Two days of workshops, panels, short sharps and in-depth speeches!

Breaking and Building

As it becomes harder to run a profitable news title in this age of digital saturation, and as the demands for content increase, newsrooms have become stretched to the breaking point. “

What does it take to keep up with the breakneck speed of changes and challenges in the media space?  We’ll talk about breaking habits of thought and systems of practice that limit what we do and what we think of as possible, and we’ll talk about how to build a media culture that’s ripe for innovation.

We’ll look at breaking as an opportunity for inclusion: we’ll talk about stories we’re missing, and why, and try to break open some space to give a voice to people and stories that are too often misrepresented or overlooked.

We’ll look at breaking as an opportunity for connection: opening space for people and ideas that are normally separate to work productively together.

And we’ll look at breaking as innovation, opening space to think differently about challenges and encouraging a culture that is available to opportunity and transformation.

We’ll hear about media projects that are trying new things, building  new ways to tell more stories about more topics to more people with more impact. We’ll hear from media houses that collaborated on breaking the Gupta emails story, and talk about models of collaboration that help produce a wider range of stories and deeper reporting. We’ll check in with plans and progress for building a new season at the public broadcaster.  We’ll showcase digital tools for fact checking and storytelling, talk about ethics and critical thinking, work on building a health science reporting toolkit, and sit down with diplomats as we figure out how to cover the upcoming election. We’ll again feature a pop-up radio station and our Community Journalism Spotlight and welcome journalism students from eight universities to The Student Newsroom. And our Innovation Station will showcase a slew of new projects that are up and running, talk you through the process of identifying, developing and selling an idea of your own, and give a few lucky people a chance to pitch an innovation media start up project and be in the running to win a grant to develop it!  There will be tons of opportunity for networking with your community. Let’s together take on some of the biggest challenges of the year, and try to refocus ourselves on the values that define and sustain journalism in the long run.

Where and when everything takes place is all laid out in the programme schedule here.

Scroll down to see the content of the programme!

Keynote on Friday
PART ONE: Press, Politics and Polls
Lessons from the US Election

Betsy Klein
CNN political reporter, Washington DC


Panel on Friday
PART TWO: Preparing for South Africa’s Upcoming Election

What are the challenges to newsrooms now and leading up to what purports to be one of the most competitive elections ever. We’ll look at what can media enterprises can do, together, to raise the bar of election coverage for everyone focusing on things like connecting the dots between local news and national politics, deciphering campaign spin, appraising the effects of twitter bots, managing the rising role of social media use by candidates, focusing on policies not personalities, and re-upping the ethics of impartiality and objectivity.

Moderator: Carol Paton, Business Day
Richard Poplak, Daily Maverick
Lukhanyo Calata, SABC
Thandi Smith, Media Monitoring Africa
Mahlatse Gallens, News 24
Betsy Klein, CNN

Keynote on Saturday

Building a New Public Broadcaster

Phathiswa Magopeni, SABC

We’ll learn about the work being done to reposition the SABC news brand as a legitimate public news service and for competitiveness in the market, restoring trust, and realigning the core with purpose, that is, getting rid of what no longer works and preserving the essence of what it means to be a credible public broadcasting news service.

Panel on Saturday
Untold: Stories Were Missing and Why

Media’s role is not only reporting, but also convening local, national and international conversations. Media tells us every day what’s important by the stories that are chosen and where they are placed. But what of the news that doesn’t make the news, the stories that are ignored, downplayed, underreported, or botched? There are real consequences of agenda setting that creates a limited picture of reality and fails to address the complexities and diversity of lived experience of all community members. Mainstream media needs to do a better job telling stories about, by and for people and communities who are too often not well represented in the public discourse. How can we examine our editorial processes as well as our unconscious biases and blind spots to weed out patterns and practices that may limit or inflect the choice of what stories get covered and the angle of how stories are represented. Can we create tools and mechanisms to diversify the way stories are identified, sourced, and contextualized?

Moderator, Simon Allison, Mail and Guardian, Institute for Security Studies
Louise Vale, Association of Independent Publishers
Lebo Ramafoko, Soul Cities
Duduetsang Makuse, SOS coalition
Niren Tolsi, The Con
TO Molefe, Collective Media Cooperative

Panel on Saturday
Creative Collaborations

Lately we’ve been seeing shifts from hyper competition to collaboration. News organizations are partnering with each other to cover groundbreaking stories like the Panama Papers and the Gupta emails. Non-profits and universities are developing more ways to work with newsrooms to broaden and deepen coverage of special topics. We’ll look at insights that can be taken from a high-tech culture built around the idea of innovation as collaboration. We’ll question some traditional categorical thinking like beats in the newsroom and look at ways that interdisciplinarity might encourage more nuanced, accessible, and useful stories.  We’ll discuss what has worked well, and what the challenges are, particularly for newsrooms who need to make sure that outsourced elements meet their journalistic practices and ethics and that their brand is upheld. We’ll try to uncover new opportunities to collaborate, to find and share stories that we’ve been missing, as well as raise the level of public discourse in general.

