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.
Develop non-partisan fact-checking website based in South Africa into a wider African network, enhancing user engagement and use of crowdsourcing.
To our knowledge, no-one else is developing a non-profit network of fact-checking sites based in journalism schools round Africa, combining journalism and crowdsourcing to bring scrutiny to public debate.
For media to compete successfully for audiences, they need to be seen to provide credible information to users. Across Africa, reliable information on topics vital for life, society and business is often hard to find. For journalists, the tools for fact-checking the key claims in public debate are often inadequate.
Our fact-checking website will be launched in September based in the University of the Witwatersrand journalism department, producing fact-checking reports daily. As part of the process, the website team will engage with professional and citizen journalists round South Africa, providing them with access both to the full archive of fact-checking reports as well as to a fact-checking toolkit of tips and a database of sources to use to fact-check claims themselves. At the same time, by using Wits University journalism students to run our site, the team will help spread fact-checking techniques and culture in the next generation of journalists.
Africa Check’s director is Peter Cunliffe-Jones, deputy director of AFP Foundation, working under a board whose members bring specialist skills in media training, charity finance and charity fundraising. In South Africa, the project is led by Professor Anton Harber of the Witwatersrand University. The website editor is Ruth Becker, a highly-regarded journalist with significant experience of using technology, from mobiles to social media, to improve rural communities’ access to health information. The project also benefits from the support of an advisory panel of eminent figures from African and world journalism and links to SA media such as Radio 702.
Version 1 of the Africa Check website is being designed and built now by a web design agency experienced in user-led design. To guide the process we have created a focus-group of journalism students, media experts and media practitioners in the UK and South Africa to comment each stage. The design is open-sourced, based on WordPress. We will launch Version 1 in mid-September after testing late August. The funding we seek is for a Version 2 to be built in 2013 that will enhance user engagement and enable us to provide the platform in French, extending its reach in Africa.
We have contacted a variety of potential donors about medium-term funding partnerships after any ANIC funding expires and plan three fundraising launches in South Africa, the UK and the United States later this year. We also plan a small revenue-generating service. We are confident these efforts will sustain the project.
- $130,000 in 2013. We are seeking the other $55,000 of this from other donors. Costs would rise if we do as hoped add Nigeria and Senegal.