[ddj] Open Data + Data Journalism projects named amongst 40 finalists in $1m African News Innovation Challenge

Justin Arenstein justinarenstein at gmail.com
Tue Sep 11 09:41:28 UTC 2012


For Immediate Release: September 10, 2012

40 Finalists Named in $1m Innovation Challenge

Forty (40) pioneering digital journalism projects have been shortlisted as
finalists in the inaugural $1 million African News Innovation Challenge

The initiative is the largest fund for digital journalism experimentation
in Africa, and is designed to spur solutions to the business, distribution
and workplace challenges that face the media industry.

In all, 513 applicants were carefully screened by a technical review panel
that evaluated which projects have the best potential for strengthening and
transforming African news media.

Projects were also assessed for their potential to be replicated by media
elsewhere in Africa, or to be scaled up across the continent, to create
wide and sustained impact.

“We are thrilled with the broad range of innovation and ideas among the
finalists,” says ANIC manager, Justin
Arenstein is a Knight International Journalism
who leads the initiative as part of a wider digital innovation program with
Africa’s largest association of media owners and operators, the African
Media Initiative <http://www.africanmediainitiative.org/> (AMI). “The teams
with the strongest links to newsrooms and technology partners had an
advantage, as did those that could already point to some proofs-of-concept.”

Short-listed finalists include proposals to improve data-driven
investigative journalism and the security of journalists or their sources,
as well as improve audience engagement, mobile news distribution, data
visualization, new revenue models and workflow systems.

“The finalists are also all projects that haven’t lost sight of the core
focus for the initiative: quality journalism,” says Arenstein. “There is a
danger in any innovation program that we get blinded by gadgets and hype.
The technical review panel therefore focused on projects that demonstrated
a keen commitment to journalism itself.”

Finalists will attend a TechCamp in Zanzibar, in partnership with the
Tech at State program. ,There they will have the opportunity to refine and
defend their proposals in consultation with some of the world’s leading
media technology strategists, including experts from the U.K. Guardian’s
data team, Mozilla’s OpenNews initiative, Google, previous Knight News
Challenge winners, and the World Association of Newspapers.

A separate jury of international media strategists, technology innovators,
and funding experts will evaluate the revised project plans and will select
an estimated 20 winners. They will be announced at the continent’s largest
annual gathering of media executives, the African Media Leaders Forum
(AMLF), in Dakar, Senegal, on November 10.

Winners will receive cash grants ranging from $12,500 to $100,000, as well
as additional technology and business development support. They will also
have access to a dedicated AMI CivicTech code lab, for technical advice,
start-up support and one-on-one mentoring from the world’s top media

ANIC’s founding partners include Omidyar Network <http://www.omidyar.com/>,
Google <http://www.google.com/>, the Bill & Melinda Gates
the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation<http://www.knightfoundation.org/>,
the U.S. State Department <http://www.state.gov/>, the Konrad Adenauer
Stiftung (KAS) <http://www.kas.de/wf/en/> and the World Association of
Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) <http://www.wan-ifra.org/>.

Applicants were encouraged to enter their submissions in the “open” public
category, so that they could receive public comments and reviews. The
technical review panel and the international jury give preference to
applications in this category. A “closed” category was provided for
projects with proprietary trade or technology secrets. We put an asterisk
next to the closed entries.

The finalists, in alphabetical order, are:

1.) actNOW<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26919239666/actnow-an-app-to-allow-audiences-to-act-on>
A proposed mobile application that empowers audiences to act on
investigative reportage, by petitioning government or corporations, in
response to televised, radio, or print exposes.

2.) AdBooker *
A streamlined workflow management system for generating quotations,
managing artwork production, and placing advertising in print media, while
also serving as a staff / personnel management tool.

3.) AfricaCheck<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26823095918/africacheck-non-partisan-crowdsourced-fact-checking>
A proposed pan-African, non-partisan and crowdsourced fact-checking website
that systematically verifies claims made in media reports.

4.) AfriCartoons<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26931343616/africartoons-com-creating-a-platform-to-promote>
A proposed pan-African syndication portal for editorial / news cartoons and
news infographics, as well as other editorial illustrations.

5.) africanDRONE<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26930491381/africandrone-journalistic-eyes-in-africas-skies>
A proposed network of three journalistic ‘eye in the sky’ drone teams at TV
stations in east, west, and southern Africa.

6.) AfricanSpending<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26778973618/africanspending-improving-watchdog-journalism-by>
An African data portal, supported by an intensive fellowship programme,
that improves watchdog journalism by “mapping the money” through
aggregation, analysis and visualisation of government budgets from across
the continent.

7.) BudgIT<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26930410682/budgit-news-in-interactive-and-infographics>
An infographic service that produces financial literacy materials for
newsrooms using both static and interactive graphical explanations of State
budgets and other public finances.

