Sunday, November 29, 2009

One year of

On December 6, 2008 a Ghanaian journalist, Emmanuel K. Dogbevi started the first online business news source on Ghana, And come December 2009, the site will be one year old.

Mr. Dogbevi, an award winning journalist who also writes business plans found the need for a business news website following disappointing experiences in finding valuable and relevant information on businesses in Ghana. This disappointment led to the development of the website to meet the growing need for high quality business news and information on Ghana.

An experienced journalist himself with a background in web development and online journalism he took off hoping to grow the site into a viable business within two years. But within its first year since going online, has become the business news source of choice on Ghana all over the world.

The website covers general news, investment, ICT news, tourism, insurance, politics, sports and entertainment. It also has pages for editorials/opinion, feature articles and news from Africa and other parts of the world.

Apart from generating content, the website is also an aggregator of news and information from other sources.

"The entrance of into the online media scene in Ghana has certainly raised the stakes higher, because the news and information that we put up meet the highest standards in journalism anywhere," Emmanuel K. Dogbevi, who is also the Managing Online Editor of the site said.

"The website is barely one year old and yet we have received overwhelming feedback from all over the world. We have once received a phone call from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, an enquiry from a unit of the United Nations and commendation letters from some individuals we do not even know both in Ghana and abroad. And for us, these are indicators that we are meeting the needs of the global online news market," he said.

"This worldwide recognition also places on us a greater responsibility to do more, and we do hope to live up to expectations as we pursue the highest professional standards possible in meeting the needs of our visitors," he added.
For more information, contact:

Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
Tel: 233-244 699845

Friday, November 27, 2009

African Elections Project to Cover Namibia Elections 2009

African Elections Project to Cover Namibia Elections 2009

                                                     Press Release

For immediate release

WINDHOEK, Namibia 26  November 2009 -

African Elections Project to Cover Namibia Elections 2009.

The African Elections Project (AEP)  will be covering Namibia 's 4th general election, taking place on November 27th and 28th 2009, to elect a president and parliamentary representatives.  AEP in conjunction with its partners, Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA)  held a two-day workshop aimed at equipping journalists with cutting edge Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) skills in elections coverage in Namibia on 28-29 September 2009.

AEP was established in 2008 to empower journalists to cover elections using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) across the continent. After a successful take-off in Ghana, Cote d' Ivoire, Mozambique, Malawi and Guinea.

In Southern Africa, AEP is covering Botswana   elections which took place on 16th October 2009, Mozambique's elections which took place on 28th October 2009 and Namibia's elections  taking place from 27th to 28th November 2009. The Open Society Initiative for Southern is providing funding for these countries coverage.

The role of the media in ensuring free and fair elections is indispensable. All over the world the media is playing this important role of ensuring free and fair elections by working with all stakeholders across board.

The media can strengthen the electoral process by providing independent information through impartial coverage. Three important focal issues come into play: access to information on the political process, ability to undertake investigative journalism and documentation of lessons and experiences from the electioneering process.

The African Elections Project is coordinated by Ghana based  International Institute for ICT Journalism ( working hand in hand with key partners.


Levi Kabwato

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Legal aid scheme for online journalists launched in US

A scheme providing free legal assistance to online journalists was launched in the US last week.

The Online Media Legal Network (OMLN), which has been set up by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society's Citizen Media Law Project (CMLP), will offer pro bono and reduced fee advice on issues faced by online journalists and digital media creators.

OMLN will deal with queries including copyright licensing and fair use, freelancer agreements and pre-publication review of content, it is explained in a press release.

Publications and journalists applying for legal advice from OMLN will have to meet the network's criteria, which includes original reporting and work in the public interest.

The network, which received its initial funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, has been trialled on journalism projects that have received grants through the foundation's Knight News Challenge competition.

"Unlike established media organisations that have the resources to pursue important reporting in the face of legal challenges, many online ventures lack the expertise and financial resources to protect themselves and thrive in an uncertain legal environment," said David Ardia, director and co-founder of the CMLP, in the release.

"In order for these new media ventures to survive and flourish, they need a legal safety net, and OMLN aims to provide that safety net with the help of lawyers interested in promoting a vibrant online media environment."

