Media Hack raises R30k in 30 hours

In a time of uncertainty for many media organizations, this week’s updates from participants of the South Africa Media Innovation Program is cause for optimism: a major crowdfunding success, the rollout of a new podcast, an innovative live audio event, and ongoing coverage of the key issues of the day.

Crowdfunding success for Coronavirus data dashboard

This week, the Media Hack Collective launched a crowdfunding campaign for their Coronavirus dashboard, which they created four months ago to track South Africa’s coronavirus numbers. Their goal was to raise R30,000 over 30 days – but they reached their target in just 30 hours. By Friday, the funding portal had received 130 small user donations, totalling 140% of their original goal. Media Hack plans to continue maintaining the Coronavirus dashboard as a public service, updating it daily with the latest numbers on Covid-19 tests, infection, death, and recoveries.

Children’s Radio Foundation hosts the MMX experience

As part of this year’s MMX (Menell Media Exchange), the Children’s Radio Foundation hosted an “MMX Listening Experience” on the theme of African Media in a Global Crisis. The event was delivered over Zoom, through an innovative combination of live broadcasts, audience interaction, and pre-recorded content, unpacking some of the challenges facing media organisations in Africa during the pandemic, and how some outlets are responding. It was produced in partnership with the South Africa Media Innovation Program. Watch it live here:

Challenges faced by SA pregnant women during Covid-19

This week, The Daily Vox report on the challenges faced by pregnant women during antenatal and postnatal care in South Africa during Covid-19 and how pregnant women can prepare to overcome the challenges.

Zooming in on Gauteng province’s pandemic response

Health-e News reports on a new plan to boost the Gauteng government’s efforts to contain Covid-19 infections – a set of “district champions” who will lead local efforts, supported by a list of ministers, deputy ministers and provincial leaders.

New podcast on internet shutdowns

Volume, in partnership with Access Now, launched Kill Switch, a brand-new podcast that explores the troubling rise of internet shutdown across the world. The series will follow different role players in different geographic locations to discuss internet shutdowns and digital rights violations.

Food for Mzansi keeps us updated with agricultural news

Food for Mzansi wraps the week with a highlight of agricultural news in South Africa. Their Farmer’s Insider Track podcast features the co-owner of the Drakensberg Bee Academy in KwaZulu-Natal, a representative from Farmer’s Assistant, and an aquaponics pioneer farming in Tembisa in Gauteng.



SAMIP participants weekly update

It’s been another busy week, with stokvel savings discussions, internet fandoms, and an inside look at community health workers. This is what SAMIP participants have been up to this week.

Readings on racism

As global discussions about systemic racism continue, The Daily Vox recommends ten books by Black and POC authors on race, systemic racism, and white privilege.

Tracking coronavirus news

Media Hack Collective updated their Coronavirus data dashboard to show the increase in infections in South Africa: it shows that South Africa has conducted 2.6 million tests, recorded over 408000 cases, and 6093 deaths.
As scientists and governments across the world race to find a way out of the pandemic, Health-e News reported on promising initial findings from a Covid-19 vaccine trial from Oxford University.

A growing community of women’s voices

Quote This Woman+ now hosts a community of nearly 300 woman+ sources in over 40 categories. This week, they highlighted seven new experts on Covid-19 and life under lockdown, as well as a conservationist who can offer analysis on the strange pandemic affecting elephants in Botswana.

Open-source investigations in Africa

Daneel Knoetze, editor of SAMIP participant ViewFinder, joined a discussion by the Global Investigative Journalism Network on Open Source Investigations in Africa. Together with journalists from Zimbabwe and Kenya, Daneel shared tips and insights on how to use open-source tools during the Covid-19 crisis to produce groundbreaking investigations.

Savings advice for hard times

Stokvel Talk, a media company that produces a free community newspaper on the financial cooperatives locally known as “stokvels”, hosted a webinar with Nedbank on how people can use stokvels for short to long term savings; the kinds of banking instruments that stokvels can use to achieve their goals; and discussed a few myths regarding stokvels and savings.


This week’s episode of ‘News From The Frontline’ produced by Volume in partnership with Tekano, the hosts focused on the plight of Community Health Workers during the Covid-19 crisis.

This week’s episode of The Critical Stans 2.0 podcast, the Daily Vox chat about fandoms and internet communities, as well as some of the downsides of online fan cultures.

In the latest Farmer’s Inside Track podcast, Food for Mzanzi hosts a range of experts on agriculture, including an agricultural economist with the latest fruit and vegetable market update ; and an indigenous goat farmer who talks about why he believes that farming as the best way of fighting poverty.

