Citizen Desk, a project proposed by Mozambican newsroom @Verdade and open source news non-profit Sourcefabric is one of twenty winners in a prize of $1 million as part of the African News Innovation Challenge (ANIC).
The fund rewards projects whose focus is on digital innovation and journalism, giving them a chance to kick-start media development in Africa. A jury of 15 international media strategists, technology innovators, and funding experts evaluated more than 500 project plans before selecting winners from a shortlist of 40 projects.
Citizen Desk is a tool based on Sourcefabric's Superdesk software and will allow news organisations to create a mobile-optimised platform for aggregating, verifying, publishing and rewarding citizen journalism. Superdesk is a workflow and news management system and the first official implementation was used by the International Center for Journalists to cover the US election. Citizen Desk will serve as a way to incorporate citizen journalism into a news organization's core workflow.
The first phase of development of Citizen Desk will result in a finished tool that is immediately deployable in newsrooms, alongside existing CMSes with minimum installation. In order for the project to sustain itself into the future Citizen Desk will be free to download, open source and maintained, developed, documented and supported by Sourcefabric.
All the winning ANIC projects will receive cash grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, plus additional technology support from a team of four full-time developers at AMI's jAccelerator lab in Kenya, and business development support from some of the world's top media strategists affiliated with the World Association of Newspapers & News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).
Peter Barron, Google's Director of External Relations for Europe, Middle East and Africa said "We want to see journalism flourish in the digital age in Africa and the African News Innovation Challenge has helped spur some really exciting projects from across the continent. We're looking forward to seeing these projects unfold and to working further with African journalists who are using technologies to gather and tell important stories."
@Verdade is a free, high quality newspaper with the estimated largest readership in Mozambique. Innovative offline distribution models get the paper to an otherwise hard-to-reach audience, while strong social media presences engage online readers.
Sourcefabric is an award-winning, not-for-profit organisation that builds open source tools for media. Sourcefabric works to increase the sustainability, visibility and quality of output for independent news enterprises and has over a decade of experience working with African media in Senegal, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria and more.