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Global Voices Online 2005 London Summit – Live Conference Blog December 10, 2005

Posted by Angelo Embuldeniya in GV05.

GlobalVoicesOnline London Summit 2005

Global Voices Online 2005 London Summit – Live Conference Blog

Global Voices Summit: Join us Saturday online! December 10, 2005

Posted by Angelo Embuldeniya in GV05.

In just a few hours, bloggers from the Global Voices community plus a number of groupies, fans, and supporters will be gathering for the Global Voices London Summit

Saturday’s meeting will be a chance to take stock, examine our strengths and weaknesses, discuss what works and what doesn’t, and try to figure out where we go from here.

If you’re not here in London we very much hope you’ll join us online, starting at 10am London time (GMT) and ending at 6pm. (Click here for the full schedule.) You can listen to what everybody says via audio webcast, and join in the conversation through live IRC chat. There will also be a live blog.Please click here for all the links and instructions for how to join us. We will have a designated IRC Advocate who will make sure questions and views from the online chat room get brought into the conversation. Read More….

Source: Global Voices Online

(Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

GV 05 Summit Started: Participants are being introduced. December 10, 2005

Posted by Angelo Embuldeniya in GV05.

The Global Voices Online 2005 Summit just got underway a few minutes ago at the Reuters HQ in London where particiapants are giving everyone a short introduction about themselves and their blogging activities. Not all participants are bloggers, some are journalists, others from non-profit foundations and organizations and we even have a senator from Thailand!

 [Group Photo of the Conference (via flickr from Sabbah)]

Below are just some of the many introductions that were announced at the start of the conference:

Boris Anthony, from Canada – I *build* weblogs
Marvin Hall is from Kingston, Jamaica: very /old/ blog, 2 days old; blog about cihldren, biulding robotics, digital space.
Fred Petrusians – living in Spain, Brussels Belgium;
Roby Al Anpai is a Ailipino in Thailand – we work on press freedom.
Nart Villaneuve: blogs about ‘net censorship and filtering
Michelle Levesque [leveke]: I have an ego-blog
Julian Wilfson: civil society blog…
Lisa, from Telaviv in Israel: about life and humaniaizng the other
Peter Levitt: living in Oxford
Ben Palmen: based in London, blogging about C. Asia
Becky, from London: personally I blog about the issue of … technology…
Colin Maclay, managing director of the berkman center – I don’t blog, but I may one day 🙂
Urs Gasser from switz – run an information blog
Anthony Barnett – opendemocracy.net from London
Dan Gillmor from the US – blogs about many things including tech and … blogging 🙂
Jim Morelee from Cambridge, UK – here particulalry for the fun session abotut translation/lang issues
Jeremy from Prague; from an org named TOL, bsaed in prague. starting up a project to promote blogging as a tool for free speech in central asia, starting next year.
Kitty Airy – originally from the US, in London now; freelance journo worked on and off for reuters and lernet?
Mark Jones – based in London with AlertNet
Kevin Nguyen – from Beijing; working at boke.com, blogging about blogs and tech
Ben Walker – have radio/website called the theroy of everything..
Kevin Wen
Hossein Derakhshan – from iran; also known as hoder – currently homeless and unemployed… 🙂
Andrew Nachison, US – group blog I contribute to occasionally, on media and culture
Sharam Khozy – Iranian/Canadian. got addicted to the net by a good supervisor of mine, ron egert? at utor; – got addicted to blogs specifically by hoder
Peter Anderson; affil with harvard but also with eBay
Samis Said – work on int’l and arabic website
SJ – based in the us, blog about communication of all kinds
(Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

Session 1: The state of Global Voices (Part 1) December 10, 2005

Posted by Angelo Embuldeniya in GV05, Session 1.

