Thursday, March 27, 2008

Citizen Journalism, an international perspective

I just listened to a very interesting podcast by Christopher Lydon at Radio Open Source. He interviewed Ethan Zuckerman and Solana Larsen, two journalists/editors working to increase the amount of information we all get from the rest of the world.

Ethan is the founder of Global Voices Online, an edited blog aggregator for international voices. They have correspondents/bloggers from all over the world who report on events in their own countries. Check out this interesting example on ant-farmers protesting in Shenyng, China.

In the podcast Solana and Ethan talk about the distorted coverage of the large international news media, a la the cartograms posted a few days ago and this video by Alisa Miller. The interview has a lot of interesting material about different perspectives of Nigerian 419 scams from the people in Nigeria who think nobody would be stupid enough to fall for the scams versus the scam baiters who are trying to oneup the scammers. Then onto the ant-farm story mentioned above.

Some other good nuggets. Most of the audience comes from outside the United States, almost 80 percent. Three parts of the Global Voices audience are: academics who take the countries seriously, journalists who are writing on foreign countries, and intelligence agencies in Europe and the U.S.! In 10 years the best informed global citizens will be people in cybercafes in West Africa who are willing to spend 20% of their daily income to scan global headlines via the internet. We need to use our own machines to get as smart about international news as people in West Africa already are.

Solana was also an editor at OpenDemocracy, an interesting online opinion/analysis journal based out of London.

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