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Remember remember the month of November

In South Africa the month of November is punctuated with fireworks during Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated by the local Hindi population, and Guy Fawkes, a British celebration that still brings out the cracker enthusiasts in our country.

The South Africa Media Innovation had its own explosive month with events and developments galore. It’s hard to think that our small program is just one year old with all the work done with our grantees and our interactions with our partners in the media.

The main highlight for the program were the awards our grantees bagged at the WAN-IFRA Digital Media Africa Awards which took place after the conference which was held in Sandton on 23 November. Several of our grantees were nominated in categories ranging from Best Digital StartUp, Best Data Visualization and Best Reader Revenue Initiative.

The grantees that walked away awards were:

Daily Maverick: runner up for Best Website, runner up for Best Reader Revenue Initiative

Hashtag Our SA:  runner up for Best use of Online Video

Children’s Radio Foundation: winner of Best Innovation for Youth Engagement

We’re proud of our grantees for all they have achieved this past year.

During the conference our program manager, Bilal Randeree, sat with Frayintermedia founder and managing director Paula Fray to discuss media entrepreneurship which is at the heart of what we do.

In collaboration Code for Africa SAMIP held another round of Perfect Pitch, this time in the Mother City. The theme for this run was innovative revenue models which SAMIP is in search of as we continue to add to our growing cohort of participants.

We saw six great pitches, including a wildcard submission from CfAfrica’s very own program manager Ashlin Simpson. Our judges featured our usual shark, MDIF entrepreneur in residence, Matthew Buckland, SAMIP advisory committee member Dinesh Balliah and CfAfrica’s program director Chris Roper.

At the end of session three winners emerged: The Good Tree, Radcast and Podmeet.

After our short detour in Cape Town our program officer and assistant (Siyabonga Africa and Lerato Mashianoke) traveled to the Eastern Cape where Highway Africa 2018 was held in Makana (Grahamstown).

Our program officer took part in the conference where he delivered the keynote speech on the final day of the conference and participated in a panel discussion on media entrepreneurship.

Back in Cape Town the Open Society Foundation South Africa held its 25th anniversary celebrations which featured tributes to its founder George Soros. As one of two programs being funded by OSF-SA, SAMIP got a mention by OSF vice-president Patrick Gaspard who was at the launch of our program last year.

November was quite the month for us and we look forward to the close of the year and the start of an even better more impactful 2019.

SAMIP grantees make a splash at WAN-IFRA awards

South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP) grantees The Children’s Radio Foundation (CRF), Hashtag our SA and Daily Maverick walked away with top prizes and as runners ups in four categories at the WAN-IFRA Digital Media Africa awards on Friday 23 November.

The awards ceremony was held after the WAN-IFRA Digital Media Africa conference which took place in Sandton. The conference covered topics on paid content and business models as the news and information industry faces shrinking revenue streams and challenges in running their businesses.

CRF was awarded the top prize in the category for Best Innovation in Engaging Youth Audiences. This was for their WhatsApp integration project that they were awarded a grant of R500,000 by SAMIP. This past year the Foundation has been busy developing strategies and processes for community radio stations to utilise WhatsApp in their reporting and community engagement.

In late September our Program Assistant, Lerato Mashianoke, attended their Youth Lab Awards that were held in Cape Town. The awards recognised some of the innovative ways their youth reporters have been using WhatsApp since their project began.

Hashtag our SA was awarded as a runner up in the category for Best use of Mobile Video. The startup founders Yusuf and Sumaiya Omar have been building a network of mobile video journalists around South Africa. Hashtag our SA intern, Thembele Nkosi, was attending in the founder’s place whilst they’re completing their incubation at Yellow Inc, a SnapChat initiative that saw them getting $150,000 (R2.08 million) in funding from the video platform.

Daily Maverick was also a runner up in the categories for Best News Website and Best Reader Revenue Initiative. Daily Maverick was awarded a grant by SAMIP to develop their membership plan, Insider, which has already seen them getting revenue from their subscribers.

SAMIP grantee Digest was also finalist in the category for of Best Data Visualisation. Digest has been growing their “fun”-nancial newsletter with a new website and coverage of topical economic stories in South Africa.

The awards showcased the best in digital news media in South Africa and SAMIP is proud of the accomplishments of its grantees.

An Octsober month for SAMIP

Octsober is one of those things that you hear about and you wonder what is the point. The premise is simple: abstain from drinking any alcohol throughout the month of October as a detox from most the year as we head into the festive season. It’s a sobering experience and so was the past month for the South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP) as we added more organizations to our cohort and attended a slew of media events.

New additions

The highlight of the past month was the addition of The Daily Vox and Daily Maverick to our cohort of participants after we concluded our general entry recruitment drive. The two publications join our growing family that began with nine grantees that were chosen through the Innovation Challenge last year.

Daily Maverick is an independent online publication focusing on news analysis and investigative journalism. The publication’s investigative arm (Scorpio) was famously part of the team that reported on the #GuptaLeaks. Earlier this year they were lauded for that work by the South African National Editors’ Forum who awarded them, along with reporters from amaBhungane and News24, the Nat Nakasa Journalism Award.

The publication was selected for entry into SAMIP for its membership plan: Maverick Insider. Daily Maverick publisher and CEO Styli Charalambous says they hope to expand the publication’s revenue mix with Maverick Insider which was revealed at The Gathering in August.

“We are pleased to be working with SAMIP in our efforts to develop a sustainable membership plan,” says Charalambous. “In a time when most revenue streams have dried up we believe Maverick Insider is an innovative way of generating revenue whilst allowing non-paying readers to access our content for free.”

The Daily Vox is an independent media organisation that seeks to put the young citizen at the centre of news. The publication focuses on telling stories that matter to South Africans, especially the young and hopeful.

They gained prominence with the #FeesMustFall protests that spread across university campuses in 2016. With SAMIP’s assistance they are developing new and innovative strategies to become sustainable and profitable that will serve as a model that can be replicated by independent media in South Africa.

Client News

In the past month our grantees have produced some great examples of gender-focused journalism. The Daily Vox wrote an article which highlighted how the South African justice system continues to fail rape victims and survivors in South Africa, and Hashtag Our SA produced a video showing how menstrual cups can not only save women money but also be helpful to the environment.

Fun-ancial newsletter Digest teamed up with local comedian DevonDidIt to produce a series of hilarious videos highlighting the missing gaps in our knowledge of the South African financial sector.

 

Events

In October South Africa commemorated #BlackWednesday. Events were held across South Africa in remembrance of 19 October 1977 when 18 black consciousness organisations and mainly black newspapers were banned in South Africa.

During the week of Black Wednesday Media Monitoring Africa holds their annual Media Freedom Week events which include panel discussions on key issues in the local media industry. The discussions this year included a look at the state of the national broadcaster, the SABC, and the potential threat of bots, disinformation and misinformation in next year’s election.

SAMIP was also at the African Investigative Journalism Conference that took place at the University of Witwatersrand. SAMIP advisory committee member and MDIF deputy-CEO Mohamed Nanabhay moderated a discussion on sustainability in journalism, whilst SAMIP program officer Siyabonga Africa taught a workshop on Python programming for journalists.

With 2018 heading into its final lap the program will be looking to add more projects and organizations to our cohort and we are going through all the enquiries being made to our website.

Until next month.