Announcing #MediaHack – A Hackathon for Media Sustainability and Viability in Pakistan

Announcing #MediaHack – A Hackathon for Media Sustainability and Viability in Pakistan

Are you an entrepreneurial journalist looking for an opportunity to expand your outlet or business idea? Or do you have a (news) media startup idea that you want to further develop and business model around?

Well, you are in luck!

Media Matters for Democracy is hosting #MediaHack — A Hackathon for Media Sustainability & Viability in Pakistan, a first-of-its-kind media acceleration event for journalists running their own independent media outlets or seeking sustainable business development models for their outlets or startup ideas, or even those who have a great media startup idea and want to pursue it.

#MediaHack Hackathon will be held from 31st May to 3rd June 2022.

What are we offering?

We are inviting 26 entrepreneurial journalists from across the country to take part in #MediaHack – a four-day-long hackathon – which will be hosted by Media Matters for Democracy and the Media Lab.

In the four days, the participants will go through rigorous coursework aimed at helping them understand the key dynamics, challenges, opportunities, and potential strategies for independent content creation, and its monetisation through traditional and alternative business models, among other things. After the coursework, participants will be given hands-on assistance in developing their ideas through design-thinking and will be given extensive thematic support from various professionals during the process.

At the end of the Hackathon, participants will present their final ideas, business models, and work plans, to a panel of judges. The top 4 winners will be given grants worth 500,000 PKR for the implementation of the winning business models.

Why should you apply?

#MediaHack is a one-of-its-kind in Pakistan, focusing on equipping entrepreneurial journalists with the necessary skills to help them launch their independent (news) media outlets, and helping them through a number of means, including grants and long-term mentorship.

Winning participants will be given grants for the implementation of their startup ideas and business models. Winners (depending on their location) will also be given access to MMFD’s digital studios with top-of-the-line video production equipment and facilities.

All other participants will be given full hands-on support in developing their media startup ideas, and business models to support them.

How does it work?

All applications will be assessed through a comprehensive selection matrix, based on a number of factors, including personal experience, commitment, and eligibility as an “entrepreneurial journalist”.

In addition to the text responses, all applicants will be required to submit a short 2-minute video responding to the listed questions (in the video profile section). Please make sure you address all queries in the video as mentioned at the end of the application form.

Applicants are also advised to ensure that they remain available to be contacted on the details shared in the form–MMFD may get in touch with applicants during the screening process for further assessment.

Once the applications are received, an internal jury will review the applications and 26 finalists will be invited to participate in the #MediaHack Hackathon from 30th May to 3rd June. Please save the dates. All travel and lodging expenses and arrangements would be made by MMFD.

At the conclusion, participants will be given an opportunity to present their ideas to the external jury, which will select the top 4 winners. During the hackathon, all participants will also be evaluated on their performance, behaviour, creativity, and engagement by MMFD team, and the feedback will reflect on the final outcomes of the external jury.

The application closes on 25th May, Wednesday. Shortlisted applicants will be notified by 28th May 2022.

Who can apply?

You are eligible to apply for the hackathon if you meet the following criteria:

* A journalist and an entrepreneur with a solid commitment to their independent (news) media outlet / media startup idea, and a business pitch we just can’t refuse.

* Have a basic understanding of media sustainability and viability.

* People with 3+ years of experience would be given preference. Women-led media outlets and start-up ideas will also be given preference.

* People belonging to the same media outlet may apply as well. Candidates will be selected on the basis of their pitch and applications, not their affiliation to any media.

What do we need from you?

While applying for the Hackathon, please note that you will have to submit an application through a form (link of which is given below), share links of your published works, and upload a video response too.

Key questions to be answered in the short video:

1. Do you identify yourself as an entrepreneurial journalist? If yes, please explain how.

2. Do you own an existing independent media (news) outlet (such as a YouTube Channel or a website)? If yes, please share the details of your work and the content you’ve produced through this outlet — OR  — Do you have a digital media (news) startup idea that you want to pursue? If yes, please share a short summary.

3. Do you have an existing business model, or an idea of a business model, to sustain your digital media startup (or the startup idea), or would you require assistance in developing one? If yes, please share a short summary.

4. Please tell us where you see yourself in the next 5 years with regards to your own media outlet / media startup idea?

5. What kind of assistance do you require from MMFD? (These can include design, editorial strategy, web development, video production, etc.)

Please note that the submission of the application means that participants agree to the following conditions if they are selected for the event:

  • Your concepts will be discussed during the event with other participants and with the consent of all parties involved, they can be adopted by other participants. We will also encourage partnerships during the Hackathon, and depending on the compatibility, expertise, and other factors, give suggestions to idea leads.
  • You will participate in a four-day hackathon event and not engage in any behavior which may result in your disqualification. See terms and conditions for details.

Where to apply?

Applicants may submit their applications using the link below.

The form defines the requirements of the application and must be filled in and submitted. Please press “Submit” at the end of the application form to ensure that your application is received.

The applications should be submitted using the link below. We look forward to your applications!

Please note that by submitting an application the applicant agrees to the terms and conditions of this program.


Note: Any information collected through this form will solely be used to contact you for this event, and no one outside of Media Matters for Democracy (MMfD) will be granted access to this information. However, because this form is created through Google Forms, all details will be stored on Google’s servers and any data breach of or through their servers will not be the responsibility of MMfD.