Upcoming event

Children’s Radio Foundation in partnership with SAMIP will be hosting the MMX Listening Experience, African Media in a Global Crisis event on 29 July at 4:00 pm. The hosts will be in conversation with Simon Allison (The Continent by M&G) Jama Jack (Medical Research Council Unit, The Gambia) and Nelisiwe Msomi (Health-e News) about how African media can best respond to the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The business of podcasting

On Tuesday 28 July, SAMIP is hosting an online discussion on the business of podcast, focusing on the ins and outs of the podcasting business in the global south. The discussion will feature speakers from SAMIP participant organisations as well as external expert Selly Thiam from None on Record and Ramsey Tesdell from Sowt.
The event is scheduled for 11am-12pm (UTC+2) – RSVP to

GSport4Girls names nominees for women’s sporting awards

This week, GSport4Girls named the athletes competing for its annual sporting awards, while other participants of the South Africa Media Innovation Program continued their work delivering news and entertainment to audiences across South Africa.

Gsport names awards nominees
Sports may be on hold, but women athletes can still be celebrated. GSport4Girls, an online initiative to raise the profile of women in South African sports, unveiled its nominees for the 2020 Moment gsport Awards. The event, an annual fixture to honour women’s achievements in sports, is set to take place digitally in August.

Remembering a youth icon
Youth media outlet Daily Voice profiled Zindzi Mandela, the daughter of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Nelson Mandela, and the ideals she inspired along with her parents. Mandela passed away earlier this week.

Tracking coronavirus in South Africa
South Africa’s Covid-19 cases are rapidly rising; this week SA recorded the fourth highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world. The Media Hack Collective’s Coronavirus in South Africa dashboard charted the latest numbers, showing that South Africa has recorded over 320,000 cases and 4669 deaths, and has recorded over two million tests.

SAMIP participants’ podcasts
Masculinity as a social construct is something that comes up again and again in conversations around gender. In this week’s episode of The Daily Vox’s Critical Stans 2.0 podcast, Shaazia Ebrahim and Fatima Moosa deconstruct masculinity in pop culture, focusing on Bollywood and Korean dramas, and how it influences real-life behavior.

In this week’s episode of the Farmer’s Inside Track podcast, Food For Mzansi unpacks the funding applications for the national farming support programme, andspeaks to Musawenkosi Kubheka, a farmer who made his first million at the age of 27.

Getting women’s voices heard
QuoteThisWoman+, which is committed to getting more women’s voices heard in South African media, highlighted the contribution of one of its experts, Prof. Elmien du Plessis, to a report on the risk of politicisation of farm attacks in South Africa.

SAMIP participants keep tabs on growing coronavirus cases

As South Africa crossed the 100-day mark since the national lockdown was announced the country is now seeing a surge in confirmed cases with the number of people who’ve been infected reaching more than 230,000. This is serious news and our participants have been covering the developments.

Data journalism start-up Media Hack Collective’s coronavirus  dashboard has all the latest statistics on the number of confirmed cases, deaths and recoveries. The number of active cases is now 121,558 and deaths have gone up to 3,720. On the other hand the country has seen more than 113,000 recoveries which should offer some solace.

gsport for girls goes global

SAMIP participant gsport for girls is now well into their plans for the 2020 Momentum gsport Awards with entries now open. The women’s sports platform recently announced their global expansion with the kick-off of the #gsportGlobal initiative.

The initiative includes the addition of a new gsport chapter in Surat, India as well as the addition of African and Global award categories that will be announced at this year’s awards.

Podcasts new and current

Our participants are also hard at work in developing new podcasts and releasing new episodes of current shows.

The Daily Vox’s ‘Critical Stans’ show released their latest episode that saw them dive into the issue of One Direction’s Zayn Malik and what the singer means to fans of the group who are people of color.

Not Yet Uhuru’s podcast on women empowerment, ‘What’s Love Podcast’, took on the topic of child maintenance and the various issues around it. Food for Mzansi’s podcast, ‘Farmer’s Inside Track’, featured interviews with up and coming agriculture entrepreneurs and thought-leaders. Their latest podcast for children, ‘Thandi and Captain Safe’, discussed how young learners can stay safe as the pandemic continues in the country.

Volume released a new show, called ‘Access’, that they are producing for the Health Justice Initiative (HJI). The HJI is a recently established law and policy unit that was founded by former Open Society Foundation of South Africa director Fatima Hassan.

