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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.

 

Freedom of expression through innovation

April is Freedom Month in South Africa as the country commemorates the first democratic elections that were held in 1994. During this time of reflection it’s pertinent to remember one of the freedoms enshrined in the Constitution, that was adopted in 1996 under the Bill of Rights, is the right to freedom of expression which what empowers the free press in South Africa.

The South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP) is honoured to participate in the growth of the news media industry through our initiatives in grant funding and capacity building. During April the program was hard at work guiding our current cohort of participants by matching them with mentors from the industry and providing them with insights in their projects.

We also began meeting with potential entrants who submitted their applications for general entry into our program. General entry is still open and we welcome applications from mission-driven startups, projects and organisations who have an eye for growth and sustainability in the field of work they’ve chosen.

Notable Highlights – client stories

Our grantees continue to put in good work as they push hard on progressing their respective projects and companies.

Hashtag Our Stories

At the beginning of April South Africa lost struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Hashtag Our Stories produced a video commemorating the late Mama Winnie which received more than 30,000 views on Facebook and Twitter.

Digest 

Digest: The “fun-nancial” newsletter has been hard at work delivering financial news in the quest of increasing financial literacy in South Africa. In the past month they launched a new website and have gone on to release their first e-book focusing on job hunting for new graduates. The e-book was the first in a series of publications on career progress and management.

The New Era

SAMIP was invited to attend the Association of Independent Publisher’s National Cooperative Training workshop. At the work shop Tom Nkosi was voted in chairperson of the AIP. Tom is the project leader on The New Era.

Soul City

Soul City CEO Lebo Mafoko and Activist Naledi Chirwa represented #NotYetUhuru at the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women that took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 12 to 23 March 2018.

Events

SAMIP program officer Siyabonga Africa was invited to sit on a panel at the Journalism Media Lab’s (JamLab) open dialogue on “hacking” the media. The dialogue was sparked by major stories including: the managers of Gupta-bots, Cambridge Analytica stealing user data off of Facebook and the threat to the bottomline of newsrooms by owners of platforms such as Google, YouTube and Facebook.

Sitting on the panel with Siyabonga were Mail & Guardian editor Khadija Patel, Tiso Blackstar digital managing editor Riaan Wolmarans and JamLab director Indra de Lanerolle. The panel talked about a range of issues and threats to our industry but more than that they searched for answers to the questions that plague editors, publishers and broadcasters alike.

With the first quarter of the year behind us, SAMIP continues with its mission of accelerating the growth digital innovation in news media in South Africa and we look forward to engaging with stakeholders and entrepreneurs in the month of May.

Mo’ letters, mo’ work

 

As January came to a close and the month of love began, the South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP) has been working hard on not only getting our first cohort of participants into the program but also developing strategies for bringing on more participants and increasing our reach and impact.

In the first week of February SAMIP got to work on completing the grant letters for the winners of the Innovation Challenge. The letters would give the participants access to the funds they won through Challenge and also provide a roadmap for them to grow into sustainable projects and organisations.

Having made some meaningful connections during our first workshop held in Johannesburg in January, the participants were ready get started on their projects as well as form partnerships in order to gain necessary skills, connections and resources from one another.

Notable highlights

Since the beginning of the year some of the participants have gotten straight to work in developing content and progressing their projects. From registering company names, to outputting engaging content the first cohort has made some notable progress in their quest to become sustainable or profitable.

Hashtag Our Stories 

Yusuf and Sumaiya Omar have been hard at work in developing the mobile video content. They launched their local Facebook page (Hashtag Our SA) in the middle of January and throughout February they posted videos that have gone on to garner more than 220,000 views on Facebook. When the late Hugh Masekela passed away, in January, they were quick to post this moving tribute to the legend.

They not only post social videos like the one above but they’ve also been experimenting with informative content that touches on issues such as fake news and the Winter Olympics. We highly recommend following their page which will grow in leaps and bounds over the next year.

Digest

Another one of our participants has also undergone some restructuring in terms of their project. Digest is a financial newsletter aimed at millennials. The team has big plans to bring financial services and education to the youth of South Africa. Currently they have begun archiving their content for the public to view past updates which include breakdowns on what the president’s State of the Union Address means for the economy.

They have also posted interesting threads on Twitter on topics such as the cabinet reshuffle that president Cyril Ramaphosa announced this past month, all with an eye on the effects on the economy and ordinary citizens.

Events

Our team has been attending media events and assisting with the planning of a few as well.

Earlier in February our program officer, Siyabonga Africa, was invited to represent SAMIP in the planning meeting for the Duke Menell Media Exchange 2018 that will be taking place in June this year. The exchange is a great opportunity for the journalism and media community to meet and engage over pertinent issues in the industry. Several of our participants will be involved in the exchange as speakers and content developers.

Our program officer also attended the IAB Digital Summit, held in Kyalami this year, where media workers and thought leaders gathered to learn about the latest developments in the industry and to network.

General Applications Open

Finally SAMIP has opened applications for general entry into the program. Since the middle of February applications have been streaming in and the team is hard at work analysing the submissions as they come in in order to find the next set of participants to the program.

We urge anyone who has a mission-driven project or organisation that is aligned with the focus areas, that SAMIP has laid out, to submit their applications. Applications have no deadline so interested parties should take their time to think through their submissions before applying. Entry into the program, through general applications, does not mean automatic funding but will give participants access to SAMIP’s capacity-building program and resources.

February was a busy month for the program and the participants and SAMIP will continue looking for opportunities to increase its impact in the South Africa news media industry.