International innovative experiences in online journalism

Welcome back to the 11th International Symposium on Online Journalism, ladies and gents. Let’s do it again! Harry Dugmore, MTN Chair of Media and Mobile Communications, Rhodes University (South Africa)

– We are currently operating in a techno-social flux.

– In South Africa, there is low but rapidly improving access to broadband, as well as a rapid uptake of cell phones and the ability of those phones to access the mobile web.

– There is low medium and journalism density. There simply aren’t a lot of journalists.

– Pared down and cheap outputs beat richly featured outputs in the news sphere.

– In South Africa, almost 100% of families have access cell phones.

– In South Africa, people carry various SIM cards for different carriers to circumvent roaming charges.

– The question Dugmore is exploring is how to help create informed, engaged communities in low-income areas. The focus is on mobile.

– The solutions to the problems that Dugmore has come across:

1. Train citizen journalists, offer incentives, and use more of their journalism.

2. use SMS/texts and instant messaging to supply news and information.

3. Embrace low-cost social media as critical to the “news will find me” culture.

– NIKA is a content management system for small newspapers that takes SMS texts and social media information and puts it into editors’ workboxes, allowing them to push out a wealth of information through SMS texts and those same social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)