MediaInc. to strengthen Sri Lanka’s media start-up ecosystem

MediaInc. to strengthen Sri Lanka’s media start-up ecosystem

January 6, 2022   05:37 pm

MediaInc., a cutting-edge initiative aimed at creating “positive disruption” in Sri Lanka’s media space, has finalized its first cohort: three innovative start-up media outlets that will receive comprehensive support in implementing their ideas and launching their platforms.

These digital media start-ups have already made their presence felt – particularly through social media.

This has earned them a place in the incubator, which focuses on the ‘Idea Stage.’ Over the next three months, these media pioneers will receive intensive training and support on key aspects relating to content, commercialization and operations.

Through these efforts, MediaInc. seeks to strengthen alternative news sources, widening citizens’ access to information.

MediaInc. is part of IREX’s Media Empowerment for a Democratic Sri Lanka (MEND) program, supported by USAID, whose mission is to increase Sri Lankan citizens’ demand for and access to, balanced, reliable, and objective news and information.

The first cohort was chosen from over 80 applicants. In selecting these participants, the prioritized criteria included the role played by these start-ups in providing relevant information that their audiences would not otherwise be able to access, their current reach, the innovative nature of their platforms and their scalability potential.

Support will include three months of training and mentoring, access to a studio and co-working space, and assistance in legally registering their brand. The training program, customized to each participant’s need, will cover leadership and management, digital marketing and strategy, including mobile journalism.

The first cohort includes Heshan de Silva, who manages a widely-used platform which aggregates and disseminates English news reports on Sri Lanka; Jayantha Kovilagodage, the economist who created ‘Sri Lanka Business TV’, a Sinhala-medium social media channel focusing on business; and, Krishnasamy Harenthiran, the founder of Kuruvi.lk, a citizen journalism initiative which provides a platform to share stories of relevance to the residents of the estate sector.

IREX will draw on its pool of expert trainers, among whom are David Hayward, a veteran ex-journalist with more than 25 years of experience in media and digital news; Wendy Pilmer, a trainer and consultant who now consults for the world’s leading broadcasters and who has also held senior positions at the BBC; and, Neal Moore, an expert in content strategy and storytelling, with more than 20 years of experience in the field.

“We are very excited to support and empower these innovative, dynamic and passionate digital media start-ups, who have already made their presence felt and are contributing in their own unique ways towards positively disrupting the country’s media landscape,” MEND Chief of Party, Jean MacKenzie said. “In today’s increasingly polarized informationspace, it is critical to empower alternative voices who can inform and educate the public and provide a counter-narrative to the often partisan mainstream. An informed public is a necessary component of a vibrant democracy.”

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