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Online journalism

  • impactAFRICA: $500k African data journalism fund launches

    Code for Africa on Monday announced the launch of impactAFRICA, a US$500 000 fund aimed at providing grants and technical support for impactful data journalism projects across the continent. The initiative comes from a partnership between Code for Africa and the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and is funded by a consortium of donors led by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), and including the World Bank and CFI Media Cooperation (CFI). The fund, which is already open for submissions, claims to be the first data-driven investigative journalism on the continent. According to a press release sent to Memeburn,...

  • Times Media bolsters digital division with 3 new appointments

    Times Media on Thursday announced that it had bolstered its digital division with three appointments at the senior executive level. The new hires see Riaan Wolmarans appointed Head of Audience Development, Percy Goetsch Head of Product, and Dan Calderwood Head of Multimedia. They will form part of the team directed by Lisa MacLeod, Head of Digital Publishing at Times Media. Macleod herself was poached from Media 24, where she served as GM for Digital Publishing, in June this year. The team will form a core part of positioning Times Media for an increasingly digital future. Their focus will be on...

  • Are selfie sticks and smartphones the future of TV newsrooms?

    Ask any contemporary journalist what pieces of equipment they couldn't live without and chances are most will immediately mention their smartphone. With it, they can take notes, live-tweet, record interviews and, send through on-the-spot footage. We're all pretty comfortable with that kind of journalism, especially in the online space, but is the smartphone about to have a seriously disruptive effect on TV news? Before you scroll straight to the comments section and type a long essay on the vast amounts of user-generated videos TV news channels ram down our throats on a daily basis, that's not what we're talking...

  • 4 things we learned about BuzzFeed from CEO Jonah Peretti’s memo to staff

    If you’ve spent any time on the Internet during the last few years, it would be almost impossible to avoid the content juggernaut by the name of BuzzFeed. Its influence over what we share and the way we share it has seeped into all aspects of online culture. And the numbers prove it: in a new memo to the company founder and CEO Jonah Perretti declares that “Today we are a global, cross-platform, tech-driven network generating FIVE BILLION monthly content views from our site, multiple BuzzFeed apps, and over 30 other platforms including Facebook video, YouTube, and Snapchat.” Those...

  • #FeesMustFall: how SA students are using social to subvert traditional media

    The revolution will be tweeted. It's a refrain which first entered popular consciousness during the Arab Spring, where social media played a crucial role in the organisation of protests which rocked the Middle East and Africa in the early years of this decade. Over the past week it's become increasingly clear that it's a refrain worth applying to the mass student protests taking place across South Africa. The protests, which kicked off at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) last week, started off being about a proposed 11% increase in tuition fees by the institution. Since then, they have...

  • What does the Skye Grove plagiarism incident tell us about ethics in social media, journalism?

    Chris Roper is the former Editor-in-Chief of the Mail & Guardian. He is currently a Senior Knight Fellow at the International Center for Journalists, and the data editor for ICFJ’s Code for Africa (CfAfrica) data journalism initiative in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania. Memeburn recently broke news that Skye Grove, a prominent member of the South African Instagram community, had been caught out plagiarising other people's images. Over a number of years Grove, a communications professional, had taken and edited other people's photos before posting them as her own on Instagram. She went on to sell some of those...

  • Code for Africa gets $4.7m boost from Bill and Melinda Gates foundation

    Data journalism and civic technology organisation Code for Africa has received a US$4.7-million investment from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. According to a blog post written by Code for Africa head Justin Arenstein, the funding will be used to help the organisation's civic technologists work with newsrooms around the continent. "The three-year programme at Code for Africa (CfAfrica) initially targets newsrooms in three regional ‘hub’ nations, in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa,"Arenstein writes. "It will expand to include Tanzania in 2016, and will also tap into CfAfrica’s digital experimentation in newsrooms elsewhere in Africa". A part of the grant...

  • Has coding become journalism’s most important skill?

