27 Feb 2011

Who advertises in Kwanza Jamii Njombe, and why?

At the meeting a couple of weeks ago with Femina, one of the most interesting points of discussion was print advertising. This may be a declining industry elsewhere in the world, but in Tanzania it seems the potential of running newspapers and magazines that are largely funded through advertising is strong, and growing.

Sample Kwanza Jamii adverts - click to enlarge
Femina gets most of its funding from donors and therefore hasn't needed to take much paid advertising. But their circulation and readership figures are so big that they can charge very high rates for space. At the meeting, the representative of another very successful Tanzanian magazine was taken aback at how much Femina charges.

Like Femina, Daraja also receives a combination of donor funding and advertising, in our case for the Kwanza Jamii Njombe newspaper. But advertising is a much bigger proportion of our revenue, despite the fact that our audience is much smaller and very localised.

20 Feb 2011

#bombsindar: Gongo la Mboto, the media event, as told by Twitter

The explosions at Gongo la Mboto on Wednesday were a huge tragedy in human terms and a huge embarrassment for the government in general and the army in particular. But they also showed up the state of the Tanzanian media in a less-than-positive light. Coverage of what's probably Tanzania's biggest news event of the year has been disappointing.

For various reasons I wasn't able to follow TV or radio news directly, only indirectly via Twitter, Facebook and Jamii Forums. Journalism was once famously described as the first rough draft of history, but perhaps there's now an even earlier "zero draft" available: the twitter feed recording an event as it unfolds.

19 Feb 2011

The most trusted media brand in Tanzania?

On Friday I attended a very interesting meeting hosted by one of Tanzania's leading media organisations, but one that often get's forgotten in analyses of the Tanzanian media sector. They produce a magazine that's read by 12% of the adult population (2.8 million readers) each month and another that's read by 5% (over 1 million) - easily the two most read magazines in the country and in the same range as the top newspapers*. Both magazines have print runs of nearly 200,000 copies per issue. On top of that they also produce a popular TV show, a website and are even involved in radio. You've probably already worked it out, but just in case you haven't, I'm talking about Femina, with their Fema and Si Mchezo magazines, Fema TV Talk Show, chezasalama.com and the Pilika Pilika radio programme.

10 Feb 2011

Revolution in Magoda? Citizens' agency in practice, but not quite as expected

"Magoda Wafanya Mapinduzi" (Revolution in Magoda) was the front page headline on the very first issue of Daraja's Kwanza Jamii Njombe newspaper when it was launched last year. (See below for the full article as it was published). Residents of Magoda village, 20km from Njombe town, grew tired of waiting for a government-funded water project and decided to go it alone, paying for the project and doing all the work themselves. At the time it felt a little bit like we were over-hyping the story with that headline, but some more recent developments suggests that it might have been just right. We'll come to that in a moment, but first some background.