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 quotethiswoman.org.za/donate.

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.