Op-Ed: Three top applications at the Africa News Innovation Challenge 2012

Last week, Google announced the winners of the US$1 million Africa News Innovation Challenge where developers were to come up with tools journalists can use in the field and in-house. Here is an outlook on which ideas were more progressive.


OpenAFRICA – South Africa/Kenya
This project aims to create a journalism toolkit for journalist and organizations at large. This project will help liberate government information to the public. This information will be digitally captured in a centralized searchable, public repository. The requests from journalists and organisations to government will be made public on the platform.

“This will allow journalists and civic watchdogs to conduct advanced forensic research on data released by government, including entity extraction and social network analysis,” the developers said.

“African newsrooms also struggle to find commercially viable models for building citizen reporting networks. ListeningPost will tackle both problems, by creating a toolkit and replicable methodologies,” the developers explained.

This solution aims to integrate social media into news reporting. The challenge would be to get credible sources of news and to integrate it into a credible news source.

“ListeningPost will also build an open source version of ScoopShot, in partnership with Africa’s largest indigenous social network, MXit, to create a revenue generating channel for citizen reporters who file reports with our newsroom,” the developers said.

MoJO – South Africa
This tool now looks at the information that goes out from newsroom to make sure of the accuracy of it. The developers aim to “Create a ‘plug & play’ toolkit of analytical software for African journalism observatories to keep media honest & help improve media professionalism.”

This project is smack in the middle of controversy such as “who owns the media” and objectivity issues that his most media houses. The analytical toolkit will include the participation of proven media monitoring tools like NewsDiffs, Churnalism, MediaBugs, and MediaMap.

Posted in: Startups

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