Sourcefabric have received a Knight-Batten Award for Innovations in Journalism for their work on the new West Africa Democracy Radio platform. The prize rewards news and information ideas that significantly enhance opportunities for digital engagement. Other winners this year include Storify, NPR, Guardian Data and Bloomberg Government.
This year’s winners were selected from 123 entries. "This year's innovations demonstrate how journalists keep developing clever ways to open up the process of journalism to new contributors and seekers of information," said Jose Zamora, Knight Foundation journalism program associate.
West Africa Democracy Radio launched in 2005 with a mission to promote and defend the ideals of democratic and open societies amongst the peoples of the region. It broadcasts 24 hours a day on FM in Dakar, Senegal and via satellite to the rest of the West Africa subregion, including to over 30 partner stations.
On 1st April 2011, West Africa Democracy Radio (WADR) launched a news platform in Dakar, Senegal. It integrates Newscoop (an open source CMS for journalists) and Airtime (an open source radio software for radio stations) with social and cloud networks such as SoundCloud, Facebook and Twitter. The software and project was developed by Sourcefabric, a Czech non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting quality journalism through open source software and tools.
Key to the new platform’s operation is a unique integration with SoundCloud, an online audio distribution platform which reached over 3 million users in February 2011. WADR’s radio programmes can be recorded by Airtime and then automatically uploaded to Soundcloud. WADR journalists can then attach these sounds to an article and publish on the site through Newscoop, immediately sharing to Facebook.
As a result, WADR's online audio coverage of the Côte d'Ivoire conflict and the Nigerian elections reached over 150 countries in 2011, with interviews with people such as Ahoua Don Melo, spokesman of Laurent Gbagbo, getting worldwide exposure.
"Working with Sourcefabric, Newscoop and open source technology has provided us with an opportunity,” said Station Manager Peter Kahler. We're glad to know we're pioneering something that will become widespread."