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.
Provide a service for communities in Africa to report social injustices via text messages, for investigation and publication by media.
Crowd-sourcing is popular but audiences in Africa are under-served. Radio stations inform, but often don’t ask. This SMS-based project will create informed engagement between civil society, media and governments.
Data collected from under-reported audiences in Africa via text messages and mobile applications will provide investigative journalists with information of priority public interest. The resulting investigative stories, backed up with credible data, will be shared with communities and the media in order to hold African leaders accountable for social injustices.
Mobile communication in Africa is more reliable and easier to access than internet or radio. According to GSM there are nearly 649 million subscribers in Africa and almost 86 million will be added by the end of 2012. New crowd-sourcing pilots using SMS have already been successful in Nigeria (Premium Times’ corruption stories), Malawi (Zodiak Radio’s fake pesticide stories) and Zimbabwe (HerZimbabwe’s women’s grievances). Crowd-sourcing by FAIR affiliated media houses in 10 African pilot countries and story follow up by FAIR’s investigative journalists would naturally highlight matters of national importance through social and mainstream media networks.
The Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR) is a network of more than 80 investigative journalists working in 38 African countries. FAIR members are constantly ‘digging up’ information about social injustices in their regions. Assisted by crowd-sourcing tools and data, these journalists can produce accurate databases which correspond with investigative stories. Future regional and continental stories would interrogate African authorities in a more methodical, fact-based manner. Crowd-sourcing tools have been developed by FAIR members independently, and the FAIR office is developing a format that will be applicable throughout Africa via mobile phones, and for integration with the FAIR website: www.fairreporters.org
FAIR has built up a network of professional investigative journalists and editors in Africa, most of who operate online as well as traditional media. Many have experience with crowd-sourcing, though are mostly not yet reaching national, let alone regional or continental audiences. FAIR’s ‘one SMS-number per country’ facility, aided by local radio and other CSO’s outreach, will get SMS’s from cross-national audiences reach investigative journalists. FAIR has recently revamped its website to enable interaction with mobile applications and social media tools. The FAIR website will host the continental mobile platform for the generated content.
‘Africa Investigated’ will feed data to selected journalists and editors for 12 months, and thereafter paid subscriptions offered to media outlets who find value in the service. FAIR will integrate the project onto its website with a view to getting other partners to support a second phase of 10 African countries.