Media Leaders Discuss Digital Transformations, AI, Others at Bloomberg Forum 2023

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By Adedapo Adesanya

Media, business, government, technology, and community leaders from across Africa and the globe are in Cape Town, South Africa for this year’s annual Africa Business Media Innovators (ABMI) forum.

They are in the country for the 2023 Bloomberg Foru, which started on Tuesday, October 31, and will end on Wednesday, November 1, to explore innovative approaches to fostering a vibrant media sector in Africa.

The event is co-hosted by the chief executive of Bloomberg Media, Mr M. Scott Havens, the Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Bloomberg News, Mr Matthew Winkler, and the Corporate Philanthropy for the Middle East and Africa at Bloomberg, Ms Erana Stennett.

The ABMI forum focuses on the ideas and business solutions that can contribute to the future of media and journalism in Africa and has brought together a range of speakers including media owners, senior editors, business leaders, government offices, community leaders, and philanthropic organizations from over 10 countries.

Participants heard from speakers on a range of topics from the influence of AI and digital technologies on media in Africa, to the future of work in the newsroom and the sustainability of legacy publications across the continent.

Day one concluded with a Gala Dinner at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town, followed by a private tour of Mary Evans’ exhibition ‘GILT’, led by Ms Koyo Kouoh, Executive Director, and Chief Curator, Zeitz MOCAA.

Speaking at the event, Ms LaSharah Bunting, CEO, Online News Association, said, “Media continues to evolve with the needs and development of our readers, watchers, and listeners. As our viewers have changed, so too have our ways of working. I look forward to discussing how newsrooms harness the opportunities of our evolving media landscape, while also tackling some of the most pressing challenges, such as misinformation and fake news.”

As for Ms Thembisa Fakude, CEO, Mail & Guardian, she said, “While technological innovation is providing huge opportunities for African media to open its reporting to a wider audience, we must be mindful of the risks that come with this, particularly around misinformation.  Given the pace of this technological revolution, it’s crucial that the news industry comes together to discuss how we continue creating a vibrant and responsible news industry that informs the public while supporting economic growth right across the continent.”

Ms Danai Gurira, Actress, Playwright, Activist, Artistic Director of Almasi Collaborative Arts, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, said storytelling is one of the most powerful tools for changing the perception of Africa and allowing a complex, rich self-exploration of its history and unique culture.

“It’s boundless possibilities to give Africa its own voice is what brought me to writing and acting, and I seek to connect with other innovators to share ideas and discuss solutions for taking Africa’s creative industry to the next level.”

The annual event forms part of the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa (BMIA), a pan-African program launched by Michael R. Bloomberg in 2014. The initiative is designed to advance business journalism in Africa and accelerate the development of a globally competitive media and financial reporting industry.

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