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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.

 

Heritage month highlights digital tools and big news for SAMIP

During September South Africa celebrates its heritage. With more than eleven official languages and numerous cultures and religions calling this young democracy home, the ninth month of the year is festival of colours and traditional outfits as the people of the country showcase their various backgrounds.

And that vibrancy can be seen with our nine (and soon to be more) grantees who continue to do good work through their projects and organizations.

The big news of September was the selection of Hashtag Our Stories to participate in Snap Chat’s inaugural incubation program Yellow Inc. Yusuf and Sumaiya Omar join eight other companies in Venice, California where they will be experimenting with Snap Chat’s platform and tools to create new experiences and programmes for the mobile video company.

If you are looking for other tools to help you tell your heritage story why not download Open Up SA’s Pocket Reporter. The tool has been expanded and populated with more languages and templates for journalists to create stories on the fly. Think of it as having a news editor in your pocket. Pocket Reporter trainer Raymond Joseph has also started a Facebook page and Twitter account to share links to other digital tools that journalists and storytellers can add to their arsenal.

The Children’s Radio Foundation has seen the results of its WhatsApp project coming to fruition with some innovative uses of the chat app by their youth reporters. In August the young reporters based in Alex FM used WhatsApp to report on and gather voice clips on the “Walk for Mandela” walkabout in the Johannesburg CDB.

Upcoming Events

As the year enters its final stage SAMIP will be present at a number of media events and conferences.

AIJC 2018

SAMIP and its grantees will be participating in the African Investigative Journalism Conference that will be taking place at Wits University at the end of October. The conference is a gathering of journalists, media professionals and stakeholders from around the continent. SAMIP will be participating in the conference’s half-day workshop on sustainability and business models.

Media Indaba 2018

Following on the footsteps of last year’s successful Media Indaba gathering in Cape Town, SAMIP will also have a presence at Media Indaba 2018 towards the end of November. Once again the team will be bringing some insights on sustainability and business models in news.

Inquiries

The program has closed general entry applications but we are still open to inquiries that can be submitted via our website. We will be continuing our work in the coming three years and we hope to empower more innovative news media projects and organizations as our program grows.

SAMIP finds the next lit startups in Youth Month

The month of June is dedicated to the school pupils who lost their lives during the 16 June 1976 uprising in Soweto. This year marked the 41st anniversary of the Soweto Uprising where 15,000 students gathered at Orlando West Secondary School with the intention of participating in a peaceful march to the nearby Orlando Stadium.

Having only been launched last year August the South Africa Media Innovation Program is young at heart. We’re still less than a year old but we’ve done so much in the intervening time between our start and today.

SAMIP hosted a Sales & Business Development Workshop which took place on the 6th & 7th of June. The workshop was attended by some of the SAMIP grantees, two MDIF clients and two organisations from JamLab. The workshop was facilitated by Carl Davis, Matthew Buckland, Riaan Wolmarans, and Chrizelda Viljoen.

SAMIP also participated in this year’s Duke Menell Media Exchange which took place on the 8th and 9th of June. SAMIP launched the #PerfectPitch challenge with the hopes of finding SA’s next lit media company. The winners of #PerfectPitch were GSport4Girls, Politically Aweh and Quintessential ZA. The winning startups will get a chance to be entered into our program through general applications, whilst also receiving some mentoring from Matthew Buckland.

The team has also been meeting with applicants for general entry into the program which is still open for innovative news and information services startups to enter.

Client Highlights

    • Our grantees participated in the Duke Menell Media Exchange, taking part in a number of workshops and panel discussions. Osiame Molefe from Collective Media Cooperative and Soul City Institute for Social Justice CEO Lebo Ramafoko who sat on a panel discussing missing narratives in South Africa.
    • Volume News: They made a presentation about their business in local community radio stations in front of the Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, and the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality.
    • Digest: Dhanyal Davidson was invited to present his newsletter during a EdTech’s pitch evening within the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative. Digest also  launched a new website and new branding
    • Pocket Reporter has been converted into a web application after existing as an Android application since its initial development. The story generation tool also added more templates including a health story template in collaboration with Health-E News.

 

  • Hashtag Our Stories: They won the best social short form award, and best mojo marketing campaign, at the Mobile Journalism Festival which took place on the 29th – 31st May in Ireland.

 

 

May in review: Press Freedom in South Africa

World Press Freedom Day was celebrated earlier 03 May. According the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) the date has been earmarked to: celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.

According to the Reporters without Borders South Africa ranks 28th in world and third on the African continent on it’s World Press Freedom Index. South Africa’s position on this index is due to the country’s liberal constitution which enshrines freedom of expression and with it freedom of the press.

But apartheid-era legislation and the 2004 terrorism laws have been used to limit coverage of government institutions when “national interest” is supposedly at stake. Since 2015 the country has seen journalists being harassed and subjected to intimidation campaigns whilst covering the ruling ANC, government finances, the redistribution of land to the black population or the #Guptaleaks affair, all which are either off limits or provoke a hostile reaction from the authorities.

Now, more than ever, independent news media is needed not only in South Africa but the world. The South Africa Media Innovation Program is proud to be a part of the effort to promote press freedom and growth through our initiative that has provided grant funding to, so far, nine organizations and is still looking for more to fund in the near future

Notable Highlights

SAMIP advisory committee member and Wits Journalism lecturer Dinesh Balliah was named as one judges for the Forum for Community Journalist Awards 2017. Balliah will be judging the digital journalist category alongside SABC Digital News editor in chief Izak Minnaar.

Volume Media launched a new website. The startup, that was founded by Paul McNally and Roland Perron, remains committed in growing the community radio space in South Africa and has partnered with a number of local radio stations and NGOs in efforts to gather and broadcast hyperlocal stories.

Yusuf and Sumaiya Omar, from Hashtag our SA, were profiled by Business Insider. For the work they’ve done all over the world. The two continue to grow the mobile journalism space through training workshops and partnerships with universities.

Throughout the month of June the SAMIP will be going through applications for general entry as the program expands on its current cohort of participants. Remember to submit your organization or project to potentially get in our exciting initiative.

 

And the next lit news startup is…

GSport 4 Girls, Politcally Aweh and Quintessential ZA walked away with the grand prize at the SAMIP/Duke Menell Media Exchange’s first ever pitch battle called Perfect Pitch.

The three winners were part of a group of eight invited startups who got the chance to pitch their projects to our esteemed panel of judges consisting of: MDIF entrepreneur in residence Matthew Buckland, Wits Journalism lecturer and SAMIP advisory committee member Dinesh Baliah and SAMIP program manager Bilal Randeree.

The winning startups will get a chance to be entered into our program through general applications, whilst also receiving some valuable mentoring from Buckland.

The teams behind the winning pitches are:

GSport 4 Girls: Kass Naidoo and Ryk Meiring

GSport 4 Girls was established in August 2006 to raise the profile of women’s sport in SA and tell the ‘good story’ while encouraging Corporate South Africa to back our female athletes.

Politically Aweh: Stephen Horn

Politically Aweh is a video-first news & politics media brand. We are creating a high quality infotainment show in association with the award-winning online news publication, Daily Maverick.

Quintessential ZA: Quintus Potgeiter and Tayla Welch

Quintessential ZA is a content hub that has more than 9 podcasts running concurrently and a presence on YouTube. Quintessential ZA is building a new nation with the next generation. Their presenters are empowering their communities with quintessentially South African podcasts, video content, articles, and more.

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.