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.
Build a tool that allows news organisations to create a mobile-optimised platform for aggregating, verifying, publishing and rewarding citizen journalism.
CNN’s iReport, Citizenside, Meedan & Demotix offer ways for citizen reporters to increase engagement and make money. Citizen Desk will allow any newsroom to build their own sustainable, version of these platforms. An alpha prototype video can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcDPxx9WU4A
African news organisations need the authenticity and breadth of coverage that only citizens can provide; citizen journalists have something significant to say but must reach people. Many also need to cover costs, something news organisations can do. Our solution helps both by increasing reader engagement and opening new revenue streams.
Citizen Desk is installed by the newsroom (or purchased as web service), and generates a mobile-optimised html page easily embedded into their existing website (it works alongside existing newsroom systems). Via BBM, SMS, email and the web, citizen journalists can submit news, photos and video.
The news organisation is free to define both a verification system (editorial or community-driven) plus a revenue and reward system. Sourcefabric project partner TagesWoche use a crowdfunding donation model, but other reward possibilities includes advertising, paid assignments, badges and/or voting (please see Business requirements document for more on this).
Citizen journalists gain exposure and possible financial reward; news organisations gain vital, up-to-the-minute news reports and can leverage the community and traffic to both increase readership and therefore advertising revenue.
@Verdade is a free, high quality newspaper with the estimated largest readership in Mozambique. Innovative offline distribution models get the paper to an otherwise hard-to-reach audience, while strong social media presences engage online readers. Sourcefabric is an award-winning, not-for-profit organisation that builds open source tools for media. Sourcefabric works to increase the sustainability, visibility and quality of output for independent news enterprises and has over a decade of experience working with African media in Senegal, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria and more. (See attached Annual Report for more.)
Citizen Desk would form part of a larger newsroom technology stack developed by Sourcefabric called Superdesk. Around 75% of the codebase for the project already exists with Sourcefabric’s Live Desk, and has been tested in live news environments. This includes a prototype for submission of content, a processing and posting environment, and the ability to output to any web page.
@Verdade’s extensive Citizen Reporter community already report via Facebook, Twitter, email, SMS and BBM - these reports often become print news. The next stage is to work with them to optimise key journalistic workflows, hone output to web, WAP and mobile browsers, and to enable tools for content verification, frictionless social sharing, and rewards for submissions.
Citizen Desk will be free to download, open source and maintained, developed, documented and supported by Sourcefabric. Platform can be media or community-owned and would form part of an organisation’s larger revenue strategy. Costs for organisations involve initial installation, basic training and minimal server costs.
Requested amount from ANIC: $65,000
Expected amount of time required to complete project: 12 months
Total Project Cost: $135,080
Development is split into two phases. The first phase of development, which ANIC would fund, will result in a finished tool immediately deployable in newsrooms, alongside existing CMSes, with minimum installation. Please see attached Overview and Business Requirements documents. Detailed budget is sent through the closed submission email address.