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Between July 2017 and December 2018, CFI helped to consolidate traditional media outlets on the internet and on social networks, in eight French-speaking African countries, through the Media 360° project.
When the project came to an end, a project evaluation was carried out by the independent firm NomadGreen.
Summary of the results.
Medias 360° is following in the footsteps of projects already launched by CFI in Africa in the field of new media and innovation (Innovate Africa, OpenData Media, Naila, etc.). It also joins those already working with other traditional media outlets (radio, television and the written press). A pilot project, Media 360° favoured a new and innovative approach to help the beneficiary media outlets, selected after a call for applications, in their transition to digital.
The project initiatives began with the design of a media strategy for online development, for its implementation throughout the project through coaching sessions, support for managers and training for journalists.
An unprecedented project, in terms of both its origin and its scope
According to the conclusions of the evaluation, Media 360° met, to a large extent, the expectations of the beneficiary media outlets and the principal and specific intended objectives, even though the results differ greatly from one media outlet to another.
Media 360° is an unprecedented cooperation project, in terms of both its origin and its scope. Stemming from an on-the-ground demand, it proved to be entirely suitable to meet the requirements of French-speaking African media outlets to strengthen their presence on the internet and social networks, and consistent in terms of the initiatives carried out to achieve this.
The diversity of the participants, their initial digital skills, the presence or absence of a digital strategy in their development policy, and the differences in their financial, material, technical and human resources may explain the inconsistency in the results. However, all the beneficiaries were made aware of the importance of developing media outlets on the internet and social networks. By way of training workshops, seminars and coaching sessions, both the direct beneficiaries and indirect beneficiaries – when skills were shared across editorial departments – now have access to tools to strengthen their position in the digital world.
A “test laboratory" which has proved its worth
Over its course, the project was able to adapt and evolve to best meet the needs of the beneficiaries, without ever losing sight of the objectives set at the beginning. The fact that these objectives were not modified over the 18 months of the project and that they were achieved, albeit at different levels depending on the media outlet, proves their relevance and suitability to the realities on the ground. The organisation and communication efforts undertaken by the CFI teams with all of the parties involved, and the flexibility and skill of experts greatly contributed to its success.
Media 360° is a pilot project which has proved its worth. The running and content of the initiatives gave the project flexibility which was essential to its success. An innovative project, it can serve as an example, bringing together the best practices to be followed in the development of other projects, whether they are led by CFI or by other backers. It appears to be a "test laboratory" in which experts were able to try out different ways of operating, to best adapt to the needs of the participants and achieve high-level results.
However, a project like Media 360° cannot by itself support a media outlet's transition to digital. It rather appears to be the initial part of a broader range of programmes, which would provide support for media outlets in their global digital development.