First crowd-sourced journalism award in Africa launched

Applications are open for the first ever crowd-sourced journalism awards that will reward innovations deploying technology to help in social journalism.

The Big Picture Journalism award, as it is called, will give 5000 Euros to the three winning ideas in Africa for further development of their ideas.

Crowd-sourced journalism rides on the fact that users of social media have first hand information that big news corporations sometimes miss.

Citizen journalism as it is referred to at times, has increased in the advent of social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Storify.

Although not governed enough, citizen journalism is tipped to be the next big media. More big news companies have realized the potential and are using social media as news sources although its full potential has not been realized.

The organisers describe the problem of crowd-sourced journalism as a concept that is not being utilised much by people especially in Africa.

“Despite technological progress spreading throughout the developing world, access to media is still restricted to a privileged few. This is particularly an acute problem in Sub-Saharan Africa where social inequality is high,” the organisers state.

They conclude that, “Crowd-sourced journalism can change this. By using tools as Twitter and Facebook, it includes the audience, the ‘crowd’, into the reporting process. In short, it gives a voice to those who have previously been excluded from the media.”

The organizers are looking for the following, in submitted ideas that:

1. Collects data and/or testimonies through online or mobile channels (as Twitter, Facebook and Frontline SMS) in order to highlight an important local social or political issue.

2. Is grounded in a community effort through partnerships with key organizations and individuals working with the community.

3. Uses appropriate crowd-sourcing tools that help engage audiences who would otherwise not be able to express their opinions through the media.

4. Is built on key partnership efforts between technologists and journalists.

Applications are on submission at the event’s official website.

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