Our participants continue to make us proud as they break stories, explain issues and drive innovation in South Africa’s media landscape.

SAMIP promotes the youth in June

Throughout the month of June, which is Youth Month in South Africa, SAMIP’s participants have shown immense resilience and innovation in their journalism. One of the biggest stories to emerge has been the issue of police brutality that, thanks to Viewfinder, is now getting more public scrutiny.

Our participants have also covered the precarious situation at South Africa’s universities as a result of the pandemic and the ever disturbing presence of gender-based violence in the country.

Since June was Youth Month we want to acknowledge our participants who are led and powered by young teams. These include:

Webinars continue

With the pandemic raging on SAMIP has had to continue with its pivot to webinars in place of in-person workshops and training sessions. These have allowed us to include a lot more people in the sessions and increase our overall impact.

Those who know, teach

Our first webinar of the month was a continuation of the online events webinar we held in May but this time we looked at the online training industry. Online training is a USD200 million industry which is ripe for entry with a growing need for niche content.

The webinar was geared towards media organizations and non-profits who wanted to know how they could set up their own online training initiatives especially as a revenue stream.

Speakers from Fray College, Hashtag our Stories, Smart Film School and The Potential Platform who discussed their experiences in setting up media training businesses, developing online training content, marketing and monetizing online training content. Catch our write-up here.

Getting into the fundraising game

SAMIP also held a webinar on Fundraising for independent media organizations. as many companies and non-profits are finding themselves with strained revenue streams as a result of the pandemic.

Donor and grant funding play an important role supporting independent media organizations. The webinar was formulated to fill the gap in information on available funding and best practices for applying for funding.

SAMIP also launched an Independent Media Donor Funding Tool (IMDFT), an online spreadsheet of donor information and fundraising opportunities for independent media houses.

Other highlights

A few other highlights from our month:

Looking forward

With the second half of the year now underway, the program is planning on continuing with its remote work which means more webinars and online training. Our focus for the rest  of the year is to provide as much support to our participants and the industry as we all find ways to do good journalism and hold those who need to be held to account whilst also dealing with a pandemic.

Some of the events we are looking forward to include: Radio Days Africa and MMX 2020 which is being run by our participant Children’s Radio Foundation. The second half of the year will also see us finalizing the next stage of our program and we will keep you all posted on those plans.

Until the next time.

SAMIP participants cover South Africa’s budget woes and GBV

This week, the economy loomed large for SAMIP participants as South Africa’s Minister of Finance delivered a grim COVID-19 budget revision.

Quote This Woman+ compiled a list of women from its database of experts who can assist the media to diversify its voices in stories about the budget and economy.

Health-e News, a digital health news organisation, reported on the Minister of Finance’s plan to increase the capacity of the healthcare system in response to the pandemic.

Media Hack Collective updated its Coronavirus in South Africa dashboard to show the latest numbers, including new local data showing hotspots at a districts and sub-district level.

But the budget and the pandemic weren’t the only things making headlines this week.

The top stories this week at youth media outlet The Daily Vox were an explainer on Israel’s latest plans to seize a third of the occupied territories of the West Bank, and a profile of Wits University’s next Vice Chancellor, nuclear physicist Zeblon Vilakazi.

Meanwhile, agrinews start-up Food For Mzansi’s latest podcast features agriculturalist Lungelo Mathenjwa, on his efforts to help small-holder farmers reach their commercial potential, and an update from Agricolleges International on what courses matric students can apply for in the next few weeks.

The latest episode of feminist law-and-finances podcast What’s Love?! looks at the differences between a Cohabitation Agreement and a Marriage Contract, to ensure listeners understand the benefits of Cohabitation Agreements for women not looking to marry in the future.

Gsport4girls, a media startup focusing on girls and women in sports, reported on SA Olympic swimmer Penny Heyns’ efforts to mentor young sportswomen. Heyns is an ambassador of the 2020 Momentum gsport Awards, which are currently open for nominations and which will be announced in August.



Those who can, should teach: Online training for Media organizations

Say you are a media owner, editor or content developer with a strong niche and a captive audience. One way to monetize your expertise is online training.

Online learning, or e-learning has grown into a $200 billion industry, with most e-learning being concentrated in healthcare, education, ICT and retail studies. But if you look around you can find e-learning resources on everything from starting a business to making sourdough bread.

e-learning is not just about making money, it’s also about sharing knowledge both within and outside your own organization.

