Launch of WT Lighthouse – An ambitious approach to journalism in Africa

by MMC
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WeeTracker (WT) launched in 2018 with a grand vision to bridge the information gap in the African technology and venture ecosystem.

Very proudly, in the space of 4 years (including 1 year of a devastating pandemic), we created four brands and deleted two. Our experiments on the habits of readers of Africa-related content have been very thorough and observant.

The challenges we faced

Since launching WT, we’ve received tons of requests from people and institutions looking to publish a variety of articles as authors and contributors on our platform, and we’ve accepted as many as possible. This, in turn, also kept a lingering question in our thoughts: how could we provide unlimited opportunities to more writers and journalists and unlock income for all?

The harsh reality of media and publishing in this day and age is that it is often at the mercy of advertisers, which means a never-ending race for pageviews and unique users. The quest for pageviews has often led publishers to create subpar content and adopt questionable coverage in certain client-involved scenarios, leading to reader dissatisfaction. Sometimes a few platforms end up becoming spokespeople for big brands or big programs.

This problem is universal, perhaps a little more pronounced in Africa. And there’s a reason: Digital publishing companies now have to compete with advertising giants, Meta brands (Facebook and Instagram), and Google for marketing dollars.

The digital marketing boom that took off around ten years ago allowed many publishers to rake in significant sums for the creation of advertising content. At that time, blogging was a decent source of money and a viable career. When the digital advertising wave hit Africa, Facebook and Instagram were already gobbling up the largest share of (digital) marketing spend of any brand.

In the shadow of all these developments, digital media platforms that created content in the form of news articles, opinion pieces and opinion reports have been hit hard. Pageviews/sessions/DAU/MAU have become deciding factors for marketing campaigns. “Marketing ROI” has gradually become the most used jargon in internal meetings. But the true value of all this jargon remains ambiguous. And eventually, blogging became unviable.

The solution we have

There is hope, however. Within the attention-fatigued public, there truly is an opportunity for original content creators – and here we mean writers, journalists, economists, opinion leaders and researchers in Africa. We’ve spent enough midnight oil to establish that there is an audience that truly cares about the content they consume. We experienced this with WT Premium.

Over the past 24 months, our readers have fully supported and paid for WT Premium. Readers not only from Africa but from all over the world. A close look shows that readers interested in the African tech ecosystem and not just funding updates have subscribed with us.

After spending 2 years as an original content creator and driving impressive adoption, the lingering question appears to be resolved. And now is as good a time as any to come back to all writers, journalists and authors and open up this opportunity to them – our mega vision to launch WT headlight.

WT Lighthouse (currently in beta) is a platform where anyone capable of producing high-quality content for readers can introduce themselves as an author (for now, through a simple online application).

WT Lighthouse will allow you (the author) to publish articles, podcasts, research notes and developer guides. Your content will be paid for and any reader can choose to be your subscriber. You will be able to earn through a subscription for the content you generate for a small commission.

This may or may not be a full-time option for content creators. Authors would be able to generate content at their own pace and allow users to make a recurring payment or pay per content. WT Lighthouse takes care of all the heavy lifting of delivering content, so authors can focus solely on creating at their convenience.

We want to start with the main theme of WT – Original | Knowledge | Curious

How can you be part of the solution?

If you are a writer/author/journalist/researcher producing content on the following topics in the African context, please submit your profile. here:

-Venture capital investments

-Private Equity & Financial Markets

-Digital solutions and startups

-Investigative journalism (excluding politics/entertainment /sports content)

-Digital products and technologies

-4th industrial revolution

-Traditional businesses – startups, SMEs

-People of interest (digital ecosystem)

WT Premium will continue to publish stories for its members as usual. He would, in time, become an author on WT Lighthouse serving existing members. Readers can choose from a wider variety of content and experience multiple perspectives. Subject matter experts posting their opinions and views on certain topics would help fill the information gap (as we started).

To apply, please use this link.

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