Rebecca is speaking now:

Some people here have been working on gv for a while. We’re very new, so you may be a veteran if you’ve been withus for 3-4 months. The whole idea of gv arose a year ago, maybe a year and a day ago; ew had a conf in cmabridge at harvard where we were able to bring some bloggers to cambridge and harvard. Ethan and I saw the way blogs were developing you had american logs talking, and blogosphere happening in other parts of the world; then yo u had people from africa, mideast, all over aia starting to blog and talking… wanting to be heard; bt a lot of people not knowing about each other. We wanted to brainstorm about how to create a more global conversation, and how to addres problems with media attention and we ended up with a conference lblog after the conference, and people started writing about the confrerence; and then we [drafted] a manifesto… put together on a wiki.

Conference is just getting started and thefirst session is being led by Rebecca and Ethan (via flickr)
It’s in several languages… translated into many langugaes. but basically the people who were in the room, and had been apriticpating on irc, said basically what are the core principles we bleieve in? not only the belief in free speech and the right of anybody on the planet to speak, and to speak freely; but it’s important that people listen. and this is sort of our central mission. Eventually we got support from the berkman center to turn this into a fral project and real site and in april we started posting global roundups, daily; here’s the conversation from around the world. Over the summer, we began to recruit what are now our six regional editors; we have haitham sabbah, mideast north africa; sokari ekine, david sosaki (for the americas) neha viswanathan (s. asia) (unfortunately the other two – nathan hamm, amorphous east europe/former soviet bloc; and east asia editor, jose thesauro? can’t make it today) but we put together a little seed funding… and we were able to hack our wordpress blog to its capacity (thanks boris 🙂 so it can show feeds the way it does today…and it’s not like our regional editors are anything like full-time employees, but we’re able to give them a token [amount]… and to encourage them to recruit you to be part of our editorial team.

One of the tings we want to cover going forwrad is how we might expand the regional editors, if we want to do that; how bloggers might be diferent in editorial strucutre; how it might be different and how pro journos work. Also in adition to the blog, where our editors are posting roundups m-f in the middle, and then bloggers from all over the place; and once a week or so, doing roundups from indonesia, georgia, the caribbean… etc etc etc. Doing great work on the left hand – whaqt we’re starting to call the left blog. We also have other parts: a wiki where we’re asking people, anyone who feels we’re not perhaps linking to enough blogs from their region/country
can go onto the wiki [I’d like to be able to show everyone how to go there from the main page of the blog]

[Demonstration/display of how the blog and wiki at GV works]

If we just scroll down… it says wiki right there. People from some countries have put a lot of links from their country they’dl like us to know about. Others are much less fille out; were hoping this is one way to collect more info, links, countries. [cyber.law.harvard.edu/globalvoices/wiki/index.php/Bridge Blog Index]. We also have a bloglines aggregator, which it seems is taking a while to load. If you click on there you’ll also get to our aggregator; but getting links transferred form the wiki and agg; so all our reg editors are aware of the new material from the countries/regions they follow. This is a collective thing; sometimes people write saying “you’re not covering our country very well”. Our response is, please help us. ez – just a great example of this, and a tip of the hat to our freinds from cambodia. It’s very hard for us to know what blogging scene was taking place in cambodia; the fact that we have 2 people here from camb has a lot to do with the fact that they’ve filled out that page on the wiki. So if you’re saying you want more poland/turkmenistan/… [please] go to the wiki to add these things rm – one of the things wer’re doing is hiring a managing editor, who may be our only fulltime meployee ever; we’ll see. As we go forward, we’re trying to make sure we’re as balanced as we con possibly be;
that we’re getting all this content off the wiki onto the [feds] our editors are daily monitoring.

Now I’ll hand it over to ethan to talk about how we’ve gotten pretty influential in a pretty short time. Originally we’d go to 11:10 and then break and start again at 11:30. Maybe we’ll go to 11:20.

[blog posting in progress]

(Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

Session 1: The state of Global Voices (Part 2) December 10, 2005

Posted by Angelo Embuldeniya in GV05, Session 1.

