To assist African Journalists in digital age, Google is partnering with African Media Initiative (AMI) to launch the maiden edition of a technology-driven contest – African News Innovation Challenge (ANIC).
Joining Google in funding the initiative are Omidyar Network, 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).

Google’s Head of Communications for sub-Saharan Africa, Julie Taylor says, “We’re committed to working with journalists across Africa to help them use technologies to gather and tell important stories. Google is keen to help because we think the future is digital, and we want to see journalism flourish in the digital age.”

Google is supporting the challenge with $1million.

The contest tagged, “African News Innovation Challenge (ANIC)” is modelled after the United States’ Knight News Challenge. It is open to journalists living in Africa or journalists working as a partner with African media.
According to the challenge website, ANIC is the continent’s largest fund for supporting new media experimentation and digital news startups in everything from data driven journalism and investigative reporting, to newsroom management, audience engagement, digital convergence, and media business models.
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.

An ANIC panel of judges, following public voting and a review by an international jury, will select winning projects. Finalists will get a chance to refine their proposals during one-on-one mentoring sessions at a ‘tech camp’ in Zanzibar in August 2012.

The project will provide grants from US$12 500 to US$100 000 for the best projects that aimed at strengthening and transforming African news media. Participants are expected to summit a proposals that improve data-based investigative journalism, mobile news distribution and new revenue models. Grantees will receive technical advice in carrying out their projects.

Interested participants are to apply on the challenge web site – by July 10, 2012.
“African media have a tremendous opportunity to leapfrog the business disruption faced by media in Europe and the US. 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,” says AMI chief executive Amadou Mahtar Ba.

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