New Wits Journalism and Media Innovation Hub Open for Applications Now

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Applications open today for a new six-month innovation support programme for existing or new South African journalism and media teams. The Journalism and Media Accelerator (JAMLAB) will be home to innovators who want to develop new forms of journalism and also reach new, younger, audiences.

JAMLAB will provide participating teams with the tools, facilities, contacts and the support necessary to realise their ideas and ambitions, combining professional mentorship with a collaborative and creative tech-advanced working space.

UP to six teams will be selected for the programme, which runs from July at Wits Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in Braamfontein. This will be the first accelerator programme to launch at Tshimologong.

Successful applicants will receive:
– A six-month fellowship at Wits Journalism
– Free workspace and membership at the new Tshimologong Precinct co-working space
– Mentorship and coaching from experienced media, start-up and tech experts, and entrepreneurs
– Free places on a three-month Wits ‘Creating the Media’ certificate course
– Access to a software development team at Tshimologong
– Opportunities to pitch to potential investors and funders

JAMLAB will be seeking to ensure that JAMLAB addresses historic inequalities of opportunities in South Africa and that those who are selected are a diverse group of people who understand and want to engage the widest range of South African audiences.

The partners are especially keen to see women and women-led teams apply.

Indra de Lanerolle, JAMLAB director, says: “We are looking for great new ideas that can change the media and journalism landscape. We want strong teams that are passionate about stories, information, opinion and ideas. They must also have a keen interest to engage with new audiences. Whether non-profit or for profit, brand new or old hands, as long as you have the energy to do something new that can make a real difference to media and journalism in South Africa.”

JAMLAB is a programme of Wits Journalism and the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering in partnership with Ryerson University, Toronto and Journalists for Human Rights.

Prof Barry Dwolatzky, director, JCSE and founder of Tshimologong Precinct, says that this is an exciting collaboration: “We are delighted to work with such esteemed partners to focus on creating new ideas that bring technology and journalism closer together. As the first accelerator programme to launch at the precinct, we are both excited and happy to host the next generation of journalists and media moguls.”

To apply or find out more about the programme visit http://medium.com/jamlab, follow @jamlabafrica on Twitter or on Facebook Facebook.com/jamlabafrica. Applications close on 9 June 2017.

About the JCSE
The Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) is a three-way partnership between government, academia and industry. Based at Wits University, the JCSE is multifaceted with various programmes and facilities positioning it as a focal point of a software development industry for South Africa and the rest of the continent.

The JCSE strongly supports the City’s “Joburg 2030 Vision”, which sees Johannesburg becoming a World Class City with service delivery and efficiencies that meet global best practice. It supports this goal by promoting best practice in software development within an African context; growing the country’s capacity to deliver world-class software, and developing research and training initiatives to strengthen the local software development industry.

About Tshimologong
The Tshimologong Precinct is a Technology Hub in Joburg – Growing jobs through high-tech start-ups and skills development over the past year Wits University, through its JCSE, has been driving an initiative to promote the creation of successful ICT Start-ups. The “Digital Technology Innovation Zone” has been established in a row of 5 buildings in Juta Street, Braamfontein, close to the University’s main campus. The Zone provides an exciting environment that attracts students and a broad spectrum of other residents of Johannesburg with an interest in digital technology innovation and entrepreneurship. Various activities and programmes, such as Hackathons and Challenges, will be run with the aim of developing skills, encouraging innovation and promoting the development of new enterprises. All of the JCSE’s existing skills development initiatives will also be run in the Zone. The area in which the Zone is being established has been named the “Tshimologong Precinct”, from the Setswana word for “new beginnings”. Creating the Zone will become a catalyst for urban regeneration in that part of central Johannesburg.