The network has also created an online database to match publishers with legal queries with lawyers and law schools from across the US interested in taking on the work.

How Demand Media's Business Model Can be Applied to Niche Sites

Demand Media has advertising-driven content down to a science. Instead of creating content for the Web and hoping that it generates revenue, the company works backwards by determining how much revenue each piece will generate before anything is produced.

The company uses a series of algorithms to pick through keywords that people are searching for on the Web and aims to create content unique enough to rank highly in those search results. It also determines how much advertisers would pay to be next to that content.

This is much different than simply using analytics to shift stories around on a home page or testing which headline will draw more readers. Demand is all about the dollars.

News organizations looking to create profitable content on the Web can see that Demand Media's model does make money -- although it forgoes editorial judgment and a journalism process. Yet news organizations could apply lessons from Demand's approach to their own companies, not for standard news operations, but for niche sites that are focused on reader demand and generating revenue.

Demand Media is focused on "service journalism," said Adam Weinroth, the company's vice president of strategic marketing. "This is the kind of content that is evergreen, and includes formats like guides, how-to's and tips."

Besides the company's method of choosing stories, the other part of Demand's strategy is in how it gets its content. Rather than try sell ads to support content that costs a particular amount, the company has dropped the cost of production to make sure it can be supported by what advertisers are willing to pay.

For a company that relies on more than 10,000 freelancers that crank out some 4,000 videos and articles a day on the cheap, the formula works. Demand is expected to bring in $200 million in revenue this year, paying out $17 million to its Demand Studios content producers. Of course when content producers are being paid $15 an article and $20 per video and scrambling to create multiple pieces a day, the quality of the content will likely suffer.

Demand's content goes up on one of its brand or partner sites, like or The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's site. It uses sites like YouTube, for which Demand Media is top producer, to share and spread its content, getting 2 million impressions a day with video titles such as "How to change golf spikes" or "How to build a robot our of a box." And its YouTube channels are popular. Expert Village, the most popular, has 448,000 subscribers, with some 14 million channel views.

Ken Doctor, a news industry analyst and author, said Demand's approach is similar to what newspapers and other publishers have done before, creating ad-friendly content such as bridal sections that they know advertisers will pay well to be in. Demand Media has taken that up a few notches. "I give them a lot of credit for developing a very good technology," Doctor said.

News organizations could employ a strategy like Demand's on their subject-oriented niche sites, using the revenue to support other news efforts (just like they do with bridal sections). The niche sites would have to focus on topics such as travel, health and personal finance, which support high-dollar ads, Doctor said.

News organizations already know what content on niche sites such as Gannett's Momslikeme does well, who the audience is, and what ads are sold for those sites. The idea would be to produce more content that advertisers would like.

But, Doctor said, it's a slippery slope because it removes editorial judgment. News publishers should use such formulas as a guideline, a way to understand the marketplace, Doctor said.

"They don't claim to be a journalism company -- they are a content company and that's fine. But it's not journalism," he said. "Journalism creates things that editors believe readers want and need to know about, some of which is commercially viable, some of which is not."

Using analytics or an algorithm as a guideline is something that's been taking shape for years. With the likes of The Huffington Post and the BBC experimenting with alternative headlines for stories and observing real-time traffic stats to determine story placement, content producers and editors are beginning to be more conscious of the demand from their audience. They rely less on instinct and more on hard numbers.

Demand Media realized that human instinct isn't always enough and that an algorithm can produce 4.9 times more revenue for each piece of content. This is why news organizations must use analytics to help shape their content plans, said Mark Briggs, CEO of Serra Media and author of Journalism 2.0.

"The ability to know what your audience is reading is powerful, and a news organization would be foolish to operate in the echo chamber of previous generations when top editors assumed what the audience wanted," Briggs said. That said, he doesn't believe in solely relying on analytics and said editorial judgment must be part of content decisions.

The shift toward demand-driven content illustrates how the Internet has shifted power to users, said Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University. "Demand-driven means not editor-driven, after all," Rosen said.

