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Call for Tenders: Supporting community media sustainability in the digital environment

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The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is the most influential media freedom advocacy grouping in South Africa. It consists of title editors and senior journalists operating in print, broadcasting, and digital mainstream at national, regional and community media levels, as well as media trainers and academics from major journalism departments and training institutes in the country.

SANEF’s vision is to promote the quality and ethics of journalism, to reflect the diversity of South Africa, to champion freedom of expression and to work towards the sustainability of journalism.

SANEF is aware of the critical importance of community media to the overall diversity of the media industry. However, we are concerned about the difficult environment that community media are operating in and the fact that many print and broadcast newsrooms struggle to diversify their content distribution and revenue options to include digitally driven future growth areas.

As one way forward SANEF would like to launch a project to assist selected print and broadcast community media organisations to create an online presence through developing sustainable websites and social media strategies. Where necessary, the service provider can also showcase how collaboration can benefit community media, in specific and close regions.

Services required

SANEF would like to invite civic/media tech organisations/companies/consultancies with a track record in digital media/journalism projects to manage and implement a community media digital development project with the following elements:

  1. Design digital workflows and tools for implementation in traditional print and broadcast newsrooms to enable them to publish their content on both traditional and online platforms, as part of a plan to ensure future sustainability.  Elements should include basics such as tools and workflows for digital newsgathering and multimedia production, a WordPress, or similar or better, content management and web publication system and social media strategies and management tools; as well as optional modules such as for streaming and podcasting services, and for different platforms (e.g. WhatsApp, TikTok). The proposed websites should also offer publishers/broadcasters an opportunity to explore alternative revenue streams, i.e. subscription services, online ad revenue, e-commerce or added-value offerings. The websites should also provide for interaction with third party applications, such as Pocket Reporter, which guides young reporters on how to do a variety of stories.
  1. Management of a pilot project to implement variations of this online toolkit in a first batch of 10 to 15 community print and broadcast newsrooms, considering available r individual infrastructure, requirements, and online opportunities in their communities. The project roll-out in each newsroom should include workshops to agree on a suitable set of solutions in each environment as part of a future sustainability plan, hardware, and software set-up as well as the necessary workflow and tools training to enable them to work on their own. In this process the proposed digital workflows and tools (as in 1 above) should be tested and refined for possible roll-out to a second batch of community newsrooms (not included in this tender).
  1. Establishing a central development and help desk to provide support for the roll-out and operations of the digital production and online services of the selected newsrooms.
  1. The proposed criteria and process to select the first batch of community newsrooms for the pilot project, considering provincial, language, urban/rural diversity and different kinds and sizes of newsrooms.

In summary, the project deliverables and budget must make provision for:

–   In point 1, a digital community media sustainability strategy, supported by a blueprint for implementation of a generic plan with variations for different kinds of newsrooms and online content services; plus, the hardware and software requirements per newsroom to implement variations of the blueprint. Also provide a timeline for implementation for each newsroom and for the entire project.

–    In point 2, the individual newsroom digital sustainability implementation plan, hardware and software implementation and training for each newsroom. Provision needs to be made for an assessment stage and adjustments (where necessary), and recommendations for the next batch based on lessons learnt from each newsroom.

–   In point 3, please provide details of the nature and operations of the central desk and services to be provided, from bulk hardware and software acquisition and licensing to management of a central server (if required) and support and maintenance services.

–     In point 4, details about the management of the selection process.

Submitting the tender

The tender document(s) must contain the following:

  • Name of bidder and contact details including company registration
  • Demonstrated experience in undertaking similar projects
  • Two references (name, phone and email, context in which you have worked together).
  • Detailed outline of the project plan, timeline and budget

Shortlisted bidders may be asked to present to the SANEF Management and Community Media sub-committees.

 Due date for submission: Monday, 11 July 2022

Submit your tender(s) to [email protected].

Please note the decision of the SANEF Management and Community Media Sub-Committees are final and no correspondence will be entered into with unsuccessful bidders.