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Online media

  • BuzzFeed goes literary, announces $12k emerging writers fellowship

    BuzzFeed has announced that it will be offering US$12 000 fellowships to emerging writers. The selected writers will spend four months working with BuzzFeed News’ senior editorial staff in New York City. The world's favorite Clickbait site, it would seem, has literary aspirations. In 2013, BuzzFeed launched BuzzFeed Books. Though this was an indication of moving towards being a lot more than just a clickbait publications, its articles like ‘Can We Guess Your Age Based On Your Taste In Books?’ or ‘Which Book Of The Bible Are You?’ are still a far cry from the literary content of the...

  • What lessons are there to be learned from 2014’s mad media mix?

    Looking back on 2014, it’s clear that we are living in an era of converged media where the consumer has a voice, content lives on dozens of scattered platforms, and traditional media is having to move at a lightning pace to keep their audiences engaged. The media landscape in South Africa has also never been more vibrant, inclusive and exciting than ever before. Print is struggling but surviving; OOH and outdoor is becoming more accountable; radio, especially regional and community radio is booming; and new players promise to change TV engagement for the better. And of course, digital is giving people...

  • SA online media could soon get code of ethics, regulatory system

    The Interactive Advertising Bureau South Africa (IAB), a voluntary non-profit body which represents the interests of the South African digital industry, has announced that it will be spearheading efforts aimed at creating a cross-platform news media code of ethics. The body, which was previously known as the DMMA, today announced that it has entered into discussions with the South African Press Council to explore the viability of the code as well as a voluntary editorial content regulatory system. The envisaged code, it says, will apply to news content across both print and online publications. With traditional and new media outlets...

  • 4 years on: 4 reasons why Bloomberg West is the best tech TV show

    Four years ago this March, Bloomberg TV made the (then) unusual decision to create the only daily business news TV programme focusing exclusively on technology news. Called Bloomberg West, the show's mantra -- which gets repeated at the top of every broadcast -- hasn't changed a bit: "innovation, technology and the future of business" is still its driving force. Although South African tech-news show Tech Report premiered some 6 months prior to this (and is therefore worth a mention), Bloomberg West is a whole different kettle of fish. For one it's a daily show, which means the kind of pressure to keep viewers entertained for an...

  • Ultra hi-res photo illustrates destructive beauty of #MuizenbergFire

    Plenty of people have been sharing photos of the wild fire that's been sweeping through the Cape's Southern peninsula since the early hours of Sunday morning. Few though capture the destructive beauty of the blaze as powerfully as this ultra hi-res photo from Tuesday night. Taken by astrophysicist Carolina Ödman, the photo gives you an idea of both the scale and intensity of the blaze. Ödman took the 0.13 Gigapixel (129 megapixels) photo from the roof of her house. Check it out:

  • Bookmarks 2015: pixels, penguins and politics

    The 2015 edition of the Bookmarks Awards, which aim to recognise the best work in digital media and marketing, took place tonight in Newtown, Johannesburg. Given the internet's love of animals, it should hardly be surprising that a campaign starring four penguins was one of the night's standouts. And in a year that featured national and provincial elections, it's also not all that surprising that politics featured heavily. But none of that was evident as South African YouTube comedian Anne Hirsch made her entry onto the stage amid a group of beret-clad drummers. In her opening monologue, Hirsch made reference to the fact...

  • Radio Spookasem: the independent podcast that will get your feet tapping

    Two guys working in local radio have teamed up to create one of the more original and well-produced podcasts coming out of Cape Town today. With Riaan Cruywagen, Helen Zille, Bongani Njoli (the voice behind e.tv's Friday Action Night) and Twakkie as guest presenters, Radio Spookasem ended its first season with a bang and is gearing up for even more surprises in season two. “We’d sit around a braai and say ‘oh my word I like this band, I want to share it with everyone’ and that’s what we’re doing,” says the man behind the alternative music podcast, award-winning journalist Graeme Raubenheimer. Together...