And though the model doesn't seem applicable for news content yet, Weinroth said he thinks it is possible that shift will happen. News organizations could look at real-time trends on social sites like Twitter to guide their coverage, which can be used to drive traffic and support ads. 

Of course, a news organization that produces content solely based on its profitability breaks a trust with the audience that expects the news organization to provide information they need to know.

Jim Spanfeller, a former CEO of who plans to start a firm to help media with their digital businesses, said people come to a site because they have an established trust with that publisher and have certain expectations of how the editorial process works. Demand Media, on the other hand, shapes its content based on how users will respond.

"It's very different from news organizations that simply cover the news and then try to get their stuff out there more and have it be more visible through SEO," Spanfeller said.

Yet there's a difference, Rosen pointed out, between being guided by analytics and being obedient to analytics. "If people want to be informed by news providers they trust, the Demand Media way cannot be the way," Rosen said. "Neither the gods of click rates nor the priests of news should guide us."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


ACCRA, GHANA – More than 100 practitioners and experts on elections from 25 African countries will convene in Accra Nov. 12-14, to assess recent elections across the continent and develop recommendations for standards that could mitigate conflict and improve election processes. Recommendations from the colloquium will be aimed at enhancing prospects for credible elections in Africa by heightening standards of professionalism among election administration officials, political parties, civic groups, security services and the media.
The Colloquium on African Elections: Best Practices and Cross-Sectoral Collaboration will focus on Ghana's 2008 elections, which were universally viewed as credible despite heated political tensions and a razor-thin margin between the candidates. Participants hope to draw on lessons from the experience in Ghana, where for the second time in less than a decade, political power has
changed hands from the ruling to an opposition party through the ballot box.
Effective collaboration among all sectors of the electoral process helped ease tensions, enhanced transparency and built voter confidence in the election results.
Participants will also explore the differences between the Ghanaian experience and elections in other countries such as Kenya and Zimbabwe, which experienced gross irregularities, fraud and conflict. They will identify the factors that contributed to different outcomes in each of these cases and discuss how to foster credible elections on the continent based on these case studies.
"This is an opportunity for Africans to reflect on our own experiences and build upon our successes. As a regional initiative, this conference will bolster electoral reformers, and civic and political stakeholders on the continent," said Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, chair of the Electoral Commission in Ghana.
At the conclusion of the colloquium, participants will release a communiqué summarizing their discussions and sharing their recommendations for election standards in Africa.
Co-organizers of the colloquium include the National Democratic Institute, Africa Center for Strategic Studies, International Foundation for Electoral Systems, Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy, Open Society Initiative for West Africa and United Nations Development Programme.

Contact: Brittany Danisch,, +223 (0) 54 303 6951

Monday, November 09, 2009



November 11-14, 2009

Accra, Ghana


The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD), Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will co-sponsor  a Colloquium on African Elections from 1214 November 2009 in Accra, Ghana. 


The colloquium will review the challenges and best practices in the conduct of elections in Africa, with a particular focus on lessons that could be shared from Ghana's 2008 electoral process.


Approximately 100 participants from 25 African countries will attend the colloquium.  Participants will include elections commissioners, political party leaders, civic advocates, leaders of elections monitoring groups, journalists and high level officials of security services that oversee peace building and law enforcement missions around elections.


The Colloquium on African Elections: Best Practices and Cross-Sectoral Collaboration will seek to address two critical points:


1)    the effective performance of entities involved in the electoral process and

2)    the linkages that should exist among stakeholders, and how to foster cross-sectoral collaboration during elections. 


Examining the strengths and weaknesses of the Ghanaian electoral process and how it compares with other African countries will facilitate sharing knowledge and strengthening linkages among different sectors of the electoral process.  The anticipated outcome of discussions at the colloquium will be to identify guidelines on how to conduct credible elections, ease political tensions, enhance transparency, and facilitate the acceptance of genuine election results by political contestants and their supporters.  Sharing best practices among African practitioners will enhance prospects for democratic elections across the continent and inspire professional conduct among various stakeholders in countries preparing for upcoming elections. The Consortium of organizers are hoping to compile the cases of best practices in elections in Africa and publish on a book form.

