Harry Dugmore: Philanthropically-funded news: the future of public interest journalism in South Africa?

Photo by Thomas Charters on Unsplash

Friday, 9 November 2018 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm : KG – Venue to be confirmed

The increasing inability of commercial news organisations to fund resource-intensive investigations, or cover specialist subjects such as health and education, threatens important elements of public life in developing countries. The decline of public broadcasting and the current insolvency of the SABC in South Africa has further reduced the quantity and the quality of news journalism in South Africa. Philanthropically-supported and ‘crowd-funded’ journalism is one response to these challenges, but these approaches generate their own contradictions and constraints. Drawing on interviews with a wide range of editors and publishers, this paper explores the business models and audience engagement strategies of South Africa’s three most prominent philanthropically-funded news organisations: AmaBhungane, Health-e and The Conversation, Africa.

Harry Dugmore is the Director of the Centre for Health Journalism at Rhodes University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies in Grahamstown, South Africa, where he also coordinates the Masters in digital journalism studies. Harry is a visiting researcher at QUT’s DMRC in 2018, finalising a monograph on the state of media economics in South Africa. Harry’s was lead author of The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) recent consensus study Diversity in Human Sexuality: Implications for Policy in Africa.