FOUNDING STORY: We want to hear about your “Aha!” moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution’s potential to change the world.
By 2007, I had spent nearly ten years working on Middle East politics across all media platforms (TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, books and web) – watching coverage shrink, news outlets die and journalists be laid off. (I was a correspondent in Iraq in 2003, set up an arts and politics magazine in Beirut in 2004, and have written and appeared in the UK and US press on Middle East issues since 2000).
Simultaneously, I was heavily involved in free speech activism, specifically as it related to democratisation and empowerment in the Middle East, and as a direct antidote to radicalisation. (I ran the Middle East Programme at the world’s oldest defence thinktank – www.rusi.org - in 2005)
It dawned on me in 2007, that I could build a platform that would tie free-speech into the media model and provide a business model to sustain it: a platform that would ultimately incentivise citizens to tell their stories to the world. So Demotix – the word comes from the Greek Demos (people) and Demotic (of the people) - was born.
Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date
Demotix has published the work of citizen journalists in dozens of countries all over the world, telling stories the world would often have otherwise not known. We have licensed thousands of our contributors’ images and videos, generating hundreds of thousands of dollars for contributors, motivating them to get ever more immersed in the business of talking truth to power.
What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?
We currently provide a platform for c.5,000 active contributors around the world, publish 1,800-2,000 stories monthly, and showcase our contributors' work to the 1m+ visits we receive on Demotix.com every month.
Over the next five years, we seek to grow 10-fold. We seek to power, finally, a total alternative newswire - of the breadth and depth of an AP or Reuters, but run from the bottom up, by our contributors. We seek to democratise the way the news is sourced, and the way the news is told.
Demotix is certainly replicable - with the right commitment, community and distribution.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
1,000 mobile sign-ups in the developing world (where web is much less prevalent)
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
10,000 active contributors across the globe; treble sales revenue for contributors