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.
moJO will pull together a collection of proven media monitoring / quality control tools, including NewsDiffs, Churnalism, MediaBugs, and MediaMap into an integrated toolkit for African media observatories and civil society. These tools are used in a fragmented way, in the Global North, more as curiosities than a serious toolkit for media analysts. We will pull them together into a unified and integrated platform of interoperable components, with user manuals and documentation. And, we will set up a showcase instance of the new platform in South Africa, to prove that the tools can produce meaningful results, in an ongoing and systematic way.
Africa’s leading journalism observator, Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), is leading the initiative. MMA’s director, William Bird, will manage the project, while Wellington Radu together with Aidan Roberts will lead a research team to help populate the platform. NewsDiffs development team, consisting of journalism digital pioneer Jennifer 8. Lee and developers Eric Price and Greg Price will help re-engineer their platform for African circumstances. MediaMap inventor, Sergiu Rosca, will help customise his platform, and will also help integrate the open source Churnalism project. A South African based developer will provide overall technical management of the project. The results will be showcase to media worldwide through the HacksHackers network, in which Jennifer plays a leading role.
MMA is already Africa’s leading media observatory, with 19 years of media expertise. An alpha version of NewsDiffs is running, including in Argentina, and has been showcased by the NewYorkTimes amongst others. Churnalism and MediaBugs are both running stably as a public service in the UK. MediaMap’s alpha version won a World Bank Institute open data award in Moldova, and will be heavily customised for African requirements. The primary focus for our grant will be to refine NewsDiffs, customise Churnalism, reconfigure MediaMap, and ensure that all the tools can be merged into a coherent platform for redeployment elsewhere.
Refining NewsDiffs and MediaMap, and building the platform are where the major upfront costs are. Once the platform is built, with each of the tools merged into it, the system will be integrated into the core operations of MMA and organisations like it, with negligible additional or ongoing operating costs.