Two teams from the second cohort of the jamlab Accelerator programme were selected to be part of the South Africa Media Innovation Program’s (SAMIP).

Media Hack Collective, a data journalism startup which SAMIP program officer, Siyabona Africa, says was selected, “because it shows great promise in terms of the products and services it is developing, while QuoteThisWoman+’s mission of advocating for more diversity in the media aligns with SAMIP’s focus areas.”

Africa added that the two teams have been awarded grant funding and capacity building support which includes mentorship, consultation and training initiatives.

The Media Hack Collective specialises in journalism and media projects ranging from digital storytelling, data journalism and narrative journalism and more and was co-founded by Alastair Otter & Laura Grant.

Laura Grant and Alastair Otter. Picture: Tshepo Tshabalala

When they joined the jamlab accelerator programme, they were faced with a conundrum of whether the Collective became a proper non-profit company and searcged for funding or it would delve deeper into investigative reporting, which doesn’t really pay.

By the time their journey came to an end on the accelerator programme, the pair learnt how they think of Media Hack Collective as a business. In January, they fnally registered the Collective as a for-profit company, offering their data and visualization services to a range of companies, and not just to traditional media.

Grant says they applied to SAMIP for three main reasons.

“It gives us access to a community of South African media start-ups. We get to know what they are doing, the problems they face and how they solve them. Secondly, we get access to experts. For example, we did a two-day marketing workshop recently that was really useful. And, thirdly, the money, in this climate we need all the help we can get,” she says.

When Kathy Magrobi joined the jamlab accelerator programme, her idea of Quote This Woman+ was a mere concept on paper and a one person show. The idea was simple, to create a database of women in various fields that the South African media can use as expert voices and comment within articles. By the end of the six months on the accelerator programme, Magrobi’s database had close to 200 sources in over 30 categories, ranging from agriculture through to business, the Cape Flats, the economy, Eskom, food security, gender, health, human rights, land, water, and to xenophobia.

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