8.) BloggingGhana<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26929459444/the-local-content-market-bloggingghana>
A centralised aggregator and syndication market for Ghanaian blogs, to
showcase the best local writers / content producers for republication in
legacy media.

9.) Code4Ghana<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26931191253/code4ghana>
A fellowship programme to strengthen media’s watchdog powers by embedding
coders into public interest newsrooms to kickstart data-driven journalism,
by harnessing newly available open government data and by sensitising
Ghana’s tech tech community to media’s needs.

10.) Citizen Desk<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26909089944/citizen-desk>
A validation toolkit, to help news organisations run mobile-optimised
platforms for aggregating, verifying, publishing and rewarding citizen

11.) Circle <http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26903556215/circle>
Circle provides newsrooms with a toolkit for creating citizen / audience
organised ‘circles’ of advocacy groups or stakeholders around news events
or issues.

12.) CorruptionNET<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26823985235/corruptionnet-crowdsourced-citizen-reports-exposing>
A ‘5w&H’-driven journalistic template system for crowdsourced /
citizen-based corruption reporting projects, in partnership with Africa’s
largest social mobile network (MXit), to help newsrooms solicit verifiable
and actionable information, while still protecting the identity of the

13.) Churnalism for
Extend the UK-based churnalism.com to work with African news sources, press
releases and Wikipedia to help combat plagiarism and ‘churning’ of press
releases in African media.

14.) ConvergeCMS<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26822904522/convergecms-a-cross-platform-workflow-management>
An open source and data-optimised, cross-platform workflow management and
publishing system to help streamline and professionalise African newsrooms.

15.) CheckDesk<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26896085998/checkdesk-a-digital-newsroom-where-journalists-and>
An ‘open news’ diary, content editing and fact-checking platform to allow
audiences into the newsrooms, to help shape media content through
collaborative co-creation of news.

16.) DataDesk<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26825106095/datadesk-a-helpdesk-for-investigative-data>
A ScraperWiki outpost and helpdesk in Cape Town’s HacksHackers chapter to
provide free data mining and coding assistance to investigative, data, and
other digital journalism pioneers.

17.) DataWrapper<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26827482702/datawrapper-free-open-source-creation-of-interactive>
A partnership with African newsrooms to implement the new open source
DataWrapper visualization tool, to help newsrooms publish interactive
infographics as quickly as possible with minimal technical skills.

18.) End-to-End
An investigative demonstration of “supply chain” mapping and social network
analysis, into the cocoa industry, using the SourceMap platform to help
show newsrooms how to present complex investigative stories in an
interactive yet simple way.

19.) FlashCast  *
A platform using smart, location-aware LED displays to transmit local news,
with audience ‘conversation’ responses around current events, to passengers
in public transit / taxis.

20.) Green Hornet<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26910449994/green-hornet-tools-to-protect-journalistic-sources>
A user-friendly plug-and-play toolkit for African journalists to protect
whistleblowers, and sources in collaboration with the Tor Project and Al

21.) ImpimpiTagz *
A cross-platform citizen reporter app that allows citizens to report the
abuse of public facilities or trust by government officials and elected

22.) INVSTG8.NET Microcollaboration for
A community-driven platform to enable journalists to surmount structural
barriers to news-gathering, through micro-collaboration, by linking them to
data and information via social tools/technologies.

23.) LandQuest<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26898893922/landquest>
A toolkit of interoperable resources for data extraction / data scraping to
help newsrooms find, collect and then structure information into datasets
for journalistic analysis, with the prototype pilot project creating an
online, open, and location-driven database of Kenyan land ownership.

24.) ListeningPost<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26903287121/listeningpost-actionable-intel-from-social-media>
Africa’s proposed first social-media driven newsroom that produces
actionable intel from citizen reporters, by establishing a Storyful
listening post and a ScoopShot-type citizen reporter app calibrated for
poorer communities.

25.) MicroScope<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26922506818/digital-platform-for-health-investigations>
A transnational platform for team-based collaboration by data-driven
investigative journalists from a coalition of legacy media to track toxic
and fake medicines being dumped and sold in African countries, through
information sharing, data wrangling, and shared reporting.

26.) moJO - keeping media honest by monitoring online
A plug-and-play toolkit of analytical software tools for African journalism
observatories to keep the media honest and help improve media

27.) Mekooa: feel the pulse of your local community from miles
A platform for creating personalised news from subscribers’ home regions,
for migrant workers or Africans in the diaspora, keeping them informed
about important events and issues back home.

28.) Mapping Africa’s Wealth *
An investigative toolkit for media in African countries with little open
data, showing media how to mine offshore data troves for locally relevant
information, as well as tools for transforming offline information into
actionable digital data, using a transnational investigation into Africa’s
extractive industries by a network of newsrooms and technology partners as
the proof-of-concept showcase.

