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.
Create a self-moderating internet platform for the collection and dissemination of information on community issues in Africa.
Community reporting is not novel and other projects exist in this space, our proposal attempts to introduce a quality assurance mechanism by borrowing from the Slashdot mass moderation system.
African communities are under-represented in the media - local issues receive little coverage and information is usually transmitted through word of mouth. Through our platform communities share information on medicine availability at their local health facility, a violent incident at a voting station or reporting the atmosphere at a concert.
Using their mobile phones, citizens send anecdotes and photos to a central database. Submissions are moderated by their peers using a democratic moderation system at a local level allowing for diverse views to compete in a marketplace of ideas.
We have experience with setting up platforms for data collection by community monitors in 8 African countries through the Tendai project. Partnerships with civil society are already in place, and aspects of this system are currently in operation.
The peer review system provides a self-managing mechanism for ensuring that important news receives exposure through a democratic selection process.
Through their association with Tendai, Adi Eyal an IT4D software developer and Siobhan Cassidy, an experienced commissioning and managing editor were approached by the Zimbabwe Peace Project and Transparency International Zimbabwe to reproduce Tendai for the purpose of monitoring the 2013 Zimbabwe elections as well as reporting of corruption. We are also in discussions with a number of other organisations across the region about content contribution.
A version of the application has been deployed in 8 southern African countries starting in November 2011. Community monitors affiliated with local civil society organisations use inexpensive Android phones to collect information on medicine availability, capture short anecdotes about access to medicines and interview patients using the phone as a dictaphone. Content is sent to the Tendai and made available for download and advocacy purposes. The software is based on the open source Open Data Kit.
Apart from some minor software development, the majority of the work is involved in setting up initial story collection and dissemination processes.
The system will be housed institutionally in a relevant media or civil society organisation. On going support will be provided by special interest civil society groups focusing on health, elections and corruption and other area. Media organisations interested in strengthening community-based news reporting may be interested in supporting this initiative.