Rhodes University launches media management software

Rhodes University has unveiled the Nika Digital Newsroom management platform, which aims to benefit African media houses that have no access to management systems.

"Media houses that cannot afford expensive content management systems can benefit from Nika; it is open source," said Simon Pamphilon, a lecturer at Rhodes School of Journalism.

Given the rise in mobile-phone use in Africa, the platform incorporates the use of mobile phones to send text messages to the newsroom in case of breaking news and send feedback to the editor, which can be published.

"The software has been tested for more than a year; it is solid and has incorporated aspects of community media, civic journalism and mobile technology," Pamphilon said.

Nika, which means "to give," has been on test at Grocott's Mail, a community newspaper in Grahamstown, South Africa. It also includes folders for editors and journalists and image-management features.

One of the major challenges with the mobile-phone function is authentication: knowing when a tip is genuine and whether comments sent via SMS can be published without being followed up.