    Journalism is changing faster than ever before. The rise of technology has not only changed the business model for media but also its approach to content. Data is the new content. Of course journalism is still about storytelling, but the way those stories are told is changing rapidly. Drones are fast becoming an accepted reporting tool. Computers can also be instructed to write basic stories. They can change stories too. For example, take a look at this story from NY Times Upshot about the best and worst places to grow up in the US and notice how the text...

  • Twitter bot corrects users referring to Caitlyn Jenner as ‘He’

    It's been a little over a week since Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, introduced herself to the world, but people don't seem to be able to get to grips with using the correct pronoun. An automated Twitter feed stared correcting users who mis-identified Caitlyn Jenner as 'he'. So when a twitter user refers to Jenner using the wrong pronoun, the bot automatically corrects the tweet with the reminder of using Jenner's preferred female pronoun. The account was dubbed @she_not_he. The athlete and TV star 'Bruce Jenner' began transitioning to Caitlyn earlier in the year. She's went through breast augmentation...

  • 24.com folds regional English, Afrikaans papers into News 24 and Netwerk 24

    This is big. News24 and Netwerk24 have announced that the online platforms of 11 English and 14 Afrikaans newspaper titles have now moved into the 24.com network. These include local, regional and national newspapers. The papers now under the News24 banner include national title City Press, regional daily The Witness, and community titles such as Amanzimtoti Fever, Stanger Weekly, Greytown Gazette, Hillcrest Fever, Maritzburg Fever, Coastal Weekly, South Coast Fever, East Griqualand Fever, Edendale and Maritzburg Echo. At face value that seems like bad news for the community titles in particular. News24 says however that readers can also customise...

  • Sapa backs off on content deletion demand

    Last week Memeburn broke news that The South African Press Association (Sapa) would be requiring any news sites that subscribe to its wire service to delete all their archived Sapa content. The organisation today clarified its position, saying that the requirement would only affect those sites who carrying a database of Sapa stories. As reported by the Mail & Guardian, those news sites which only have single Sapa stories as part of their archives will not have to delete those stories. “At its recent meeting, the Sapa board became aware of a letter that has been sent...

  • New Sapa twist: news sites to haemorrhage content, lose readers?

    When the South African Press Agency (Sapa) closes its doors on 31 March, news sites across the country could face a massive content crisis. The news wire service has sent out a letter to its subscribers requesting that news sites across the country delete Sapa content from their archives. This could mean sites across the country would face traffic drops and advertising revenue declines. News sites rely on their digital archives to generate traffic and advertising, usually via network advertising services such as Google Adsense. The 77-year-old service announced that it would be shutting down in early February, although the decision...

  • 24.com steps into the SAPA void, launches news agency

    24.com, the digital arm of Media 24, has announced the launch of its own news agency. The new service, which is set to launch in April, will be called News24Wire. And if the press release marking the announcement is to be believed, its aim is to fill the void left by the South African Press Agency (SAPA), which closed down in early February. The agency will comprise a 16-strong, national reporting team being built by veteran editor and News24 editor-in-chief Andrew Trench. Leading the team however will be Sapa’s news editor Fienie Grobler. While News24Wire's goals are certainly lofty,...

  • Drones, maps and social networks: how SA’s media has used tech to report on the #CapeFire

    The fire sweeping across Cape Town's Southern peninsula has dominated South African headlines for three days now. A number of factors, including the scale of the blaze and limited access to the areas affected by it, have seen the country's media houses bring together a number of technologies and tools in their reporting efforts. While none of the technologies used are alien to South African media, the way they're being used suggests that newsrooms are reaching a turning point. Whereas before these tools might have been viewed as novelties to be used just for the sake of it, in...

  • How EWN used data journalism to give context to Soweto attacks

    Xenophobic attacks broke out in Soweto last week spreading to other areas around Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Khayelitsha in the Western Cape. News organisations were quick to report on the killings as tension was still brewing between local and foreign business owners. But beyond the headlines and live crossings, it was easy to think the violence was isolated to a few hot spots. Context and the sheer geography of the attacks were hard to grasp, even if you read all you could find about the violence. A small in-house team at Primedia’s EWN saw the opportunity to explain what was unfolding across South Africa...