29.) mWallet<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26551792398/using-mbanking-and-ivr-to-increase-revenue-and>
An integrated IVR and mWallet system to provide community radio stations
with new revenue streams from social listings, announcements, and audio
‘classified’ advertising.

30.) Newsbooks Africa<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26896009530/newsbooks-africa>
A streamlined workflow management platform to help journalists and media
organisations write, collaborate, publish and sell print and digital books
based on reportage. The system will be piloted at a number of African media

31.) newsAPI<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26841620976/newsapi-a-developer-api-for-ugandas-vision-media>
An API (Application Programming Interface) that will give 3rd party
developers licensed access to editorial and other content at Uganda’s
largest media house to help create new ways to share and monetize news.

32.) openAFRICA<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26922477022/openafrica-a-semantic-toolkit-for-analysing>
A digital document and knowledge management toolkit for African
freedom-of-information organisations and investigative journalists, using a
pan-African semantic document repository, to improve insight into and
analysis of public knowledge.

33.) ODADI - liberating public data to strengthen African watchdog
An incubator for watchdog journalism in South Africa that embeds data
wranglers and coders into newsrooms, with support from an external
development team, for improving evidence-based reportage and investigative

34.) OurHealth<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26220694015/ourhealth-mobile-monitoring>
A mobile-optimised citizen reporting tool for soliciting reports at
specific venues, with the prototype project deployed at hospitals and
clinics in 52 districts in South Africa for patients, nurses / doctors, and
news correspondents to report on service standards and related issues.

35.) Oxpeckers<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26825112012/oxpeckers-rooting-out-africas-ecological-parasites>
A “newsroom stack” of interoperable social network analysis, source
document management, and other digital analysis and data management tools
for investigative newsrooms, with the prototype toolkit piloted in an
environmental “CSI team” at Africa’s leading investigative newspaper.

36.) StarLive<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26686049870/starlive-giving-citizens-a-voice-at-press-conferences>
A real-time web and mobile channel for ordinary citizens to participate and
ask questions, via connected reporters, at press conferences and public

37.) Sauti ya Mtaa: Geo-located Citizen
A location-driven publication platform that uses geo-fencing for hyperlocal
news, commentary, video and data, to allow communities to share news.

38.) TruthGauge - Keeping ‘em
A platform for the media to rate the accuracy of claims made by
politicians, so as to keep the electorate well-informed and the politicians

39.) Wikipedia Mobile
A campaign to boost, by hundreds of millions, the number of Africans
reading Wikipedia in 37 African languages on mobile devices.

40.) QuestionBox<http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/post/26917994719/community-empowerment-information-across-liberia>
A public booth and audio notice board system for deep rural villages, with
mobiles in them, to allow citizen activists and community radio to inform
communities about social projects and collect and broadcast feedback.


Contact: Justin Arenstein, ANIC Fund Manager
Telephone: +27.82.374.0812, justinarenstein at gmail.com

Contact: Sonja Matanovic, ICFJ Communications Director
Telephone: +1.202.349.7624, smatanovic at icfj.org

Contact: Roukaya Kasenally, AMI Communications Director
Telephone: +, rkasenally at africanmediainitiative.org


About ICFJ
The International Center for Journalists is a non-profit organization that
advances quality journalism worldwide. Its programmes include the Knight
International Journalism Fellowships, and combine the best professional
standards with the latest digital innovations. ICFJ believes that
independent, vigorous media are crucial in improving the human condition.

About AMI
The African Media Initiative is the continent’s largest umbrella
association of African media owners, senior executives and other industry
stakeholders. AMI’s mandate is to serve as a catalyst for strengthening
African media by building the tools, knowledge resources and technical
capacity for African media to play an effective public interest role in
their societies. This mandate includes assisting with the development of
professional standards, financial sustainability, technological
adaptability and civic engagement.

About Google Inc.
Google’s innovative search technologies connect millions of people around
the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D.
students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top Web property in
all major global markets. Google's mission in Africa is to make the
Internet an integral part of every day life in Africa, by increasing its
relevance and usefulness, eliminating access barriers for potential users,
and developing products that are meaningful for countries in the region.
Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the
Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more information, visit
http://www.google.com/africa, see our Africa Blog,
http://google-africa.blogspot.com/ or follow us on Twitter

About Omidyar Network
Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing
the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their
lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam,
the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to
catalyze economic and social change. To date, Omidyar Network has committed
more than $500 million to for-profit companies and non-profit organizations
that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation
across multiple investment areas, including financial inclusion,
entrepreneurship, property rights, consumer Internet, mobile and government
transparency. To learn more, visit www.omidyar.com.

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