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New year, more SAMIP

The year started off with a bang for the South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP). With 12 grantees under our banner, and more to come, we have our work cut out for us in 2019. 

Last year we ran workshops, trainings and other interventions in order to assist our grantees in growing their projects and businesses. We also attended a number of events and networking opportunities with our fellow media partners and will do so again this year.

A quick December update

December was a crazy month for SAMIP and while we were quiet on the website as 2018 came to a close, we were all over the show in the final stretch of the year. 

The program officer, Siyabonga Africa, and program assistant, Lerato Mashianoke, travelled to the Eastern Cape for Highway Africa which has been dubbed the largest news media conference on the African continent. The program officer was invited to run a workshop on media entrepreneurship and to deliver the keynote address on the final day of the conference that was held at Rhodes University in Grahamstown.

Siyabonga Africa was interviewed by SAfm’s Sakina Kamwendo during Highway Africa on media entrepreneurship.

At the same time the Open Society Foundation of South Africa was holding its 25th anniversary celebrations that were attended by our program manager, Bilal Randeree. The program got a special mention from OSF president Patrick Gaspard.

Onwards and forwards

After our December break the program reconvened with plans to further develop the current cohort of participants whilst also looking to add new ones and potentially investing in them too.

Our first meeting with the grantees saw the program flying in delegates from each project to Johannesburg for a kick-off event at the Wits Journalism department in Braamfontein. There we were hosted by Africa Check, a fact-checking non-profit that has stellar work in debunking falsehoods and misinformation on the continent.

We were given a presentation on the work Africa Check does by its TRI Facts general manager Aniesha Bulbulia, TRI Facts head of partnerships and engagement Nishen Naicker, and Africa Check acting deputy chief editor Kate Wilkinson. 

Some of the interesting projects we were shown include their Promise Tracker which keeps tabs on the promises made by three incumbent political parties in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.

Afterwards we updated our grantees on the status of the program and our plans for the year ahead.

2019 and beyond

Beyond January the program will be hosting workshops on native advertising, memberships and subscriptions and many more topics in the space of digital media. 

We are always looking for new and innovative ideas so if you haven’t already please fill in our enquiry form.

We look forward to pushing the boundaries of innovation and transformation in local media and to that end we wish you all a happy and successful 2019.

Doing it for Madiba

The month of July has been dedicated to former president Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela who’s sacrifice and work during the Apartheid era and into South Africa’s democratic freedom inspired millions. At the South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP) we have been inspired to find more ways to assist in the democratisation of our media space by supporting independent media.

Throughout the month of July the program has been hard at work with its grantees and beyond on ways to be conducive in the growth of a free press.

One of our grantees, Hashtag Our SA, participated in the biggest cleanup to take place on African continent. More than 6,000 people across nine different countries participated in this effort.

Our other grantees have also been busy throughout the month of July participating in media events and conferences to showcase their work and expertise.

Radio Days Africa

The largest radio conference on the African continent, Radio Days Africa, took place during the first week of July. The conference brought together stakeholders and interested parties in the radio and broadcasting space for a series of presentations and discussions about the industry and its future.

Three of our grantees, Children’s Radio Foundation, Volume and Soul City, had a presence at the conference where they got to present their projects and lead panel discussions.

Soul City presented their feminist platform, Not Yet Uhuru which will be seeing a big launch in the near future. The platform will feature discussions on topics such as  sex, friendship, alcohol abuse, financial independence and life in general.

Volume co-founder Paul McNally sat on an innovation panel on the last day of the conference where the future of the radio industry was discussed.

SAMIP at Hacks/Hackers

Our program officer, Siyabonga Africa, spoke at Hacks/Hackers Johannesburg’s media entrepreneurism event: How to be a media entrepreneur. The night was dedicated to discussing entrepreneurism in the news media space and how one can get involved in it.

Former Huffington Post SA editor-in-chief Verashni Pillay was also present to share on her experience with the news site that has now been shuttered by Media24. Pillay also touched on opportunities for startups in the media space and what is missing in the South African context.

General Entry

The program has officially closed applications for general entry. We started the process at the end of March this year and since then we have received more than 50 applications from some amazing projects, startups and organizations.

Our advisory committee deliberated on the finalists and we will update the public with regards to their decision once it has been approved by our board in New York City.

Moving forward

Now that general entry has closed the program will be taking inquiries for the foreseeable future. The inquiries are means for us to stay informed with regards to what interesting projects or organizations are out there in the independent media space.

As the year enters its final two quarters SAMIP will be working on providing capacity building initiatives for its grantees and our partners. We also will be attending some major media events in the upcoming months including: Media Indaba 2018 and the African Investigative Journalism Conference. We look forward to seeing and interacting with you all there.