resources from the SAMIP family

• Volume’s latest newsletter includes lessons on creating quality podcasts and audio voiceovers in a pandemic – read it here and subscribe at
• Children’s Radio Foundation has produced a toolkit on tackling Covid-19 stigma, to help its youth reporters and radio stations in how they cover the pandemic, and a toolkit on its approach to Remote Outreach and Campaigns to 16 community radio stations.
• Youth outlet The Daily Vox published a handy guide to “fighting fake news on the family WhatsApp group”

September comes and goes for SAMIP

The month of September is Heritage Month in South Africa. This is a month in which all South Africans are encouraged to celebrate their unique backgrounds, cultures and religions. September also marks the last month of the third quarter and the beginning of the end of the year. 2020 has not been short of surprises, challenges and highlights.

With the South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP) having marked its third year of existence in August we are now into fourth year of the program and we have developed a new culture with our cohort of participants.

SAMIP participants celebrate Heritage Day

Our participants marked Heritage Day with special reports such as The Daily Vox who looked at the real issues South Africans should be paying attention to during this day, including the background of the public holiday and the role that food plays in celebrating our shared heritages.

gsport for girls also celebrated the different cultures present in South African women’s sports and all the female athletes that are flying the country’s flag high around the world.

Daily Maverick published several opinion pieces on the topic of Heritage Day and South Africa’s history with the national holiday as well as human rights in the country.

SAMIP hosts POPI info session

During September SAMIP also hosted on information session on the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) in order to explain the legalese behind the Act and what is relevant for our participants to ensure they’re protecting their audiences’ data.

SAMIP leaned on our partnership with TouchBase Pro, an email and SMS marketing vendor based in South Africa, who helped take our participants through Touchbase’s new user manual on to ensure direct marketing practices are compliant with the POPI Act.

Daily Maverick goes to print

SAMIP participant Daily Maverick launched their new print product Daily Maverick 168 at selected Pick n Pay stores around the country. The paper was the culmination of a year’s long project that was aided by their membership plan Maverick Insider.

Former SAMIP Advisory Committee member Pontsho Pilane wrote a feature on some of the key innovations behind the title.

WAN-IFRA Digital Media Africa 2020

The World Association of Newspapers (WAN-IFRA) held their annual conference and awards ceremony between 08 and 09 September. Several SAMIP participants featured as speakers and panelists during the conference.

These participants included Kathy Magrobi of QuoteThisWoman+; Verashni Pillay of; Shandukani Mulaudzi from Children’s Radio Foundation, Paul McNally from Volume, Styli Charalambous at Daily Maverick and Ivor Price, Food For Mzansi – each representing their organization’s work, projects, and experiences, and the emerging opportunities and innovations for digital media projects across the continent.

Three of our participants were also named as winners at the WAN-IFRA African Digital Media Awards 2020:

  • Mail and Guardian won Best News Website or Mobile Service for their WhatsApp distributed publication The Continent;

  • Daily Maverick won in two categories – Best Paid Content Strategy, and Best Digital Marketing Campaign for a News Brand, both for its Maverick Insider membership programme;

  • Best of all, agri-news start-up Food for Mzansi won across three categories: Best in Audience Engagement (for the Farmers Inside Track campaign), Best Project for News Literacy (for their citizen journalism project that received funding from the Google News Initiative) and Best Special Project for Covid-19 (for their podcast and audience engagement campaign ‘Thandi and Captain Stay Safe’).

As the month came to a close the program looks forward to the next set of wins from our participants in the final quarter of 2020.

Daily Maverick goes to the presses

With the official launch of a new print title for one of our participants, a shout-out in the New York Times for another, and new products and milestones besides, there’s been no shortage of excitement in the SAMIP family. Here are a few of the highlights.

DM goes to the presses (and keeps winning at podcasts)

This was a big week for SAMIP participant Daily Maverick. On Saturday, the digital news publication officially launched their new print product Daily Maverick 168 at selected Pick n Pay outlets nationwide.

Daily Maverick 168 is a welcome addition to the print industry that has seen long-running publications being shuttered. Former SAMIP Advisory Committee member Pontsho Pilane wrote a feature on some of the key innovations behind the title.

This week the Daily Maverick also released the latest episode of the second season of Don’t Shoot the Messenger, their flagship podcast “telling stories behind stories to provide a new perspective and new insights”.

This week’s episode discusses the battle to use technology to save South Africa’s schooling.  To date season two has been at number one on the “News” category in Apple Podcasts for the last few weeks and is currently at number six for Apple Podcasts in SA.