Ethan has taken over the mic now and is speaking:

Ethan explaining how GV works (via flickr)

the goal for the first session is to give us a littel history. We should take us back in time to a year ago, when there were a bunch of us siting at harvard…can you raise your hand if you were there last year? (maybe 15 people) – so that’s a pretty small subset. The rest of us have all gotten here within the year. So this is first about where we are, and then about where we want to be moving forward. So keep in mind that this is an open discussion. We’re handing the mikes to poeple, but also intend to hand it to others. We want to talk about today, and think about where we want to be the next time we sit down in a room together; whether it’s this one, or one soewhere else in the world. So one way to undrestand what’s happened is to look at this crazy graph here; it’s a way to measure the # of people who come to the gv site. So back in december of 04… when we started this up : we had a total of 800 visits in the entire month. Last month we had 300k individual people…that’s a minimum #. we know from the way web stats work that sth will go up on a page and more than one person will see it. On the average day now, we’re reaching 12k people.

[Ethan points to stats onscreen]

Often they’re coming b/c they google something, and in many cases we’re the best news out there for it. We’ve risen to a google rank of 8… a measure of how powerful your site is. So our ability to get things litsed in google is pretty profound at this point. So when you’re writing something, whether about venezualea, trinidad… there’s a good chance that the wors yo uwrite are going to be the answer in google. That’s good and bad, and we’re going to talk about what it means… we’ve got something over 3000 comments : most of our short pieces tend not to get commented on; but some others have long comment threads, over 100 comments; with debates with people from v different far reaches of the blogospher. After the london bombings, we had a really terrific debate condemning the bombings; from the arab world; and a very angry reaction from some people from london and in the us. It ended upcoming to a head on our comment thread. This means eoplea re engaging with one another, which is fantastic news. One of the ways we measure how we’re doing is who decides to point to us; who llinks to us. According to technorati, it’s 1800 sites so far; that’s probably a low number. Out of the 17m weblogs, we’ve sais domething interesting to 1800 of them that they’ve decidd to point to us at least once. In some times, 30-50 times.
An intersting # from blogpulse : we’re in the top 100, we’ve come an amazing way… in the sense that at this point, rebecca and I basically don’t do anything. Back in april/may/june, you would hvae seen one of us three putting everything up on the site; in the coming months, [a few key editors] doing the same; now the regional editors are doing less of it, too; but doing other work, posting roundups, 7c…
one fo the reasons it’s important to bring everyone together in the room, is you may only know your regional editor; it’s hard to know whether tha rum and adik? would ever get to sit next to one another in the real world… .this is taking a conversaiton that for the most part lives online, in irc, and bring it back to the real world.

These #s are important b/c we’ve become a very real influencer; when you look at the 300 people who come tlak to us in the psace of a month; a lot of them are journalists…They want to know what’s going on. so this project that started with a ‘hey! we want to…’ a year ago. Now people ar really listening to us. So this isn’t time to screw up. People are talking to us day after day, week afte week, about what’s going on in kenya, mideast, bangladesh.. elections, etc. If we’re not htere ot help them out, peopel start getting frustrated; why is my part of the world not represented? As we start stepping up, people start expeciting us to do better.

(Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

Session 1: The state of Global Voices (Part 3) December 10, 2005

Posted by Angelo Embuldeniya in GV05, Session 1.

As we start becoming media, we’re playing in that game (with msm) and what we choose to cover / what we don’t cover is becoming an item of debate, of critique… everyone here has had the experience of having someone come to them and say they have the wrong opinion, aren’t covering the right guy.. We all need to challenge ourselves; look at who we’re linking to, &c, and say “am I uncomfortable enough with this?”. If you’re comfortable with everyone you’re linking to, you’re probably not linking to enough voices.

We’ve now gotten to the point where that critique is coming from the outside, every day; we’re spreading this to you guys so everyone knows what we’re hearing; so

1) don’t screw up :

2) make sure you’re transparent

about who you’re reading

3) figure out what to do next. that’s what today is all about.

