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.)