  • BBC World Service launches Kenyan hackathon to ensure its digital future in Africa

    The BBC World Service is one of the most pervasive and important radio offerings on the planet. As the world inevitably spends less and less time listening to physical radio sets however, the service has to ensure that it still has a presence in the digital space. One way it's aiming to do that is by teaming up with BBC’s digital innovations team, Connected Studio to hold a hackathon event on 3-4...

  • What lessons can we learn from Upworthy’s viral successes?

    Upworthy has become an extremely popular website dedicated to curating engaging content that has the ability to go viral. The difference between the viral content on Upworthy and other websites is that they post important, thought provoking content as opposed to cat videos or selfies. The user actually gets value from Upworthy content, the more time you spend on the website the more rewarding it is. Have you ever watched a cute cat videos and walked away thinking “I feel really informed after watching that and I will remember what that cat taught me forever”? Therefore I think it’s...

  • Bookmarks 2015: record entries, digital power players dominate shortlist

    IAB South Africa has announced the shortlist for its revamped Bookmarks Awards. The awards, which traditionally take place toward the end of the year, didn't take place in 2014. Instead they were moved out to February this year as the IAB -- previously known as the Digital Media Marketing Association (DMMA) -- looked to tie the awards to digital summit taking place on the same day. Both the awards show and the summit will take place in Johannesburg's Newtown precinct, having previously been held in Cape Town. According to the IAB, a record number of entries were received...

  • We probably won’t get a South African ‘Serial’ any time soon: here’s why

    You may or may not have heard of Serial -- a radio programme and podcast produced by WBEZ, an affiliate of National Public Radio in the US. Serial, as it says itself, is one story told week by week. It follows journalist Sarah Koenig’s attempt to get to the bottom of the real case of Adnan Syed. He’s a Baltimore man who has been in a Maryland prison since 2000 for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in 1999, when they were both 18 -- a crime he says he didn't commit. The show ran over...

  • The great podcast resurgence and the rebirth of radio

    Like one of those birds that are attracted to shiny jewellery, I love new gadgets and new technology. As someone with the expensive Early Adopter Disease, I embraced podcasting in its nascence. About 10 years ago, I launched a commercial podcast with experienced broadcaster Tony Lankester at the Mail & Guardian Online called “Between the Pages. It was a relative success for its time. We secured sponsorship from BMW and it ran for about a year. The then-editor of the newspaper, Ferial Haffajee, embraced this journey into the unknown enthusiastically and we did regular weekly news wraps, interviews...

  • Afrileaks wants to make online whistle-blowing safe in Africa

    It would hardly be an exaggeration to say that, at its height, Wikileaks changed the dynamic of global politics. Now a joint project of the African Network of Centers for Investigative Reporting in collaboration with the Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights is looking to bring the power of anonymous whistleblowing to the regional level. The project, called Afrileaks, claims to allow people to securely leak confidential documents of public interest. The site also allows users to select which of its member organisations should investigate it and provides means of staying in touch and answering further questions...

  • 4 ways online publishers can stop failing at retention

    Today, arguably the most important metric to be tracking when it comes to success as an online publisher is retention. Increasing traffic is a critical first step, but if your bounce rate is high the largest volume of traffic in the world isn’t going to help you generate the revenue necessary to survive and succeed as a digital publisher. While there are plenty of tools available that will help publishers increase their traffic, technologies that will help them create a space to own the interaction and engagement with their community of readers are few and far between. Social networks like...

  • 6 media trends set to go massive in 2015

    The media industry is following an “adapting approach” to delivery for clients, driven by the way technology is evolving the way we communicate or engage with consumers. A few examples of this are: RTB Real Time bidding driven by programmatic buying will enable media to deliver the right ad to the right person at the right time. App centric content design Ever evolving native apps will enable brands to empower consumers by offering them relevant content. Wearable tech As this technology gains interest, consumers are able to own their data. Native brand publishing The new world of content, where an ad looks...