By Bongani Shongwe

Cardinal Magazine’s entry into the Jamlab Accelerator Programme saw us feel the pressure from all that the programme had to offer but holding onto the conviction that we were being refined. Subsequently, as time elapsed we got the hang of things and our experience can best be described by the famous phrase ‘shaken, not stirred’ which appears in the James Bond novel Diamonds are Forever.

Our experience so far in the programme can be likened to creating a Martini, we were just raw material and ideas before being mixed into a well crafted, well presented final product. With no prior experience or knowledge on how accelerator programmes work, we were worried if we would still emerge the same or be a new creation which was different from what we had conceptualised. Without letting fear stop us we took on the challenge and opened up to learning, trying new things, not fearing failure anymore.

In the famous phrase ‘shaken, not stirred’, which relates to how stirring a martini merely chills the drink and dilutes it, and shaking it brings out a new texture to the creation; that is what Jamlab has been for us. It has been a new awakening, a new sense of exploring has been ignited which has given us a new direction which promotes the growth of the magazine.

One of the first things we learnt was organisational structure from a micro to a macro level, which has helped us structure how we talk to corporates and led to us featuring well established luxury accommodation and dining groups with a 5-star portfolio of establishments across southern Africa, alongside reputable brands.

One of the most important things we’ve learnt was customer segmentation. Our first publication was a mixture of travel, lifestyle and leisure issues which was clustered for readers and through learning and implementing customer segmentation we have broken down the magazine from one publication into three individual publications.

The travel publication covers tourism and health, the lifestyle publication covers beauty and fashion, and the leisure publication covers food & art, with the main theme in all of them being edutainment on xenophobia and racism.

Segmenting our readers has assisted us to better cater to the readers’ needs and not flooding them with content that would be irrelevant to them.

The JamLab Accelerator is a six-month hothouse programme for journalism and media innovators. It is based at Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in the heart of Johannesburg.


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