New York Times highlights Viewfinder’s work

Last week SAMIP participant Viewfinder was featured in a New York Times report on police brutality in South Africa. The Times drew on Viewfinder’s insights on the death of disabled teenager Nathaniel Julies, who was allegedly killed by police in his community in Eldorado Park, and interviewed Viewfinder’s editor in chief Daneel Knoetze on the struggles for accountability in police killings. This is another mark of  the significant expertise that the investigative start-up has established on police brutality since its launch last year; more recently they have shone a spotlight on the injustices perpetuated by the police during South Africa’s Covid-19 lockdown.

The Daily Vox reminds us why we celebrate Heritage Day

Youth digital publication, The Daily Vox, joined South Africans in marking Heritage Day with a special newsletter edition. The Daily Vox builds on its tradition of incisive social commentary in the special edition by examining the significance of this public holiday, why we celebrate it, and what people think about the day.

gsport’s global initiative marks an important milestone

Women’s sports platform gsport for girls celebrated the one year anniversary of their international campaign, #Gsportglobal. gsport co-founder Kass Naidoo reflects on their first international sports reporting at the women’s cricket tour in India, their journey and experience, and the Momentum Gsport awards.

Food for Mzansi brings food to aspiring cooks

Agri-business news site Food for Mzansi has started a new weekly newsletter aimed at foodies, Mzansi Flavour. The newsletter features recipes for different diets and interviews with well-known and up-and-coming South African chefs.

You can sign up for the Mzansi Flavor weekly newsletter here.

DM168: how a membership model helped a digital news org go analog

As the news media struggles in its shift from print to digital, Daily Maverick’s bold move from digital to print followed the success of its membership program, writes Pontsho Pilane

In a tumultuous time for the media industry globally, one of South Africa’s most popular digital-first-and-only news publications, Daily Maverick, has drawn international attention with its launch of a print weekly.

Daily Maverick 168 (the 168, according to the team, makes reference to the number of hours in a week) is set to launch in late September, via the country’s second-largest supermarket chain, Pick n Pay. Shoppers who use Pick n Pay’s loyalty card can get their copy at no charge, while other shoppers will pay just over one US dollar (R20).

While the digital brand’s bold plan to go “back into the future” with a print edition has made waves – a pilot edition was released earlier this month, to glowing reviews – the seemingly counter-intuitive move follows the longer-term success of Daily Maverick’s membership programme, Maverick Insider.

Launched in 2018, drawing on support from the Membership Puzzle Project, Maverick Insider now boasts over 13,000 members and covers nearly 40% of Daily Maverick’s growing payroll. This growth is the cornerstone of the new products Daily Maverick has introduced over the past two years. (Membership Puzzle Project’s case study on Maverick Insider reports that the program makes up 25% of DM’s revenue.)

“We’re completely invested in membership as a particularly attractive and potentially successful solution to the sustainability problem that media news around the world have,” says CEO Styli Charalambous.

Charalambous says the newsroom has almost doubled in size over the last two years — another uncommon trend in the media industry, with most of the country’s newsrooms shrinking and even the most popular print titles feeling the pinch. In 2018, the circulation of South Africa’s top-selling daily newspaper, the Daily Sun, dropped by 20% and earlier this year announced it will be scaling back its national distribution and discontinuing its sister paper, Sunday Sun.

The decision to go analog when everyone is going digital is not one Daily Maverick’s team made lightly. “Over the last five years, we have been thinking really hard about what is the best way that we can get our long-form journalism into the hands of people who enjoy it, and print has always been one of the avenues that we felt would be a good outlet for that,” Charalambous explains.

Knowing the outlet has at least 13,000 supporters made the decision to start publishing a newspaper a no-brainer, he adds. Unlike a completely new player in the media industry, Daily Maverick has an established brand, and an existing audience made up of loyal readers and members.

“Our members were the first people we told about Maverick 168. We made it clear that we’re going to need their support in order for it to be successful and sustainable, except that this time it’s not going to cost a cent because of the partnership with Pick n Pay,” says Charalambous.

Partnering with Pick n Pay was a decision of convenience and exploiting an already great business partnership with the brand, he adds. Copies of Maverick 168 are predicted to move from the shelves because the publication’s research has shown that most of its members and readers shop at Pick n Pay.

Charalambous says the partnership with Pick n Pay is also an attempt to reach a new audience — one that may otherwise not buy a weekly newspaper because of their cost.

Maverick 168’s editor Heather Robertson says she had not foreseen having to launch the newspaper during a pandemic, but she’s convinced that Daily Maverick is more than up to the task. “We’re not re-inventing the wheel. We’re going to use our existing resources and exact same staff to provide the content for the newspaper. What is going to be different, obviously, is that newspapers are designed on different programs and need to be laid out, but we’re leveraging on the existing systems,” she explains.