SAMIP held a webinar that featured speakers who are running online training initiatives, including Fray College founder Paula Fray, former brand and product marketing manager at GetSmarter Claire du Preez, Smart Film School founder Robb Montgomery, and Hashtag Our Stories’ Yusuf Omar.

The lessons learned from this webinar include:

Why you should and why you shouldn’t get into online training

Before you jump into launching an online training initiative you need to know why you should and why you should not set one up.

Claire says that there are three reasons why media organizations should not get into online training. Firstly, online training initiatives can be time consuming and expensive to create, maintain and sell with the pay-off from them taking time to show. Secondly, they can be brand damaging if not done properly. And most importantly it’s not worth your while if online training does not fit your existing business.

But for those who believe that online training fits their business model, Claire believes that the following reasons are why you should get into online training.

Firstly, there is huge demand for online training, especially with people from junior to senior level looking for ways to upskill themselves in their busy lives. Online training also offers you a source of passive income once you have it set up and correctly priced. Online training is also a great marketing tool and allows you to position yourself as a thought-leader on specific topics and niches.

Teach what you know

Paula Fray advises media workers to start looking for content by first assessing your skills and finding your strengths and weaknesses.

“Teach what you know rather than trying to learn something and teaching that.”

Paula goes on to say that your training content needs to demonstrate real-world impact for it to be valuable to your target audience. The best strategy is to look for the demand in skills in the industry you are targeting to train (i.e. mobile journalism, data journalism, podcasting) and then marry your current skillset with that demand in order to craft a compelling offering.

Designing your course

When putting together a lesson plan the best advice from the speakers was to pay attention to pedagogical theory, which are theories on how people learn, and use those best practices to develop a formal plan.

“The key is to make sure that your participants’ user experience is a good one because that experience is your brand experience,” says Claire.

A great pedagogy practice to use in lesson development is the ADDIE Model for instructional design which is used for designing and developing education and training programs. The acronym ADDIE stands for: Analyze Design Develop Implement and Evaluate.

Most importantly focus on the outcomes of the course for participants and transitioning from one section to the next. Paula explained how Fray College has experimented with gamification to encourage course completion for their students.

Where to host your course

Online training platforms are a dime a dozen and each come their own strengths and weaknesses.

Platforms like Thinkific, teachable and podia are best used for hosting courses; platforms like Kajabi and Karta provide an all-inclusive business for online training; platforms like Skill Share and Udemy have a built-in audience which you can more easily but are challenging for newcomers who have to compete against a lot similar offerings; and if you are looking for more bespoke solutions you can look at LifterLMS and moodle that give you more leeway in customizing the learning experience.

Know the business and pricing models

Online training has several business and pricing models which can be employed. In the beginning you can develop a co-branded product which would entail partnering with a well-known brand to develop and also market your course. Curated content from experts in a particular field is another business model you can explore. Or you can experiment with a standalone training or white-labelled solutions.

Pricing strategies for your course include: once-off fees that users can pay to access the course content forever; fixed-term pricing which allows participants to pay for course content that they can access for a particular period; memberships and subscriptions are another way to price courses and these are best for recurring revenue; and if you opt for a co-branded course offering you can look at splitting the revenue between you and your course partners.

Be your own hype man

Building a course and then waiting for people to find it organically is one of the biggest pitfalls you can fall into according to Claire. You’ll need a go-to market strategy to create awareness for your course and attract participants to it.

Hashtag Our Stories’ Yusuf Omar says that for people to know about your course offering you need to be your own hype man and take every opportunity to promote yourself and your work especially your online training product.

Robb Montgomery advised that you should build off each online training you develop as they may lead to more opportunities.

Ultimately online training offers media workers and organizations more opportunities to increase their unique selling propositions as well as to potentially add more revenue streams to their businesses.

The Daily Vox celebrates Youth Day and its birthday


In marking six years since the launch of The Daily Vox, the youth media start-up ran a week long anniversary campaign: #TDVTurns6. Along with social media videos and retrospectives, The Daily Vox hosted a digital event tackling how COVID-19 was affecting students – one of the emerging struggles for equality and inclusion in higher education.

The Daily Vox also launched a weekly podcast, The Critical Stans 2.0, focusing on the politics of pop culture.

South Africa’s most trusted weekly

A poll by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism found that the Mail & Guardian is the most trusted weekly news publication in South Africa. The M&G, a SAMIP participant, has responded to the economic pressures of the pandemic by launching regular sponsored webinars, refining their email newsletters, and even piloting an African journalism project over WhatsApp.

