Since 2013, TechCabal, the flagship publication of Big Cabal Media, has told stories about Africa’s startup ecosystem. In January 2021, we launched TechCabal 3.0, broadening our mission to tell stories beyond startups to cover the full breadth of technology’s impact on the continent. With TC 3.0, we capture the players, human impact, and business of technology in Africa, covering startups and big technology players, local and international; innovators, regulators, and everything in–between. TechCabal aims to provide the reporting, content, context, events, data, and stories that show the world how tech is changing Africa.
It’s a bold mission and one that’s in its early days. Great media businesses take time to build, and high-impact newsrooms require extensive resources to get right. To ensure we have the resources to build a business with impact and longevity, we have focused on business model innovation, developing a profitable, high-growth media business that has attracted attention from local and international investors.
There is a tension that has always existed in media businesses between the rigour and objectivity required for outstanding journalism and the business demands of keeping those media businesses properly funded. That tension is particularly enhanced in the case of a publication like TechCabal which is funded through advertising, sponsorship, and other means, by players within the same industry that it covers. We hire talent from a similarly limited pool, and are supported by those within the industry who believe in our vision and promise not just as a publisher but also as a business.
A recent example of this tension has surfaced in our coverage of allegations against Flutterwave, one of the largest and most important startups in Africa. Flutterwave is an advertiser with TechCabal and a sponsor of some of our properties. Future Africa, which Iyin Aboyeji (Flutterwave co-founder and former CEO) leads, and Gbenga Agboola, Flutterwave CEO, are investors in Big Cabal Media, the parent company of TechCabal. Additionally, Koromone Koroye, Managing Editor and Acting Editor-in-Chief of TechCabal, previously worked at Flutterwave. This tangle of relationships is unsurprising given that TechCabal, and Big Cabal Media, operate within the same tech industry that we cover. To be clear, TechCabal will cover the Flutterwave story or stories that involve any other partners of ours, present and future, with the same thoroughness that we cover any other stories.
As the best publications globally do, when these conflicts occur, we declare them to our audience so they are well aware of major relationships that may come to bear on our coverage of a story. You may have seen such notifications on our Bento Africa exposé and other stories. We may occasionally recuse an employee from working on a particular story because they are too close to the subject.
In our coverage of Flutterwave’s story, TechCabal’s Managing Editor and Acting Editor-in-Chief Koromone Koroye has recused herself from all coverage and editorial work on related stories. Editorial direction on these stories is being led by our Features Editor Tamerra Griffin, and Senior Editor Kelechi Njoku. In working on projects like this, we are able to go as far as creating walled-off internal teams and making decisions independent of the rest of the newsroom to work on a story or project.
Beyond declarations of conflict, recusement of key personnel from certain stories, and other such processes, it is our goal to tell every story with the same amount of rigour, even those stories that involve entities or people that we are, in other ways, engaged with. We are fundamentally optimistic about the promise of technology to be one of the biggest drivers of change in Africa over the next few decades. However, that promise will not be fulfilled if the same bad habits that hold our countries and economies back are perpetuated in this burgeoning arena. As a publication, we are obliged to treat stories of wrongdoing with the same high level of attention and rigour as we do stories that celebrate milestones, examine business models and challenges or showcase key players.
The first obligation of good journalism is a search for the truth. Decent journalists and newsrooms the world over hold themselves to high standards of journalistic integrity, as the press holds real power that must be wielded with a sense of responsibility. Key among the journalistic principles we hold dear are:
- proper verification or cross-corroboration of claims ahead of publishing
- offering all involved parties the right of reply and correction
- respecting the identity and rights of sources, providing anonymity for vulnerable sources; and
- respecting the rights of victims to privacy and to tell or not tell their stories, as they wish
It is important to note that great reporting takes time and care, a standard we do not intend to compromise. We hold a responsibility to the public, our audiences, and all our other stakeholders to be bold, rigorous, and uphold the highest standards as we work to build the most important publication covering the business and impact of technology in Africa.
Thank you for your support.