The weekly newspaper has two 16 page sections — one for news, opinion, business and sport, and a tabloid section for lifestyle content. The newspaper will use some of the content that will be on the website through repurposing and repackaging, she explains. But the aim is to have unique front-page investigations that are exclusive to the print product.

For media studies scholar Dr Prinola Govenden, a post-doctoral research fellow at the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study, a new addition to South Africa’s print titles is a positive development.

“A new newspaper could mean more voices, more perspectives. It could also mean more jobs. However, I do caution that just because there’s another newspaper it doesn’t automatically mean it brings diversity,” says Govenden.

Daily Maverick says it’s going to provide powerhouse experts and quality analysis which is good, but that doesn’t mean providing media coverage and content for the ordinary citizen, or for people with a certain literacy level?” says Govenden.

While debates about the future of print media continue among industry and academic circles, one thing is clear: with its launch into print, Daily Maverick is willing to take a chance that few are willing to – or can afford to. It seems unlikely that this move could have been possible without years of work on building up a community of members willing to invest in the organization and its journalism. Whether Maverick 168 is a success or a failure, it offers the industry new insights that could in the future unlock a viable revenue stream for media producers.

Pontsho Pilane is a freelance writer, and former news editor at Health-e News and the Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism. She debuted as a journalist at The Daily Vox, where she wrote primarily about gender, race and how they intersect. @pontsho_pilane

A week of wins for SAMIP participants

This week saw a range of awards, honours and achievements for participants of the South Africa Media Innovation Program, as well as a new hard-hitting investigation into police abuses, and an explainer on complex debates about South African cultural identities.

Awards for Food for Mzansi, M&G and Daily Maverick

Several SAMIP members were named as winners at the WAN-IFRA African Digital Media Awards 2020 that took place on Tuesday afternoon:  

  • Mail and Guardian won Best News Website or Mobile Service for their WhatsApp distributed publication The Continent; 
  • Daily Maverick won in two categoriesBest Paid Content Strategy, and Best Digital Marketing Campaign for a News Brand, both for its Maverick Insider membership programme; 
  • Best of all, agri-news start-up Food for Mzansi won across three categories: Best in Audience Engagement (for the Farmers Inside Track campaign), Best Project for News Literacy (for their citizen journalism project that received funding from the Google News Initiative) and Best Special Project for Covid-19 (for their podcast and audience engagement campaign ‘Thandi and Captain Stay Safe’).

Celebrating digital media in Africa

SAMIP participants were also well represented at the WAN IFRA Digital Media Africa virtual conference this week. Among this year’s speakers were Kathy Magrobi of QuoteThisWoman+; Verashni Pillay of; Shandukani Mulaudzi from Children’s Radio Foundation, Paul McNally from Volume, Styli Charalambous at Daily Maverick and Ivor Price, Food For Mzansi – each representing their organisation’s work, projects, and experiences, and the emerging opportunities and innovations for digital media projects across the continent. 

M&G names its 200 Young South Africans for 2020

This year the Mail & Guardian hosted the first-ever virtual reveal of its signature 200 Young South Africans” list. The awardees are featured in a M&G special edition which profiles talented young leaders across a range of fields, from science to the arts. Among the awardees this year was our very own Yusuf Omar, co-founder of Hashtag Our Stories, who was named in the Film and Media category.

Amplifying women’s voices in media

Quote This Woman+ continued its work of building a database of women+ experts as a newsroom resource: this week QW+ eight new woman+ experts on their database, offering expertise on anything from shifts in online learning, to privacy and data protection in Covid-19 contacttracing apps.

Tackling police brutality against children

Investigative outfit Viewfinder published another data-driven expose on the systemic failure of watchdogs to act on police killings of children in South Africa. This follows national outrage after police allegedly killed 16-year-old Nathaniel Julies, who had Down syndrome. Viewfinder reports that this follows dozens of similar cases in recent years, almost none of which led to convictions. 

 Heritage month debate

September is Heritage Month in South Africa, and youth outlet The Daily Vox tackled a heated debate on social media over perceptions on coloured identity in a post-apartheid South Africa. 

Hashtag partners with Facebook to train African journalists

One of SAMIP’s earliest entrants, Hashtag Our Stories, has partnered with the Facebook Journalism Project to run a six-week training course aimed at journalists on the African continent. The Facebook Video Storytellers-Africa will prepare participants to discover story ideas as well as shoot, script, edit, upload and distribute high-quality videos using a mobile phone. Applications close on 18 September and if you are interested in participating just following this link.

