PIN has been designed, by APR, to allow media to systematically recruit tens of thousands of ordinary citizens, profiling each of their grassroots expertise and life experience (including their location and demographics) in an easy-to-use database.
(in partnership with American Public Radio and the Mail&Guardian):
A recurrent criticism of African media is that much of its reportage is one-dimensional. It often only reflects the voices and priorities of the power elite, be they businessmen, politicians, academics, or foreign institutions. Pundits are seldom ordinary people, and even so called ‘experts’ are invariably a handful of dial-a-quote media personalities. One reason for this is access: it is expensive, time consuming, and resource intensive to reach out to grassroots or rural people on a sustained and meaningful basis — especially on the tight production deadlines demanded by breaking news. AMI has therefore engineered a partnership between the only available ‘source relationship management’ tool, PIN, and the Mail&Guardian newspaper in South Africa. PIN has been designed, by APR, to allow media to systematically recruit tens of thousands of ordinary citizens, profiling each of their grassroots expertise and life experience (including their location and demographics) in an easy-to-use database. The database allows journalists to instantly find ordinary, civically engaged people anywhere in the country to speak knowledgeably about topical issues. It therefore serves as a counterweight to the dial-a-quote pundits. PIN also allows citizens to proactively shape the news agenda, by giving them a trusted and direct channel into newsrooms for tip-offs, suggestions, and commentary. The AMI partnership aimed to take this further by developing a mobile interface to allow PIN to reach into the most deprived shantytowns or distant rural regions, plus developing a whistle-blower channel for anonymous yet secure tip-offs. The AMI mobile interface allows media to use PIN as a management tool for a wider range of public consultation, including polls, surveys, events (such as media-led town hall meetings), and systematic citizen journalism / reporting projects.
Kenya is a pioneer in open data as it is the first African country to have made public hundreds of data sets. AMI has seized the opportunity and spearheaded a number of pilot projects aimed at capitalizing on the opportunities of using open data for social, economic and democratic transformation. In January 2012, AMI organized with a number of other partners the first African Open Data Boot camp. During three days, journalists and developers came together and a number of ideas for apps emerged which were later, fine-tuned and endorsed.