ANIC is looking for ideas that will transform the way that African media work. This means that your idea should offer significant and tangible improvements to existing tools or techniques, or should propose new ways for African journalists to gather news, tell stories, engage with audiences, or sustain media organisations.
Ideas that have the potential to be replicated or that could scale continentally will have an advantage.
Create a real time web and mobile channel for ordinary citizens to participate and ask questions at press conferences and public meetings.
CoveritLive offers something similar, but is a paid service. StarLive will be a free, open source platform for media to amplify their audience’s voices at public press conferences and townhall meetings.
African journalists are accused of being elitist and having lost touch with real people. Interviews with politicians or business leaders seldom speak to grassroots issues. StarLive will change this, by allowing citizens to send questions directly to journalists during press conferences / public meetings for them to relay to the podium.
StarLive will operate as a cross-platform service, with a mobi-site and mobile app (that will aggregate submissions via hashtagged social media such as Twitter) serving as the primary channels for citizens to submit questions / comments for live events. A more detailed HTML5 responsive website portal (optimised for tablets / feature phones) will serve as a repository for questions and responses, as well as offering additional polling / survey features, public fora for in-depth discussion about public issues, and mechanisms for submitting crowdsourced video and images. StarLive will integrate with Star newspaper’s existing citizen reporter app, to provide an interactive community ‘layer’.
The Star is Kenya’s third largest daily newspaper. The development team will be led by Star’s webmaster and digital lead, Dickens Olewe, who successfully led development of the newspaper’s new citizen reporter app for smartphones. Olewe also won a prize from the World Bank Institute for a data journalism sports analysis service he built for the newspaper. Allan Christensen will serve as voluntary advisor on the project, bringing experience from Danish Management Group. StarLive will also interview journalists across the continent who already use tools like Twitter in an ad-hoc fashion to solicit questions or information during press conferences.
Star newspaper’s mobile-based citizen reporter app is already built, as is its website. The team of developers that built it is already on full-time staff, and ready for a new project. The Star has already installed and uses ConvergeCMS that will enable us to feed all input from StarLive into our main editorial workflow. We are also already experimenting with readers sending questions to journalists during press conferences, using Twitter with specially designated hashtags.
Once built, the service will cost very little to operate and will be integrated as a core reporting tool for the newsroom. The StarLive website will be run by Star’s existing web team.