Thursday, March 08, 2012

The IPI News Innovation Contest 2012 has added two top media professionals to its Advisory Board.

Jordan Media Institute Funder, Highway Africa Director Offer Broad Expertise

VIENNA, March 7, 2012 – The International Press Institute (IPI) has received more than 100 applications for theIPI News Innovation Contest 2012.

The IPI News Innovation Contest is aimed at advancing the future of digital news by funding new ways to inform communities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The project is the only one of its kind covering three areas on a regional scale.

Proposals satisfying IPI's requirements and expectations will be selected, and then reviewed by a group of experts in digital media, news platforms, journalism, online economic models, training and press freedom, among other domains.

"For 2012, two new advisory board members have been selected, varying the evaluation perspectives for those projects participating for the second time," said IPI's Grants Officer José Otárola-Silesky. "Reviewers from 2011 will be able to measure the improvement in projects submitted for a second time, compared to all the new and very strong entries we have for this call."


The new members are:

Her Royal Highness Princess Rym Ali

Funder of the Jordan Media Institute

Prior to marrying His Royal Highness Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, Her Royal Highness worked extensively for international broadcasters including CNN, as producer and later as Baghdad correspondent from 2001 until 2004. Before joining the BBC, Her Highness developed her portfolio working for Dubai TV, Bloomberg TV, Radio Monte Carlo Moyen Orient and United Press International (UPI).

Princess Rym Ali received a prestigious Award from the Columbia University School of Journalism in April 2011. The Alumni Awards are presented annually for a distinguished journalism career, an outstanding journalistic achievement, or a notable contribution to journalism education.

In July 2011, she was also awarded the "Best International Journalist" prize at the 32nd Ischia International Journalism Awards Ceremony, one of the most prestigious journalistic awards in Italy.

In September 2011, Princess Rym Ali was decorated with the French Knight of the Legion of Honor by the French Ambassador to Jordan.

Chris Kabwato

Director, Highway Africa

Chris Kabwato's portfolio includes an emphasis on knowledge-based development with a focus on ICT, media and the arts. He is currently Director of Highway Africa, a position he assumed in 2003.  Highway Africa is a Centre with the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University (Grahamstown, South Africa).  Among other things, Highway Africa is a network of African journalists which exists to promote the use of digital media by journalists.  Highway Africa convenes the largest annual gathering of African journalists (over 700 participants attended the 2011 conference). 

A Zimbabwean national, Chris was previously Head of Education & Public Affairs at the British Council in Harare. 

He is also Convenor of the Reporting Development Network Africa – an annual forum on media and development and publisher of Chris' interests are in digital media, photography and jazz

Her Royal Highness Princess Rym Ali and Chris Kabwato will join, on the Advisory Board, the group of experts already convened for the 2011 portion of the Contest:

Amy Webb

·  CEO and Principal Consultant, Webbmedia, Baltimore, USA

·  15+ years working with digital media, founder of several web-based companies

·  Clients have said that Amy has "an encyclopedic knowledge of the tech industry", and "immediate access to all of the latest and most important trends"

Fernando Samaniego

·  Chief Digital Officer and Advisor to the Board, Grupo Ferre Rangel, Puerto Rico, USA

·  Former COO of Publications, Online & IT, Arab Media Group (AMG), Dubai, UAE

·  15+ years' experience on four continents transforming traditional media companies into new media market leaders and managing complex digital operations with massive traffic

·  Extensive work with media organisations worldwide including newspapers, TV, Internet, and mobile

Torsten De Riese

·  Managing Director of NewsCred Ltd., which helps traditional publishers monetize their content online

·  Worked as Digital Director at CNBC Europe, leading CNBC's digital strategy for the EMEA region

·  Specialties: e-readers, apps, platform publishing, digital marketing, strategic media technology, licensing, copyright, digitization.

Tony Dara

·  TV broadcast engineer by training

·  Founder of NN24 (Network News 24), Nigeria's first 24-hour news channel, in 2008

·  Worked with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), ITV Central and Bloomberg TV in the UK, and Snell and Wilcox Ltd, a leading global TV broadcast equipment manufacture

For more information about the IPI News Innovation Contest Advisory Board, please visit our

Final remarks from the Advisory Board will be collected throughout this month and  reviewed by IPI managerial staff; the winners will be notified and publicly announced in April.

For more information, interviews and media requests please contact:
José Otárola-Silesky
Grants Officer
International Press Institute
Spiegelgasse 2/29
A-1010 Vienna, Austria
Tel: +43-1-512-90-14


International Institute for ICT Journalism

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