Deutsche Welle (DW) Akademie offers assistance to independent media outlets to improve their business models with a 2-phased approach. This includes a so called V(iability)-Sprint, followed by tailor-made consultations through African media viability experts. This enables media to adjust to the economic, legal and socio-political effects of COVID-19 in their own countries. Participating media outlets are enabled to use the current crisis as an opportunity to improve their content and distribution, adjust internal organisational processes, and to better understand the needs of their audiences so that they become more resilient in the long-term.

Visualisation of the V-Sprint

The V-Sprint is facilitated by two certified DW Akademie trainers. Online sessions are spread over 5 days with participants expected to actively engage in sessions for 3.5 hours per day and spare another hour for additional work at a time of their convenience in preparation for the next session.

Based on DW Akademie’s News Media Viability concept, the V-Sprint assesses issues such as quality content, audience engagement, as well as financial sustainability, and clarifies the interconnections between these areas in a playful and interactive way.

Using DW Akademie’s strategic management tool, VAM (Viability Assessment Map) 360º, facilitators guide the core team of the organisation through a process to help them delve into their current strategy and validate it from a viability perspective.

Each session is based on the particular challenges of the participating media. Participants are encouraged to find their own answers to the most pressing viability questions.

Through a hands-on approach, the V-Sprint will allow media outlets to:

  • Reframe their vision, mission, values and goals;
  • Explore their audience(s) so that they can better engage them for their activities;
  • Define the organisation’s unique, competitive edge;
  • Discover strategic threats and identify unused potentials, even within a crisis;
  • Review their cost/revenue structure and identify areas to improve;
  • Determine what components would make the organisation more viable;
  • Define how they measure success;
  • Identify areas for donor support.

The different V-Sprint sessions – both in terms of their content and their timing – are adjusted to participants’ needs and their working environment. For maximum result, staff from all departments (journalism, editorial, admin, management, etc.) should take part.

Participants will leave the session with a Viability Fast Forward, a list of priorities to invest in and a clear list of to-do’s. This list is the focal point for media viability experts that subsequently consult and guide the participating media so that they can get started on adjusting to changes in their operational environment and become more resilient.

Are you a media outlet wanting to work independently on your viability strategy? Use the questions of the VAM (Viability Assessment Map) 360º to take an analytic look at the viability of your organisation.