Amplify South Africa

Tailored support for South African media

Amplify South Africa provides tailored mentoring, capacity strengthening and grant funding to selected independent media. Focused on enhancing revenue streams, expanding audience reach and exploring innovative business models, it builds on the successes of MDIF’s South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP) which, from 2017 to 2023, worked with 27 media outlets and carried out six investments.

Amplify South Africa continues this legacy of advancing media innovation and offering a pathway for media outlets to thrive in the evolving digital landscape. The program is funded by the International Fund for Public Interest Media.

Applications are currently closed.

Key features

With a dynamic blend of personalized, hands-on learning and collaborative networking, here’s what participants can expect from the program:

  • Bespoke one-on-one coaching and training to drive business growth
  • Diverse media management advice by local and international experts
  • Support from media start-up specialists to identify and develop optimal business strategies and models
  • Focus on developing new revenue streams and building audience, while maximizing engagement and customer experience
  • Advice on organization, leadership, project structure and execution workflow
  • Targeted grant funding tied to capacity support to maximize effectiveness
  • Workshops, hands-on-training and opportunities to connect with industry experts and fellow participants to gain insights from successful real-world examples

Criteria for joining the program

A media organization applying for Amplify South Africa must fulfill certain conditions. Please read through the full eligibility criteria to check whether your company might qualify. Applications will be opening soon.

  1. Applicants must be media outlets based in South Africa, independent from the government or any other political or economic interest group.
  2. Applicants must be supportive of democratic practices and institutions, political pluralism, transparency, human rights, dignity and equal rights for all, regardless of race, ethnic or social origin, gender, sex, sexual orientation, disability, religion, culture or language.
  3. Applicants should have a particular business and/or revenue and/or transformation project they are planning to work on over the next 12-24 months (or early in the stages of an existing project) targeting one or more of the following focal areas:
    • New revenue opportunities: Innovative solutions to revenue challenges that media companies face – opening up new revenue streams to make media organizations more sustainable and independent.
    • Digital native products: New approaches to collecting news and information, and to reporting, storytelling and distribution, that embrace the possibilities of technology and contribute to the viability of news operations.
    • Reaching communities in rural/underserved areas: Innovative approaches to reach and empower people generally underserved by existing news media.
    • Innovation in distribution: Media technology and tools that help to distribute local and relevant news in a cost-effective and sustainable way.
    • Transition to digital: Finding and implementing solutions, products or processes that assist legacy media to transform their businesses.
  4. Applicants must be willing to commit sufficient time to work with coaches/mentors and carry out assigned tasks.

What applicants need to know

Amplify South Africa invites existing independent media companies and non-profit organizations, as well as new ventures that are less than a year old, to apply.

Over a two-year period, the Amplify South Africa cohort will develop the tools and skills needed to experiment with revenue and audience generation opportunities and test new business models. Amplify South Africa encourages collaboration and the cohort will have opportunities to participate in spaces created for co-learning and knowledge exchange. 

We are looking for independent media ranging from early stage, small scale to more established organizations serving both urban and rural audiences. Applicants should have innovative initiatives/projects that address issues impacting the organization’s sustainability and independence.

In addition to bespoke coaching, the media cohort will have access to targeted grant funding, typically ranging from $5k-$25k per year, depending on the project.

Applications are currently closed.

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FAQs

No. The program is designed to support a diverse range of independent media organizations based in South Africa. They may be an established for-profit or non-profit organization, or a new venture that is just kicking off. We encourage independent media who fit the criteria to apply regardless of their size, stage of development, language or medium.

No. All independent media organizations which are committed to quality information, news and debate in the public interest are encouraged to apply. We encourage applicants who don’t have traditional journalism and media backgrounds, such as innovative startups, including native digital and others innovating with content delivery, as well as innovative tools and technologies supporting products, services and tools that directly or indirectly increase citizens’ ability to access news and information.

No. Whilst Amplify South Africa is an English medium program, media organizations working in any of South Africa’s official languages will be encouraged to apply.

Yes, but they must be committed to developing non-donor revenue streams.

Amplify South Africa principally provides capacity-building support in the form of coaching and training. The program does have available some targeted grant funding tied to capacity support to maximize effectiveness.

Coaching schedules are based on agreement between the media and the coach assigned to work with them, but virtual meetings are usually weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, with periodic in-person coaching meetings as well. At least two of the media’s top executives should be ready to participate regularly in the coaching program.

Applications are currently closed.

If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please contact us on [email protected].