Got a great idea for a new digital media platform that’s built for sharing African stories and dragging our watchdog journalists into the 21st century? Good, because Code for Africa (CfAfrica) has just opened up a million dollars’ worth of seed funding to get projects like yours off the ground.
The innovateAFRICA fund, which opens for applications today, is backed by the likes of the Omidiyar Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. innovateAFRICA will run alongside CfAfrica’s $500 000 impactAFRICA fund for supporting investigative data-driven reporting.
Like the impactAFRICA awards, innovateAFRICA wants to put money into cutting edge news startups as well as projects and journalists at traditional media outlets. It has a broader remit than the existing fund, however. According to the release sent out this morning:
Project proposals that focus on strengthening audience engagement with African civic media are of particular interest, along with improved models for digital news distribution, and initiatives that explore new revenue models for African storytelling.
Newsrooms across the continent are facing the same problem: there’s just not enough money or management support for journalism experiments on the scale practised by the likes of the New York Times of Guardian. CfAfrica director Justin Arenstein says that this fund is set up to address that problem.
“African media are experimenting with digital journalism,” he says, “But the steadily worsening market situation facing mainstream media often has a chilling influence on the really big ideas. innovateAFRICA is meant to help newsrooms leapfrog obstacles, by giving the types of support that neither media companies nor traditional donors can provide themselves.”
Awards through innovateAFRICA are targeted at “new ways to create, discuss and share news and make quality journalism sustainable”, and will be between $12 500 (R183 000) and $100 000 (R1.5m) in size. Technical and professional support will also be given to grantees.
Applications close on 1st December. Get yours in now.