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.
Convert the Kenyan-built ConvergeCMS and workflow system for newsrooms into a pan-African cloud-supported platform to help streamline and professionalise African newsrooms.
There are many CMS platforms like WordPress and Drupal Gardens, plus many proprietary editorial content production systems - but no free open source solutions designed for African newsrooms to manage editorial workflow.
Editorial production is about checks and balances. Material needs to be edited, fact-checked, lawyered, and then packaged for multiple media outlets / platforms as quickly and efficiently as possible. Most African newsrooms cannot, however, afford the very expensive Northern proprietary software solutions available. ConvergeCMS offers an already tested and proven plug&play solution.
ConvergeCMS already works. It is used as the primary production system for Kenya’s 3rd largest media group. ConvergeCMS is scalable beyond Kenya because it offers a proven solution to a challenge facing media everywhere: finding a cost-effective but robust and flexible content production system that seamlessly provides cross-media publication. ConvergeCMS will offer newsrooms a server-based management system, that is dynamically updated and maintained via the Cloud. To help build traction, and grow a community of users, ConvergeCMS will use portion of the ANIC grant to setup and support the platform in influential newsrooms in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.
The founder and chief architect of Converge, Allan Lykke Christensen, will lead the project. He will be assisted by full-time software engineer Raymond Wanyoike, supported by two additional developers and an additional designer based in Kenya. The development team will offer real-time online support for the pilot partners in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Over the past six years Converge Editorial has been developed as a self-hosting solution. For the past 2 years it has been used in production environment in Kenya. The production-ready application includes workflows and routing of content, content editing and review, search engine and archiving, consumption of external newswires (e.g. Reuters, AFP, and web feeds), archiving of media items, planning of editorial content, and dissemination of content to different platforms (e.g. Joomla, Drupal and mobile apps).
Funding for the project is based on the development required to bring the already production-ready system on-line with cloud-support. The project will be able to fund itself through annual support and maintenance costs paid by subscribed newsrooms.