The latest from the agri-business industry

This week in the agri podcast Farmer’s Inside Track, Food for Mzansi catches up with a young cattle farmer in the North West, an agri-business banking expert, and a chef with a secret recipe to the perfect home-cooked meal 


New awards nod for SAMIP orgs

WAN-IFRA names finalists for African digital news awards

SAMIP congratulates three of our participants, Daily Maverick, Food For Mzansi and Mail & Guardian, for being named as finalists in the WAN-IFRA African digital news awards. The awards celebrate publishers who deliver unique and original media projects in the last twelve months. The winners will be announced during the Digital Media Africa 2020 virtual event on 8 and 9 September 2020.

Gsport4girls red-carpet event goes digital
This week Gsport4girls celebrated women in sports by hosting the 2020 Momentum gsport Awards. This year marks the first time the red-carpet event to honour women in sports went fully virtual. You can catch the repeat of the awards on Supersport Tv and on Gsport4girls’ YouTube channel.

A victory for land justice

This week youth media outlet The Daily Vox reported on a High Court ruling in favour of civil society organisations challenging the sale of public land to a private buyer. The Vox provides more information on the significance of the case for urban land in the future.

Celebrating women leaders and the youth

This week the Mail & Guardian  released a list of ordinary women doing extraordinary things in South Africa; on 10 September the M&G will host a virtual event to release its much anticipated “200 Young South Africans” list.

Podcasting on the art of livestock farming
In this week’s episode of Farmer’s Inside Track, Food For Mzansi speaks to a farmer about patience, planning and practicing livestock farming. The team also shares information and explains the concept of being under or over-capitalised and the consequences it has on agribusiness.

The future of internet shutdowns

Volume produced the final episode of Kill Switch, a podcast that explores the alarming rise of antidemocratic internet shutdowns across the world. The final episode looks interrogates on whether internet shutdowns will spread and continue across the world.

Hunger during Covid-19

Today on News From The Frontline podcast produced by Volume the team discusses food scarcity and fighting hunger during Covid-19 and lockdown.


August winds bring resilience & innovation to SAMIP

August winds in South Africa are a lovely reminder of the winter that has passed and a reason to look forward to the warmer temperate spring that September brings. This past month was also a reminder of the difficulties that the country is facing as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the health and economy of South Africa. 

For the South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP) August was a reminder of the resilience that is inherent in the program’s participants. As the month came to an end SAMIP held a panel discussion, hosted by property entrepreneur Lynette Ntuli, that focused on women in the media. The panelists were all women (both participants of our program and outside of it) who had a wealth of experience in the local media industry. 

Some of the topics raised in this discussion included the pivots that women in the media have had to make in the wake of the pandemic; their daily inspiration that has helped them weather the storms brought on by the pandemic; an the unexpected opportunities that have been opened up during the pandemic. 

gsport awards go online 

For the past 12 years the gsport Awards and Hall of Fame have been a highlight for women’s sports in South Africa. The red carpet would see female athletes of all ages and members of the women’s sports industry congregating to celebrate themselves and women’s sports which receives less attention than their male counterparts. 

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing all live events either to go online or be postponed indefinitely. The gsport Awards and Hall of Fame was no exception. But this did not deter gsport for girls co-founders Kass Naidoo and Ryk Meiring who pivoted the awards into an online event that will be broadcast by major sports channel SuperSport on the evening of Monday 31 August. 

The awards are also expanding by adding new categories that will be aimed at highlighting sportswomen on the African continent and beyond. This is in line with gsport’s goal of expanding their efforts to celebrate female athletes across the globe. 

SAMIP events & highlights 

What it takes to build a podcast in the global south? 

In the last few months we’ve seen a definite uptick in podcasting in and around the SAMIP family, but there was a frustrating lack of information on the business of podcasting for our contexts. It was clear ‘market insights’ from North America and elsewhere couldn’t be applied to South African media organisationsSo we brought together some of the brightest podcasting minds in our networks, to share their experiences and insights. 

The results are now available as a write-up here, and in a special episode of Rutendo Nyamuda’s The Podcast Sessions. Check them out, share them around, and let us know what you think. 

Product thinking in the newsroom – what’s that about? 

Journalism as a product may sound like a new concept but is one that has been around and relevant for a long time.  

According to Cindy Royal’s paper on product management in journalism and academia media products now encompass both internal and audience-facing initiatives, including the organization’s website, special project and event sites, mobile applications, data visualizations, podcasts, newsletters, bots, artificial intelligence projects, and other applications. 

But how do newsrooms develop a product-thinking mindset, how do they go about incorporating product-thinking with their current and new projects and what does a well-run product look like. 

