Announcing $1 Million Fund for News Innovation

$1m Up For Grabs in African News Innovation Challenge.

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 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 visualization, new revenue models and workflow systems.

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 U.S.,” 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 organizations stay ahead of the curve.”

Contest partners include Omidyar NetworkGoogle, 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 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 GREATEST INTEREST:

ANIC is seeking 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.

THE JUDGING PROCESS

Winning projects will be selected by an ANIC panel of judges, following public voting and a review by an international jury.

About ICFJ
The International Center for Journalists is a non-profit organization that advances quality journalism worldwide. Its programs 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 twitter.com/googleafrica

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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Our Mission

To support digital innovation and experimentation that seeks to improve the quality and impact of African journalism by using new digital tools and techniques for ‘making’ news, new ways for audiences to engage with news, and new models for media organisations to sustain themselves.