Knight International Journalism Fellowships

Sub-Saharan Africa: Develop New Business Models

Knight Fellow Meredith Beal is working with the African Media Initiative, the only group of media owners on the continent, to find new revenue streams.

Knight International Journalism Fellow Meredith Beal is a media entrepreneur who is working with members of the African Media Initiative (AMI) to develop effective business models, improve management structures, and create new revenue streams to support quality news coverage. AMI is a pan-African organization of media owners and operators.

Beal is mentoring a half dozen African media organizations, helping them to monetize mobile and online news services and creating models that can be replicated by other organizations. He has organized international mentors for newspapers across Africa, linking experts at the World Association of Newspapers (WAN-IFRI) with managers at independent dailies in Kenya (The Standard), Zimbabwe (The Zimbabwean), Mauritius (Le Sentinelle) and Burundi (IWACU). Beal and the WAN mentors have assisted the newspapers with plans for newsroom reorganization and convergence to facilitate better coordination among print, broadcast and online operations.

Beal also forged an alliance between American experts and East African TV industry leaders to aid African stations with the transition from analog to digital transmission, bringing in trainers from the Federal Communications Commission in Washington to work with African stations. The transition, which under law must be complete by 2015, will allow television stations throughout the region to expand their reach to millions of additional viewers. The sessions will result in case studies for use by television stations across Africa as they make the shift from analog to digital.

Beal has produced a guide for African station owners and operators with tips on managing the migration from analog to digital. He also has organized and moderated panel discussions on the topic at major conferences in Africa.

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