South African community news agency is launched

Let independent publisher’s voices be heard from the top of the mountain and bring the attention of our country to issues on the ground. 

This is the aim of Associated Independent Publishers that has together with Ole Media launched an independent news agency or network known as ‘SAfrika Lokal News Network (SLNN)’ 

SAfrika lokal is a digital syndication platform project of the AIP for 2015. The project, launched at the end of February, will see about 40 chosen independent community newspapers across South Africa contributing local stories each week. These will be posted online and mainstream newspapers across South Africa and the globe will be able to download stories of their choice if they subscribe to SLNN. The authors of the articles will be compensated.

The main aims of the project are to:
* Deepen democracy and accountability through making local voices accessible to the wider world;
* Develop digital and mobile strategies that will see local news reach the mainstream media and so assist in transforming their content;
* Provide AIP’s members with the tools and systems to implement digital services; and to
* Support a sustainable, vibrant and independent grassroots media.

Mainstream publications are likely to welcome the news of the formation of SLNN as they are always searching for interesting and hard news stories on the ground. Many agree with this remark by Hoosein Karjiekar, CEO Mail and Guardian: “Why do we only get there when the stones are flying and the guns are blazing?”

The AIP news agency will enable mainstream media to have a smorgasbord of news stories to choose from daily and weekly. The Editor of each of the chosen community newspapers who have committed to the news agency, will contribute at least four stories a week to the independent network. They have already undergone intensive training in Johannesburg in digital media last month and last year.  AIP partnered with Media 24 Academy for the media training.

The AIP board has selected the Ole Media Group as a strategic partner to assist members in embracing the digital future of publishing. At the training a relevant question was: “If the newsroom is dying and breaking news is dead, why launch SA Lokal? And the answer from Ole Media is: “Precisely because the newsroom is dying and breaking news is dead!”

Editors at the training conference expressed their delight at the idea of the news agency which will see the contributors paid for their work and the copyright will rest with the individual publications.

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