The New Media Lab is currently involved in a number of projects.

Select a project to find out more information


CueDigital is the name given to Internet platforms run by the JMS New Media Lab during the National Arts Festival. CueDigital runs in parallel to Cue newspaper during the National Arts Festival, which is held annually in Grahamstown in July. The idea behind CueDigital is to provide electronic platforms and promotion for the content published in Cue, which is an excellent overview of the festival and is made up mainly of reviews and profiles written by arts writers and student reporters. CueDigital includes a website, mobile site, online advertising, and social media and networking channels. CueDigital syndicates Cue newspaper content and original multimedia to South African online news and entertainment websites. The team also produces and promotes original stories and complementary multimedia (audio slideshows, online video, podcasts) and curates content from CueTV, CuePix and CueRadio.

Cue newspaper has run for the past 20 years and is a successful, must-read for festival goers.

Cue Online is powered by a Drupal CMS, and hosts text, images, video and audio. It is the online realisation of a converged newsroom and provides students with an excellent learning platform.

Digital Citizen Indaba


The first Digital Citizen Indaba on Blogging, held in September 2006, was a series of practical workshops and discussions, specifically aimed at civil society, media practitioners and bloggers. Many of the participants stayed on after the Highway Africa Conference or came to Grahamstown specifically to attend the two-day Indaba which was organised by the New Media Lab.

Now in its fifth year the Digital Citizens' Indaba is completely run and managed by Highway Africa.

Grocott's Digital

Grocott's Mail Digital Edition began in 2006, when it was run by staff and students in the New Media Lab at Rhodes University's School of Journalism & Media Studies. The site was originally developed by New Media Lab director, Vincent Maher in 2006 over the period of only a few weeks. The original incarnation with its custom built CMS included capacity for multimedia and citizen journalism made it years ahead of its time. The original Grocott's Mail 1.0 continued to run and was integrated into new media teaching and learning (specifically multimedia production and online writing and editing)

The Drupal rebuild of Grocott's 2.0 started in 2007 with then NML developer, Brad Whittington. The redevelopment remained moribund for almost a year a new developer and funds could be raised to continue work on the platform. Work resumed in 2008 based on the original design and concept of NML head, Jude Mathurine (then Grocott's Mail Online editor) with Dale Tristram as developer.

The redeveloped website was launched in July 2009 with former NML alumnus Michael Salzwedel as Grocott's Mail Online editor. Grocott's Mail Online includes the majority of content that is published in the print edition of Grocott's Mail, as well as web-exclusive content including multimedia offerings. Grocott's 2.0 forms a major part of a Knight Foundation-funded project, Iindaba Ziyafika ("The news is coming"), the core proposition of which is that information and communication technology can enlarge the public sphere by providing the tools that encourage participation and facilitate that participation.

Grocott's Mail Online was awarded first place in the 2009 SABC Highway Africa New Media Awards in the corporate category. The awards are given in recognition of "creative and appropriate adaptation of technologies within the continent to compete effectively in the wider environment."

Nika Digital Newsroom

The New Media Lab is developing an open source solution for a multifunctional Content Management System that will help small and independent publishers take advantage of the digital age.

Known as Nika, which is the isiXhosa work for 'give', the product will ultimately be available to publishers and entrepreneurs free of charge. As it is an open source project, we hope that the project will create and be able to draw from a global community to develop into an adaptable and flexible product.

Nika has as its overarching objective the support and development of small and community newspapers. Phase 1 is under development and involves the creation of a database and Workflow Management System. Phase 2, which will begin in May, will be the development of a Content Management System that will allow content to be published on to the Web.

The Nika Digital Newsroom (DNR) was a winner of the AIP Media Innovation Awards in 2005.

Previous versions of the Digital Newsroom have been used to power the Cue website during the National Arts Festival in 2004 and 2005 and the Highway Africa News Agency website since its inception. A version of the CMS is also being used to run the online edition of Grocott's Mail, which was launched in 2006. These experiences will be drawn on in developing the latest version of Nika.

For more information, email Steve Lang


This is the resting place for finished/past/expired projects.

NGO websites

During 2006 students of the NML were required to choose from a pre-determined list of NGOs supplied by the Centre for Social Development (CSD). The NGO then became their ‘client’ for the duration of the course. Students liaised with a contact person from the organisation, and helped gather information to determine their particular needs before building a website and conducting training for long-term sustainability. The final websites for the six organisations can be viewed by clicking on the links on the list below: