MMX is easily South Africa’s most significant networking platform for journalists offering programming designed to support the media community and encourage collaboration. MMX’s organizers appear to be passionate advocates for press freedom and fierce proponents of independence and other democratic mores within the practice of journalism.”

About the Duke Menell Media Exchange (MMX):

Duke MMX is committed to developing and supporting an inclusive, collaborative, sustainable and robust media community in South Africa and beyond, through programs, fellowships and conferences.

 Annual event: The annual MMX conference, held mid-year in Johannesburg, provides an opportunity for interaction and exchange among South Africa’s media houses, non-profits, community and independent journalists, bloggers, tech developers, scholars and students. MMX presents programming to build and support the media community, introduce tools and resources that offer practical ways for journalists to improve their work, foster networking, collaboration and mentor relationships, and advocate for press freedoms to enrich and empower the practice of journalism in South Africa.

MMXeXtra: In addition to the annual Duke MMX conference, MMX programming is expanding to include more events throughout the year, in more locations, and on a variety of topics that can engage South African, pan African and global media practitioners with Duke University students, faculty, scholarship and expertise and provide ongoing opportunities for meaningful exchange.

The media world in South Africa faces real and urgent challenges, from budgetary pressures and newsroom convergence, to laws and tactics that limit media freedom. The vision of this conference is to create an annual forum for the exchange of ideas to explore these challenges and to examine useful tools and practices together. We hope that our project will inspire journalists to continue the work of protecting and building a strong and free media community which is at the very heart of South Africa realizing its potential as a leader in Africa and around the world.”

-Mary Zients

The Menell Media Exchange is a Duke University project, under the office of the Vice President of Public Affairs and Government Relations, Michael Schoenfeld. MMX17 was our sixth annual conference in Johannesburg. As always, we are focused on creating a platform to build and support a strong and inclusive media community.

Previous events have focused on Media Freedom, Government and Media Relations, Leadership and Ethics, Disruption and Media Models Upended, Innovation and Sustainability, and Transformation in the Newsroom. Addressing new and pressing challenges in the global and South African media environment, our theme for 2017 was Truth & Trust: Navigating Media’s New Terrain. We had three days of programming, with more than 45 presenters, 2 keynote addresses, 4 panel discussions, 8 short sharps, 12 workshops, 3 videos, and an illusionist!

With six hundred registrants, our audience represented a diverse cross section of the media world in South Africa, but our reach far exceeded our auditorium. The hashtag #dukemmx17 trended number one on twitter during our event, and we generated more engagement with the press and public on multiple channels than ever before.

MMX17 saw the introduction of some new projects and partnerships, as well as the strategic development of some ongoing elements. We initiated a new program called The Community Journalism Spotlight, funded by the US Consulate, for which we partnered with two non-profits and a host of community radio stations. Special programming included dedicated workshops and community themes in the larger editorial, as well as a pop up radio station broadcasting from the venue for the duration of the MMX.

We expanded our Student Newsroom with more participants from more schools, more editors, mentors and faculty, and more dedicated programming including a day-long skills boot camp, and produced more content, collaboration and networking.

And we continued our programming wings on Youth Voices, Leadership, Enterprise, and Tech and Innovation Tools

On Twitter, check out #dukemmx17 to have a look at the content under the most popular hashtag in South Africa during our event, and go to our website, to see more.