African News Innovation Challenge finalists announced

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Finalists have been announced for the inaugural African News Innovation Challenge (ANIC), a digital media initiative that carries a total award of $1 million in grants.

Forty finalists have been listed out of a field of 513, narrowing down those most likely to strengthen and transform African digital news media. According to the African Media Initiative (AMI), the group behind the ANIC, the finalists were also assessed on the likelihood of their projects being replicated in other parts of Africa “or to be scaled up across the continent, to create wide and sustained impact.”

ANIC manager and Knight International Journalism Fellow Justin Arenstein said “We are thrilled with the broad range of innovation and ideas among the finalists. The teams with the strongest links to newsrooms and technology partners had an advantage, as did those who could already point to some proofs-of-concept.”

“The finalists are also all projects that haven’t lost sight of the core focus for the initiative: quality journalism. There is a danger in any innovation program that we get blinded by gadgets and hype. The technical review panel therefore focused on projects that demonstrated a keen commitment to journalism itself.”

The finalists will be attending a TechCamp in Zanzibar, where they will be consulting with “some of the world’s leading media technology strategists” including members of the Guardian data team, Mozilla’s OpenNews initiative, Google and the World Association of Newspapers. Winners will be securing grants varying from $12,500 to $100,000 as well as additional support for their projects.

Finalists include CorruptionNET, Newsbooks Africa and openAFRICA. Winners will be judged and announced on 10 November this year.

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