The new year has started strong for participants in the South Africa Media Innovation Program, with a host of new products and initiatives, a few early successes, and an opportunity for ten up-and-coming video producers. Here’s our first update of what’s been happening in the SAMIP community:

Volume and M&G picked for global membership program

We were delighted to see two SAMIP orgs selected to join the Membership in News Fund, a global initiative to catalyse membership design in newsrooms around the world. Volume, a podcasting start-up, and Mail & Guardian, one of South Africa’s longest running independent news publishers, will join a cohort of 16 newsrooms from across the world working on developing membership programs. The Membership Puzzle Project, which hosts the Membership in News fund with MDIF, previously worked with Daily Maverick, another SAMIP participant, to develop their successful Maverick Insider program.

Training the next generation of African podcasters

The Radio Workshop, a social enterprise started by the Children’s Radio Foundation, is accepting applications for the first African Podcast Workshop, a free 10-module training for aspiring podcasters across the continent, aged 18-35. Apply before 7 March 2021, here.

The Radio Workshop team also featured at Africa Pod Fest last week (happy Africa Podcast Day, everyone) where they previewed their soon-to-be-launched show, ‘This Is Africa’.

Wanted: 10 video producers

Hashtag Our Stories is launching new shows and on the hunt for ten full-time video producers to remotely help citizens script and shoot videos. To be considered for the role you need strong fact-checking, research and writing clever copy. To apply, send a CV and three story ideas (relevant to people aged 13-24) to [email protected]. They are looking for strong visuals, story arcs and news hooks.

Scrolla marks the lives of those ‘loved and lost’

Scrolla, a bilingual mobile news platform, has introduced an obituary column, ‘Loved and Lost’, to mark the passing of ordinary South Africans, many of whom died of complications related to Covid-19.

The new column is a sombre addition to the outfit’s expanding coverage, which also includes a series on up and coming South African musicians.

Daily Vox shares its winning newsletter strategies

While The Daily Vox is best known for its social media clout, the youth-media outlet recently celebrated impressive growth in its newsletter publishing, having grown its email audience by 150% in five months. At a recent SAMIP community event, Daily Vox’s Fatima Moosa shared some of the simple strategies that attracted thousands of new subscribers: working with Touchbase Pro, a local email publishing platform, they tweaked the use of sign-up forms on social media and the website to make it easier for readers to subscribe, and optimized the look and feel of the newsletter itself.

Spotlighting women in sports

gsport for girls, an online initiative to profile women in sports, has seen their partnership with the Mail & Guardian continue to flourish, with weekly women’s sport content published on M&G’s digital platforms as well as its print edition.

Giving women the mic for state of the nation

As the media prepared to cover President Ramaphosa’s annual State of the Nation Address, Quote This Woman+ challenged newsrooms to draw on members of the QW+ expert community for insight and analysis, to ensure the post-SONA coverage reflected diverse voices and views.

A new podcast on State Capture

Volume has added another podcast to their repertoire: The Zondo Commission Unpacked, created in partnership with Corruption Watch, hosts a series of deep dive conversations on the Commission’s efforts to unravel systemic corruption between the state and private individuals. Listen here.