Moderator, Dianne Hawker, Power FM 
Dayo Olopade, Google
Karyn Maughan, Tiso Blackstar
Fatima Hassan, Open Society Foundation
Micah Reddy, AmaBhungane
Rob Rose, Financial Mail

Panel on Saturday
Building Innovation into the Newsroom

There is a widespread recognition of the need to innovate, but there is much less understanding of HOW to do this well. In fact, there is a lot of innovation going on – in media houses and from new model start-ups, but much of the innovation is either incremental, improving systems in relatively small ways, or is creating more content without reinventing audience relationships or delivery. Successful innovation requires some very specific disciplines and practices which are often not well understood, as well as a culture that allows and encourages strategic change. We’ll hear from innovators who have built successful spaces and systems to encourage ‘lean start up’ methods in the media space.

Moderator, Indra de Lanerolle, JAMLAB
Geoff Cohen, &Innovation
Mohamed Nanabhay, MDIF
Lebo Miya, Facebook
Lailah Ryklief, Open Up
Natasha Joseph, The Conversation



Short Sharps: Breaking the Beats, on Saturday

Some stories from a variety of areas that should be on your radar in the coming cycle and why reporters and editors from EVERY beat should care.

  • Youth Voices: Local Realities – Children’s Radio Foundation. Sindiswa Letsie – Aganang FM, Mofenyi Kgamane and Sibongile Mphalele – GL FM
  • Youth Stories – RedBull Amaphiko, Sisanda Ntshinga
  • Education Stories – Media Hack Collective, Alastair Otter and Laura Grant
  • Health Stories – Bhekesisa, Laura Lopez Gonzalez
  • Stories from North of the Border – Global Witness Crisis Group, Simon Allison
  • Stories about Women’s Issues – Soul Cities, Lebo Ramafoko
  • Hyper Local News – Amandla, Koketso Moeti
  • Science Stories – Science Link, Anina Munn

Event in the Main Hall: Pop-Up Radio Station LIVE!

Young reporters from four different community radio stations (in Gauteng, North-West, and Limpopo provinces) will be presenting live at the Childrens’ Radio Foundation pop-up radio station. Come listen to young reporters have their say!


Workshops  on Friday

  • Innovation Projects PART ONE: Show and Tell

Check out some of the innovative projects that have won SAMIP grants and learn how you, too, can develop your ideas into projects. Volume News, Soul City, Pocket Reporter, Collective Media Cooperative, Children’s Radio Foundation, Digest, Hashtag Our Stories, Media Factory, The New Era, and more. with Bilal Randeree and Siyabonga Africa of SAMIP, Lebo Ramafoko, Raymond Joseph, Lerato Mashianoke, Osiame Molefe, Maneo Mohale, Kamaria Balkisson, Michal Rahfaldt , Sumaiya Omar, Louise Vale, Raymond Joseph, Shereen Usdin, Mphutsako Majoro, Thomas Nkosi, Roland Perold, Paul McNally, Maneo Mohale.


  • Innovation Projects PART TWO: Think and Make 

How to envision a media start up project, build a workable business model, and frame a pitch to sell it.


  • Innovation Projects PART THREE: Perfect Pitch

Think you’ve got the next big thing? A panel of judges are prepared to listen to your media start-up ideas and decide whether they’d invest any of their money in it, with an eye to offer the winner a chance to get one- on- one mentoring from the SAMIP team, and get that much closer to actually get funding from a SAMIP grant.

Apply Here

  • Google: How to build an Audience on Social Media

By 2019, 80% of internet traffic will be video. Across Africa, storytelling formats and platform opportunities are evolving just as quickly. Are you ready? The Google News Initiative (GNI) works across the globe as partners to and advocates for the modern news media. This workshop from GNI will focus on YouTube, offering product updates, insights on the African user, and best practices for digital video. Attendees will leave with a practical understanding of the trend towards social and video storytelling, and how best to leverage YouTube’s explosive growth on the continent.