Food chains in a pandemic

This week’s episode of FoodForMzansi’s podcast, The Farmer’s Inside Track, features Nezisa Sogoni, a business school graduate turned poultry farmer, and agricultural economist Lunathi Hlakanyane talks about the role of street.

Food For Mzansi also hosted a ‘young farmer’ webinar, in partnership with Grobank, focusing on the role of water in agriculture and the need to balance water conservation and food security.

Tracking coronavirus data in SA

Media Hack Collective continued updating their Coronavirus in South Africa dashboard as SA’s coronavirus numbers grow. The total number of confirmed cases is now 83890, with 1737 death and 44920 recoveries. Media Hack recently added graphs of the daily cases in three provinces, Gauteng, the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape, to their provincial data page so we can better track how quickly cases are rising.

Media Hack co-founder Alastair Otter recently reported that the dashboard has clocked close to 1.5 million views since its launch.


Children’s Radio Foundation bags COVID-19 podcasting grant

New podcasts, new funding, awards nominations and a million hits: here are some highlights this week from the South African Media Innovation Program.

Youth developing through Covid-19 podcasting

Children’s Radio Foundation, an organisation using radio to create opportunities for dialogue, leadership, advocacy, and community building among youth, received a Population Services International grant towards podcasting on Covid-19 in Africa over the next six months.

Coronavirus dashboard reaches one million views

This week Media Hack Collective’s Coronavirus dashboard reached one million views since its launch in March 2020. As Media Hack continues to update their dashboard with the latest coronavirus numbers, South Africa has conducted over one million tests, confirmed cases have reached over 58,000 and the death toll is at 1284.

News from the frontline podcast by Volume and Tekano

Volume in partnership with Tekano launched a new podcast: News From The Frontline, focusing on putting health equity in Covid-19 on the agenda and amplifying the work of Tekano’s Fellows and other organizations at a local community level. Episode 1 focused on sex workers in South Africa, and their struggle to enforce their rights because sex work is criminalized.

Award nomination for Yusuf Omar

Yusuf Omar, co-founder of Hashtag Our Stories, has been nominated for the One Young World Journalist of the Year award. He is one of the fifteen young journalists across the world shortlisted because for impact they’ve made to the field of journalism. Five winners will be announced in mid-June and will be presented with the award at the One Young World Summit in 2021.

Daily Vox profiles solidarity funds for man killed in lockdown

This week, The Daily Vox profiled two fundraising campaigns set up for Collin Khosa, who died after soldiers assaulted him in his home during South Africa’s lockdown. In keeping with The Daily Vox’s roots in solidarity and social justice, it was the youth outlet’s top-performing article this week.

Food for Mzansi speaks to Edward Kgarose

In the latest edition of Farmer’s Inside Track, Food for Mzansi’s weekly podcast, the digital agriculture news organisation catches up with trendsetter Edward Kgarose, a Limpopo-based entrepreneur who invented a sweet potato drinking yoghurt.


Shining a spotlight on police brutality – at home and abroad

This week, while protests against police brutality spread across the United States, SAMIP participants used their platforms to raise awareness of issues of police violence and accountability in South Africa, while others kept audiences informed on how the pandemic is playing out in education, sports, and agriculture.

Police brutality receives attention around the world

Highlighting the parallels to police brutality issues in the US, The Daily Vox reported on some of the names of those who have died in police encounters during South Africa’s lockdown.

Viewfinder, an investigative journalism startup that has exposed police brutality before and during the lockdown, published a series of videos this week highlighting what needs to change to fix police oversight in South Africa.

School reopening during COVID-19

We learned this week that school re-openings have been postponed to 8 June. Health-e News showcased views of activists and public health officials on what needs to happen to send children back to school during COVID-19.

COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries by province

As South Africa entered level 3 of the lockdown, there have been over 40,000 cases of COVID-19 reported and over 20,000 recoveries. Media Hack Collective’s Coronavirus in South Africa dashboard continues to track COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries by province in South Africa.

Reporting on women’s sports during COVID-19

The lockdown may have put a temporary hold on sports, but women’s sports platform gsport4girls continues to highlight the achievements of female athletes and members of the women’s sporting community. Their monthly Newsmaker list features achievements by women athletes in the fields of cricket, football and rugby.

Food for Mzansi speaks to the agriculture minister

This week’s episode of the Food For Mzansi podcast, Farmer’s Inside Track, features Thoko Didiza, the minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development. The agricultural digital media startup speaks to Minister Didiza about the payout-delay with COVID-19 relief vouchers for small-scale farmers, and how the pandemic revealed “fault lines of South Africa’s past”.