When we met a year ago, we talked about an incredible range of ideas. We’ve demonstrate that the idea there could be a single place on the web where you could see an amazing diversity of perspectives; we’ve run with it, and been successful with it. minus a few very public screwups but there’s a whole other slew of ideas we were playing with, that have come up this year. But because this is a public organization, because this is our organization, we can decide this, all of us — you guys have so much control over what is going on here, these are things we have to decide as a group, if Rebecca and I decided tomorrow we wanted to do [something in particular]…[wouldn’t be the same] whether we want to have global voices in other languages; whether we want to work on translation, move into other areas….but *we* aren’t going to decide this; you have to decide this.

GV has to be a platform for all of us to do projects. Neither (Rebecca or I) do this fulltime! We work on this every day, but not all day. Look at this conference : we didn’t plan a Friday night dinner; we didn’t plan to have a face book, but we had people step up and plan to do a face book… we didn’t plan to do a live blog on this, but now we have a live blogger who’s keeping track of this while we’re doing this! This is gv at its best. A chance for people to launch other projects.

Rebecca says: a chance to hear from regional editors?

Rebecca getting input on South Aisan and Middle Eastern Blogging from Nhea and Haitham (via flickr)
Ethan says – just to talk about some highlights of what’s happening, what you see going on in your part of the world. Maybe we can start with haitham? or with neha 🙂

Neha says: I joined GV in July. at that tie it seemed I had to read a lot of blogs and link to them… what I didn’t realize at that time was I would in future be linking to conversations, not just blogs; and that fair representation was [a big deal] India having higher representation than, say, Nepal. What I’m trying to do is represent blogs as a whole from s.asia, but also point to the most interesting conversations. In the last 3-4 months, we’ve seen a lot of conversations in the in. blogosphere… as rmack pointed out earlier, the more people point to issues, tag things as ‘globalvoices’ – I know that it’s working. And there’s interaction b/t blogs, which I’m really happy about. Suddenly we have blog saying I never knew about this, but GV is pointing to a post happening at the border; I’m really happy about that.

[Problems with the wifi and Ethan says: just an announcement; I know everyone’s having issues with the wifi: some people should switch to linksys; gently, slowly, one at a time.]

Neha continues to speak:

I think in the last 5 months… it’s been amazing that gv has been such a strong center of gravity; I think there has been cross-participation b/t someone in china… one of the greatest points for me was when a blog post about Chile was translated into Chinese; opening up communication which would never have happened otherwise. Bringing all these convos together has really been the most amazing part for me. What I’d love to see happen in the next year is… have more than just English. We’re getting 8-10% of the world… to really open that up would be amazing.

Ethan says: – 2 ideas that have come out so far : 1 is tagging; the idea that if people are tagging with gv, and paying attention to those tags on flickr, delicious; the other is translation, which will be a major topic we’re talking about today; what are we doing with translation; do we have more on the site? how do we approach this in a way that’s sustainable?

Sokari says: – one of the most important things to come out of the African blogosphere: Africa has been presented in such a negative way in the past 10 years; the blogosphere has presented a diff side of Africa. There are Africans talking about positive things; about — even when you talk about crises; that it’s done in a positive way… us speaking for ourselves. Another positive thing: when I joined in October, I wasn’t aware of all the blogs out there; and there was one, an American’s blog, saying where are all the women bloggers? and I responded saying ‘where are all the African women? I went out looking for them… I was amazed at how many there were that I didn’t know about. That’s been an important opportunity; also for us to get to know each other; I’ve also talked to other volunteers in sub-Sahara about what we’ve learned about one another’s countries.

Recently on the Kenyan election this was a huge conversation’ others were saying, this is amazing1 another example was quit recently; there were some pictures put up on flickr, which had come through to me on a feed. I’d sent an email through to the African group about this. it started a huge conversation about rights and wrongs and photographs… which also made us realize that the African Diaspora had a v. different perspective than say Africans blogging /in/ Africa.