With Dayo Olopade, Google, Bulut Can, You Tube


  • Quick tips for Creative Digital Storytelling

Competition for readers’ attention has never been so high, and it’s hard to be engaging on a 4-inch mobile screen. Yet even though we should strive to make every news report more eye-catching and informative, the default setting for most publications and writers is still 300 words and couple of quotes. In this workshop, Hacks/Hackers Johannesburg will demonstrate that you don’t need to be a “data journalist” to do gifs and graphs, social media and slideshows – and no deadline is too short to start producing something special.

With Adam Oxford, Hacks Hackers, Lailah Ryklief, Open Up, Alastair Otter, Media Hack Collective, Lynsey Chutel, Quartz


  • Who’s on your phone? Digital Security for journalists

You’re right to be paranoid: a lot of people want to get into your tech and grab what they can from your PC and phone. Whether it’s state forces abusing RICA or issuing Section 205 warrants to illegally spy on journalists, or just your common or garden cybercrook “whale” phishing for your publisher’s bank details, the threats really are everywhere. In this workshop Hacks/Hackers Johannesburg will discuss general cybersecurity threats and attacks that specifically target journalists, and share some simple tools and tricks that will help to put you back in control of your digital footprint and protect your personal data and that of your sources.

With Adam Oxford, Hacks Hackers Johannesburg, Heidi Swart, Daily Maverick.


  • Critical Thinking Workshop: Why We Need to Rethink our Thinking

We need to practice critical thinking in the newsroom, not just passing on information, or collating received information, but adding value. How has social media changed the role and practice of journalism. How can we step outside of our own cognitive biases.

With Patrick Conroy, CEO, BrandScribe


  • Community Journalism Spotlight, with Children’s Radio Foundation

With Takelane Nemangowe, Alex FM, Itumeleng Gabriel Tsheola, Xolani Kondile, Mary-ann Nobele

Made possible by: 


  • Fact Checking and Verification

With the tsunami of fake news and mis and disinformation online, it is vital that journalists are able to sort fact from faction as we approach the election campaign season in SA.

With Raymond Joseph, Southern Tip Media

Ressources from Ray Joseph:

The Digital Detective MMX18

Tools and Resources June2018


  • If an Alien Came to Visit One Day…

This workshop will address the increasing lack of credibility and the gap between journalists and communities/public – which speaks to where media are missing important stories. How well do you know your audience?  What are you doing to help build your own credibility? Join us for an “out of this world experience”, showcasing tips and tools to address credibility and quality. We will have a few fun activities as well as go through some of the tools MMA has developed on this front.

We might even offer some prizes (wink)!

With Thandi Smith and William Bird, Media Monitoring Africa


  • How to Work with Foreign Diplomats

With Cynthia HarveyUS Embassy, Sandra Bisin, UNICEF, and Hooman Nouruzi, UK High Commission.


  • Building a Health Sciences Toolkit for Journalists

Imagine sitting down in front of your computer to write an article where all the resources you could possibly want (including stats, high resolution images, handpicked interviewees and their contact details, etc, etc) are right there at your fingertips – comprehensive, current and complementary. Can you think of some of the items you would include on a shopping list for such a toolkit?  We want to build a Toolkit for Health Science Reporting – a virtual one-stop-shop where anybody writing an article related to communicable or non-communicable diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa can find trustworthy, up-to-date, royalty-free material in one place. Our starting point and primary focus is HIV and TB but, ultimately, we plan to widen our focus. Our motive is to build capacity, trust, understanding and relationships among the scientists and journalists who take science to the people; so that they, from a platform of increased understanding, can make informed decisions for themselves, bring pressure to bear on policymakers to act in their best interests, and have a greater appreciation for science in general. The purpose of the workshop will be to brainstorm ideas that will help us tailor this toolkit to your specific needs. It will be a round-table discussion to which everybody is welcome. We invite complexity, seemingly unrealistic demands and difficult questions just as much as inspiring comments and co-creative ideas.

Hosted by The Sub Saharan African Network for TB/HIV Research Excellence, with AHRI, Bhekesisa, Health e News, and the US Embassy


  • Doing More With Less 

The tensions between commercial imperative and journalistic editorial independence grow more fraught. The question is always how to provide important reliable content, and remain financially sustainable. The challenges continue to grow with technology developments and advertising pressures that blur the distinctions between news and spin, between news and misinformation campaigns, between clickbait and substantive reporting, between ideas of audience as citizens and audience as customers.  We need to not only hold the ground, but grow and adapt.  Let’s talk about how we can build more robust business models.

Hosted by SANEF

By invitation only (but you can ask for an invitation).

… one of the most inspiring and invigorating gatherings of journalists you will find anywhere on the planet.”

– Mike Schoenfeld, Duke University