Africa’s first major contest designed to promote the development of digital media products and innovations is now accepting applications. African News Innovation Challenge (ANIC) will provide grants from $12,500 to $100,000 for the best projects aimed at strengthening and transforming African news media.
The African Media Initiative (AMI), Africa’s largest association of media owners and operators, announced the contest last November as part of a pan-African initiative to spur digital experimentation and technology-driven projects and startups.
“African media have a tremendous opportunity to leapfrog the business disruption faced by media in Europe and the US,” says AMI chief executive Amadou Mahtar Ba. “The growing reach of mobile networks and improving Internet access is beginning to reshape the media landscape in Africa. We believe this competition will help African news organisations stay ahead of the curve.”
The contest is modeled on the highly successful Knight News Challenge in the United States. Grantees will also receive technical advice, startup support and one-on-one mentoring from the world’s top media experts.
Of particular interest are proposals that improve data-based investigative journalism, audience engagement, mobile news distribution, data visualisation, new revenue models and workflow systems.
Contest partners include Omidyar Network, Google, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the U.S. State Department, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).
“Omidyar Network is delighted to be supporting the African News Innovation Challenge,” said Stephen King, partner at Omidyar Network. “Across the continent we are seeing innovative ways in which technology is providing people with greater access to information. This challenge is a great opportunity for journalists, entrepreneurs and technologists to join forces and help enable the African media to hold their leaders to account.”
Digital strategist Justin Arenstein, a Knight International Journalism Fellow working with AMI, is leading the initiative. The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) in Washington, D.C., administers the Knight Fellowships.
How to apply:
Entries must be submitted to the ANIC website by midnight (Central African Time) on July 10, 2012.
Who can apply:
Proposals may be submitted by news pioneers from anywhere in the world, but entries must have an African media partner who will help develop and test the innovation. Projects that are designed for Africa will stand a better chance of receiving support.
Projects of interest:
ANIC is looking for new ways to create, discuss and share news and make quality journalism sustainable. This could include new revenue or production models, new ways to gather, produce or distribute news. Ideas that can be scaled up across the continent or replicated elsewhere are of particular interest. Preference will be given to ideas that solve bottlenecks facing Africa’s media.