African Media Leaders Meet in Lagos

African Media Leaders Meet in Lagos

Focus on Harnessing Power of New Technologies for Media Development

LAGOS, Nigeria, November 6, 2009 – Over 185 African media owners' participated in a two-day "African Media Leaders Forum (AMLF)" to discuss practical ways for strengthening Africa's media development and agreed on a charter for the African Media Initiative (AMI), a parent body that is working to improve the media sector across Africa.

 "Media have a central role to play in nurturing democracy on the African continent," said Nduka Obaigbena, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of THISDAY, one of Africa's leading newspapers.  "The African Media Leaders Forum is committed to improving the business environment for media and to strengthening skills of African journalists. The Lagos meeting will serve as a launch pad for concerted, collective actions to promote African media development for the benefit of all."  Mr. Nduka is the founding chairman of the AMLF which held its first meeting in Dakar, Senegal, one year ago.

The AMLF is the single-largest annual gathering of media owners coming together to discuss development in Africa and the range of cutting-edge issues affecting Africa's media industries, just as the African continent is being buffeted by the global financial crisis, deepening recessionary trends, and the advent of new, social media technologies that are fundamentally altering existing media business models all across the globe.
"The African Media Leaders Forum is a nascent body with an ambitious agenda," said Amadou Mahtar Ba, Acting Executive Director of the African Media Initiative (AMI).  "By convening the Forum in Nigeria, Africa's most populous democracy, we are sending a message that the strengthening of mass media systems is an urgent imperative for societal advancement, and needs the support of governments, business leaders, and civil society."

Headlined speakers at the Lagos meeting represented a Who's Who of top print, broadcast, and online journalists, including Sam Amuka (Vanguard, Nigeria), Oh Yeon Ho (Ohmynews, South Korea), Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post), Charlayne Hunter-Gault (US National Public Radio), Ted Koppel (former anchor, ABC's Nightline news), Tumi Magkabo (of Tumi & Co, formerly with CNN), Trevor Ncube (South Africa's Mail & Guardian), Dele Olojede (Pulitzer Prize winner), and others.

"We have urgent business, and that business is development," said Trevor Ncube, Deputy Executive Chairman, Mail & Guardian, addressing his peers.  "Our role is to ensure that we participate in creating a marketplace of ideas and that media is perceived as an integral partner of the development process."


The Lagos meeting focused on six critical areas with a view to developing shared literacy of the issues, and spurring collective action:

  • Impact of new media technologies on the practice of journalism across Africa drawing on lessons of experience from other parts of the world;
  • Need for new business models that are necessary to grow and sustain Africa's media industries;
  • Finance for African media development including access to venture capital, mitigating political risk through innovative guarantee mechanisms, and creating capacity so that media industries have broader access to various sources of capital;
  • Lining mass media to the overall governance agenda in Africa and exploring ways in which the functioning of the fourth estate can be improved;
  • Monetizing  media content for the development agenda, and exploring the challenges and opportunities for creating a value-added, sustainable source of revenue, and
  • Positioning the African Media Initiative (parent body of the AMLF) as a broad-based partnership for improving the African media sector and landscape.  

An overarching objective of the Lagos meeting was to explore ways in which the voices of the vast majority of Africans can be better mobilized to create a new narrative that is centered on wealth creation, away from the stereotypical view that emphasizes problems and deficiencies at the expense of opportunity.  The AMLF participants, representing the continent's influential thinkers and doers, have a key role to play in transforming the one-dimensional image that shortchanges Africa into the more complex image that the continent deserves.

"New media are opening up new opportunities to expand the dialogue on the role of media in sustainable development across Africa," said Eric Chinje, Manager, Africa Region External Affairs, The World Bank.  "Now, more than ever before, is the time to create a new wealth narrative that can help improve the everyday lives of millions of Africans who yearn for economic opportunity, knowledge, and cultural expression."

In keeping with the times, the proceedings and discussions of the AMLF meeting in Lagos were tweeted, twittered, and broadcast live on social media websites including

The full proceedings, including the charter of the African Media Initiative, is available on

Media contact: Tendai Mhizha, AMLF Forum Director, +234 70 693 81691, +27 82 9001 204,

Additional Press Links: