Posts Tagged ‘YouTube’

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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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New Media and The Middle East – Challenging Authority in Egypt

September 26, 2009

3010243499_52df7e2a27_oNew media, especially social media, are playing a significant role in challenging authority and states in the Middle East. This is the first post in a series I will publish on examples of how new media are being used toward this end. Egypt will start off this series.

Egyptians have begun using online social-networking tools like blogs, Facebook, and YouTube as tools of dissent against the existing authority.  This is significant given that the reigning president, Hosni Mubarak, is seen as a dictator—in fact, one of the world’s ten worst dictators—and his reign has been marked by human rights abuses and acts against freedom of expression that have warranted calling him one. Read the rest of this entry ?

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MediaNext: A New Ukrainian Adventure in New Media (Continued)

June 14, 2009

I’ll pick up where I left off in my previous post

I strike curious poses when I train

I strike curious poses when I train

We’re teaching Vkontakte, and showing examples of how journalists are using Facebook. I’d prefer it was just Facebook, because to be honest, Vkontakte is the runt you throw back, by comparison–you can only do a fraction on it of what you can do on Facebook. But, it’s the top site, period, in Ukraine, so Vkontakte it is. Early indications from the training are that some of our trainees think Vkontakte is mostly for young people to goof around on and share silly pictures, and not really something for journalists to conduct serious business. Of course, I’d like to point out that McDonald’s figured out a long time ago that if you target young people, they develop lifelong habits, and begin to think of your brand as something familiar, kind of like going home.

Of course, Twitter is on our list, as well. And Twitter seems to be getting the same treatment that Vkontakte is getting, at least by some of our trainees. I love this about Twitter. It is the easiest tool to use, and the hardest to understand. Ah, Twitter, so powerful, and yet so misunderstood. Journalists who know how to wield you will gain a significant edge on those who don’t.

Coming into this whole experience, I had to really think about what it was we were really doing with this training. This isn’t just about New Media vs. Old Media. This is a complete paradigm shift here in Ukraine. Ukraine is a country  still emerging from a long and brutal history of authoritarian control of information, secrecy, and propaganda. Information was long the real currency of the Soviet Union. People had money, but there was nothing to buy on the shelves. You needed information to know who had the goods that you could then buy with your money. So, information was horded, and exchanged like a commodity.

In my experience in Ukraine, a lot of people still relate to information this way. The idea that information should be free, and not hidden from sight, is still the first blade of grass desperately fighting its way through the last of Spring’s blanket of snow. Or, to keep the metaphor’s going, Jefferson’s idea of knowledge being like a lit candle doesn’t seem to have caught on yet. So, as I was thinking about what to train about Web 2.0, it hit me that really what I was here to train was pushing the thinking of letting go of information completely, opening it up for all to see, making it as visible as possible, spreading via the people you trust to well beyond that circle of trust into the far reaches of your friend’s friend’s friend’s friend’s friend’s casual acquaintance-who knows where the turtle ends. To a Ukrainian, this might be like walking out the front door naked. And I am here to encourage people to feel as okay as possible about this. Fascinating. Read the rest of this entry ?