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Six teams faced off during a 'media innovation marathon' held in Madagascar on 19–21 June 2015. The 38 participants were extremely driven, sometimes working day and night to create a prototype in line with their ambitions by the deadline.
On the Friday evening, teams made up of journalists, web developers, graphic artists and designers began to set up in the co-working space made available by Habaka, the partner of the operation, to compete against one another in a friendly contest with a view to producing a prototype of a digital information product or service (websites, connected objects or mobile applications) over the course of a single weekend.
Following on from similar events in
Dakar, Abidjan and Douala, the Antananarivo 'media innovation marathon' (also referred to as a 'hackathon') is the third in a long list of conventions devoted to media innovation that have been organised across the whole continent.
11 projects were proposed right off the bat. After each one had been publicly presented, links were then established in order to pool expertise and bring the number down to six more structured, complementary projects.
Throughout the weekend, the mentors tasked with supporting the teams focused specifically on structuring the way in which the projects were presented. In two short minutes, the spokesperson candidates had to give an attractive summary of their prototype. In addition to showing technical and editorial creativity, the candidates were required to think about their presentation and structure it in the form of a story (storytelling).
On the Sunday evening, the panel met to listen to the short presentations, which were followed by 10-minute discussions.
The panel was made up of the following experts, some of whom also served as mentors to the participants over the course of the weekend:
- Andriankoto Razamanana, CEO of the
Habaka incubator (Madagascar)
- Hery Zo Rakotondramanana, journalist,
News Mada (Madagascar)
- Jeanne Richard, local
RFI correspondent (Madagascar)
- Denis Bisson, director of the
Institut français (Madagascar)
- Julien Gueit, CFI digital manager
The winning entries were chosen on the basis of four criteria characteristic of the Africa Innovation programme:
Usefulness – Is
the product/service actually useful?
– Is the product/service easy to use and
Originality – Is
the product/service unique and/or innovative?
Quality – Does the
product/service improve the quality of the information available to the target
The 6 competing projects:
The Niouz project won first prize at the hackathon, closely followed by the Newspiper project, which earned a special mention from the panel for its originality and usefulness.
A pure play based on detailed surveys aimed at a young audience. Half of Madagascar's population is under the age of 18 yet few media outlets target this group directly.
An interactive online newspaper aimed at young people consisting of satirical political cartoons.
An information application on the plundering of natural resources. The team in charge of the project is seeking to enable users of the tool to launch alerts to raise awareness about the plundering and destruction of Madagascar's natural resources – an extremely sensitive issue on the island.
A project that compiles articles that have appeared in the media and republishes them on a platform once the information has been checked. Reading Malagasy news is thus simplified through the use of a tag cloud.
i-Maika (information on the move)
A mobile platform designed to provide information to motorists on the move in the morning. Users can find information relating to road traffic conditions in the Malagasy capital and cultural and practical news.
A training support platform aimed at journalists.
A MOOC set to start in early July
A few teams expressed their desire to continue with their project at whatever cost. They will have access to two free 12-week MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) organised by Africa Innovation: one for journalists and the other for web application developers. This online training will begin in early July.
The half-day conference programme
The half-day on Friday morning was dedicated to a conference led by the established players from the Malagasy media. In addition to the conference programme, the range of discussions and talks given by radio and written press journalists particularly enhanced the event.
Changes in the way ITC is used in Madagascar: how has the media audience acquired this technology? What is it used for? Hosted by Andriamparany Marius, head of research and development at Habaka.
Innovation in the Malagasy media with Lilia Ratefiarivony, founder of the pure play le Daily, Domoina Ratsara, a former journalist at L'Express de Madagascar and Zo Rakotoseheno, editor-in-chief of Midi Madagascar.
New careers in editorial teams with Lilia Ratefiarivony, founder of the pure play le Daily, Hery Zo Rakotondramanana, community manager at News Mada, and Lova Rafidiarisoa, technical web manager at l'Express de Madagascar.
How to interact with bloggers and other amateurs. This final round table session was led by
Ranaivoson Radifera and Ny Haja Zo Andriamifidiosa, both members of
Global Voices Malagasy.
Afrique Innovation, project run by CFI andCode for Africa, aims to encourage the creation and development of innovative information products and services (reinventing the media) in addition to progress in the field of technology and usage (in particular of mobile devices) in line with the expectations of the people of Africa.