It was with these questions in mind that SAMIP held a webinar on product-thinking for newsrooms. The speakers in the webinar included Anita Zielina, who is the director of strategic initiatives at the City University of New York’s Craig Newmark School of Journalism, ICFJ product mentor for Facebook’s Digital Accelerator Nuno Vargas and Daily Maverick’s CEO and publisher Styli Charalambous. 

A low-key birthday celebration

August also marks the three-year anniversary of SAMIP’s launch in 2017. The program’s beginnings were marked by a celebration at Constitution Hill where Open Society Foundation president and former United States diplomat to South Africa Patrick Gaspard spoke about the need for independent media. 

Since then SAMIP has gone on to meet that need by funding and supporting independent media in South Africa. This is a mission that the program continues to do with pride. 

Participant highlights & events 

 Daily Maverick launches a newspaper 

While the media industry moves towards being digital-first and only, SAMIP participant Daily Maverick took the opposite approach by developing and printing a new weekly publication called Daily Maverick 168 

While the move looks counterintuitive, the team at Daily Maverick had undergone a long thought process and utilized product thinking to develop this new publication. Daily Maverick’s unique business model, that incorporates a membership plan that SAMIP helped fund, was also what allowed this digital publication to create an analogue product. 

WAN-IFRA shines a spotlight on The Continent 

On the other end of the spectrum SAMIP participant Mail & Guardian developed a digital publication called The Continent that is being distributed via WhatsApp across the African continent. The publication was the brainchild of M&G Africa editor Simon Allison and M&G editor-in-chief Sipho Kings who came up with the idea for the publication after received pirated copies of The Sunday Times and other South African publications on WhatsApp. 

The story of the publication and its innovative distribution strategy is covered in a piece that was published by the World Association of Newspapers and was written by SAMIP editorial consultant Pontsho Pilane. 

Media Hack’s crowdfunding adventure comes to an end 

In late July Media Hack Collective had reached their R30,000 crowdfunding goal within 30 hours of the campaign starting. It was an incredible achievement for the team who had set out to raise a small sum of money to help pay for unexpected costs relating to the interactive dashboard they had created to monitor the coronavirus pandemic in South Africa. 

Media Hack Collective ends the month-long campaign after raising close to R60,000 – double the amount they had set to achieve. The dashboard continues to be used and showcased by ordinary citizens and organizations in the country. It recently was mentioned during a webinar on gym safety that was run by local media aid company Discovery Health.   

Participants build up women’s voices in media 

During August two of our participants ran media masterclasses aimed at upskilling women and young girls interested in pursuing journalism careers. 

Quote This Woman+ hosted a women-led media masterclass under the banner of #NoVoiceLeftBehind. The class focused on how women+ can build their own brands and ensure women’s expertise is reflected in news stories. 

On Sunday 16 August gsport for girls’ media masterclass took place. The Momentum gsport Awards Media Masterclass featured experienced ICC and SABC cricket commentator, Natalie Germanos, Metro FM and SABC Sport presenter, Lebo Motsoeli and sports PR and sponsorship consultant, Lona Benya. 

The goal of the event was to encourage young women to pursue careers in sports media. 

Other highlights 

 Sikuvile Journalism Awards nominations 

Daily Maverick and Mail Guardian were among the finalists for the annual Standard Bank Sikuvile Journalism Awards that were announced in August.  

Some of the work the publications have been nominated for included: 

  • Daily Maverick investigative reporter Pauli van Wyk’s reporting on the VBS Bank scandal; 
  • Mail and Guardian’s feature on the death of toddler at Bosasa’s detention centre; 
  • A photo-series by Mail and Guardian on police brutality during the early days of South Africa’s national lockdown; 

Volume and KAS Media launch a podcast  

Podcast production company Volume was commissioned by KAS (Konrad Adenauer Stiftung) Media Africa to produce a podcast that is the spiritual successor to their Media Diaries podcast that was done in conjunction with SAMIP. The new podcast, Africa Media Thermometer, examines the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on African newsrooms. 

 Stokvel Talk’s probes the Covid-19 affected funeral industry 

The pandemic has not only affected the way we live but also the way we pass on and are laid to rest. Stokvel Talk hosted a webinar, in collaboration with Calgro Memorial Parks, on the impact of the pandemic on the funeral industry and burial societies. The webinar featured guests who spoke on how stokvel members can announce, hold and finance safe funerals for their loved ones. 

As we enter the last month of the third quarter the program looks forward to another month of progress and achievement with our participants and our mission of accelerating innovation and transformation in South Africa’s media landscape.