Archive for the ‘Traditional Media’ Category

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Adventures in Media Development – This blog’s last post, come see my new and improved blog

April 10, 2010


Well, I finally had to bite the bullet and upgrade my blog. This one – https://aimd.wordpress.com – is now just an archive. My new blog can be found at http://adventuresinmediadevelopment.com.

As I said in my blogpost “Give me some sugar, WordPress“, my taste for WordPress.com soured. The biggest thing was that I couldn’t use Javascript on WordPress.com, which was killing any chance of experimenting with social media widgets from sites like Twitter, Facebook, and especially CoveritLive–the kinds of tools that really driving blog innovation and online interactivity. In fact, it was getting to the point where I really couldn’t try much of anything out, and that’s a bad thing for someone in international media development. How else am I going to arm myself with new tools and tricks for my work in developing countries than to practice them myself?

I had held out for so long to the mantra that I would stick to free tools to maximize the likelihood that my perspective would stay, as much as possible, rooted in realities faced by the people I tend to work with in developing countries. Most people won’t or can’t pay for luxuries like hosting a site or learning the technical skills needed to do what is really rather advanced to your average person anywhere in the world. So, you have to come to them, meet them on their technological and financial terms.

But, I finally gave in. I was stunting myself too much.

So, there’s this new site now. It’s still very much in its beginning stages. I figured, rather than wait, it would be best to go ahead and announce it, and shift all operations over to it. Why slow down? This means that the design’s likely to go through some changes as I figure out what I want it to look like and how I want it structured, and it means that content will be a little light for a while. However, I am also going to transfer my content from my old blog here to that new blog, to get all of my content under one roof. That will take time. I’m not planning on running at full speed to get it all over there.

Let the new era begin.

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Media adventures have kept me away for a while

March 29, 2010

According to my Linkedin profile, it’s been 33 days since my last blog post. It’s been that kind of month. I’ve been busy. I’ve lost some blood and some sanity in the process. But I think the clouds are breaking.

The main culprit has been an evaluation I’ve been managing since November of a Thomson Reuters Foundation business journalism training program for African journalists. The final report of findings, a beast of over 90 pages (appendix not included) came due this past week, and it was a multi-week sprint to the finish to get this thing done. Many personal envelopes were pushed in the making. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Long live the Orange Revolution

February 8, 2010

Five years later, another election in Ukraine has come and passed. This time it looks like the winner will be Viktor Yanukovych, the one-time victor in 2004 who was abruptly ousted when a nation of millions stood up and demanded an election without fraud. And with his victory, the loser presumably won’t just be exiting president and Orange Revolution champion, Viktor Yushchenko, but the Orange Revolution itself.

I know that there are huge swaths of Ukrainians out there who will be feeling somber about this today, as they have been on a steady somber slide since the collective chant of “Yu-shchen-ko, Yu-shchen-ko, Yu-shchen-ko!” first filled the streets of Kyiv, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and elsewhere.

I remember back to late 2005, early 2006, the mood in western Ukraine was already shifting back toward the pessimism from a millennium of outside invasion, brutal dictatorship, soul-crushing bureaucracy, scant traces of self-rule, and the din of empty promises. As the honeymoon of the Orange Revolution was beginning to fade, people said to me that they had hoped for a strong leader, and that it was clear that Yushchenko wasn’t the right man for the job. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Researching media education in Bolivia, running face first into walls

February 4, 2010

Well, my researching prowess is being tested. I’m doing an assessment to get a sense for where the needs and challenges are in journalism education in Bolivia, and seeing how Evo Morales fits into all of this. Or, maybe I should say, I’m what Sartre would describe me as if Sartre were to explain my being a researcher researching media in Bolivia–a being in the act of being a researcher of Bolivian media education. It’s not that I am not a researcher of Bolivian media education, it is that I am not necessarily one. Make sense?

Yeah, that’s pretty much how I’ve been feeling. I have been beating my head against the wall trying to answer the questions I am researching. Main problem? I don’t speak Spanish. Other problem? Almost everything in Bolivia is in Spanish.

Not that I am letting this stop me. But, it is adding elements of challenge. Read the rest of this entry ?

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2009: A retrospective on my year of media development adventures

January 4, 2010

2009 was a banner year for me in terms of media development. It was not by any means my starting point in media, but it could go down as year in which my work achieved lift off. But all was done in the name of helping people spread information, express themselves, and/or strengthen their networks with other people to promote change. So, I thought I’d take a look back at my year in media development, get it all together in one place, take stock, establish something to compare 2010 to, reminisce a little.

Researching Extractive Industry Transparency and Journalism Development in Africa

I began the year leading a team through a study to assess needs and effective training practices to raise the level of business journalism in Ghana, Nigeria, and Uganda. Our findings would then be synthesized into a report to provide training and media development recommendations to Revenue Watch Institute, which wanted to use training to improve business journalism, and promote extractive industry transparency. The best part of this project was that I got to spend two weeks in January in balmy Nigeria–a country the Bradt guide calls “Africa for the Advanced”–and meet face to face with Nigerian journalists, journalism educators, and media development experts. Lagos, in particular, was INTENSE. And fantastic. I also got a chance in this to bone up on my skills developing surveys and interview guides, building networks of contacts, designing a team research wiki, and producing a report of findings. Read the rest of this entry ?

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A look at Fukuyama, social capital, and media development

December 30, 2009

I was reading Smart Mobs by Howard Rheingold when I came across something he wrote about Francis Fukuyama:  “Fukuyama argues in his book Trust that there is a strong correlation between the prosperity of national economies and social capital, which he defines as the ease with which people in a particular culture can form new associations”. Huh.

That immediately struck me. The idea of helping people form new associations in the name of promoting prosperity within (and ultimately of) national economies is essentially a major driving force behind my work in media development. Reading this sentence pushed me to dig deeper. I began hunting down Fukuyama and what he had to say about social capital. I had read him before during my master’s degree work at SIPA, and remember feeling some connection then. I probably even encountered what he had to say about social capital. If so, it wasn’t till now that it caught my attention. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Free Expression, mobile communications, and journalism training – A couple of weeks in the life

December 21, 2009

Well, it’s been a vibrant and boisterous couple of weeks in Lake Media Development, my hometown. I’ve been busy with a wide range of topics for a wide range of reasons. Just like the McPoyles like it. I’ve long taken the view that expression and development issues are so entwined and intermingled that any truly effective solution to them requires an expansive and comprehensive understanding of them. So, any chance I get to dig deep into new facets is more than welcome. This is the stuff that I live and breath.

Here’s a taste of the last few weeks in my adventures and explorations:

Defamation of Religions and Freedom of Expression

I’ve been reading about the Human Rights Council’s resolution 7/19 “Combating defamation of religions”, passed last spring, condemning the defamation of religions as a human rights violation. It would make sense that religion be seen as a human right, and that we should aim not to trample upon any human right. The concern, however, is that it clashes with the human right to expression. By protecting a religion from defamation, in the way that it is broadly defined in this resolution, you put the clamp on the right to question and even criticize a religion. You give a religion itself the status of having rights, rather than an individual, which has been the norm in international law. Read the rest of this entry ?