Ethan says: – before we give haitham the mike, bringing two things out of what sokari just said: one thing we’ve been seeing is : a lot of hat’s going on is an attempt to correct perceptions in the developing world in Africa a lot of people explicitly state that’s what they’re doing with their blogs. This is why when Brendan is asking questions, going to do interviews, he’s going to ask what should I know about your country that I don’t know.

the other thing sokari mentioned that she’s done a lot of is meetups. One thing we’re finding is that, as editors, as contrib. from country, we’re often able to say, ok, let’s get all the Tunisian bloggers together! sometimes when you get people together from a region, some of it is crossing of issues., which has been cool for many people working on this

Haitham says: – the mideast… it’s a great chance to present the citizen media; before that all the voices were there but not given enough attention. Always the human side – what is behind the news, how does the media represent… with all the problems going on in the middle east. What do the people behind the events feel… this is an important part of what’s going on in that part of the world; wrong perceptions of politics, etc; at the same time, starting to bring some balance into some areas within the blogosphere, talking about things from the far east to the mid-east; everyone’s different perspective, also about the conflict going on in Palestine.

For example, the Amman explosion, where we saw everyone supported these guys… but this is completely different from what the media always likes to tell us. which is what we’re here for.

(Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

Session 1: The state of Global Voices (Part 4) December 10, 2005

Posted by Angelo Embuldeniya in GV05, Session 1.
1 comment so far

Rebecca says: – before we give the mic to Boris; one thing a lot of people are saying: is something about where we want to go and whom we exist for; are was there for some audience out there who is reading us just for our links? or for the service of the bloggers out there who want to find each other and talk? who do we exist for, who do we want to spend time [focusing on]

Catego says- why is the transcript on the big screen instead of our witty conversation?

Rebecca says: – Boris will talk a bit about how it’s set up right now. do we want to rearrange the way the site is structured, to facilitate our conversation… make the site easier to read; make it less overwhelming; or do we just want people to find their (local) communities? Boris ?

Here is Boris talking about the web architechture of GV (via flickr)

Boris speaks – hello

Ethan – would you ulike to look at it?

[Boris takes a seat]

What we’ve got now is a wordpress weblog which has been hacked; with a country clout [at the top], some country tags as well, more generalized free tags, so you can track down specific place and time… this is faceted browsing. this is where we are now – just a hacked weblog. A lot of things said by the regional editors now points to the need for a better tracking system and aggregator; a way to find voices, watch them, decide whether to include them in a roundup, blog an article about them, etc.

I’m mostly here today to listen to what everyone else is going to say; which would [inform] any architecture/structure that I specify

[buzzing of the mic]

I’m not used to mics so this is really strange to me… I don’t have much more to say about it… I want to hear what you guys have to say, about improvement that can be made; especially re: how we can track and find and pass on these voices.

Ethan says: we wanted to get Boris up here b/c so much of what you se and know of gv has to do with how he has customized and built this interface so far. We’re incredibly grateful with what he’s done; the last thing has been this beautiful new logo…Everyone has raised diff questions about what it is… people remarking it looks like something from Nepal, like flower patterns in India… where it actually came from —

[Ethan shatters various alternate legends]

[transcript redacted to promote future mythology]

What it comes down to — where the rubber meets the road — Boris has a huge amount to do with it. when it comes to making these tools do what they want to do, keep in mind none’s ever done what we’re doing before no one’s ever don it. if we try and it doesn’t work, it’s not bc we’re not doing any work; it’s because no one’s ever done it before. this is our history session. if anyone else has one or two things to say on what we’ve done and where we’ve been…asks about the gv draft manifesto

Ethan says: – sj raises a really good question maybe a year into it, this is what we really believe? maybe this is what we’ree into and we ratify it today…any other questions about our past?

Becky – I know you’re a tool for the mainstream press… but how are you ? going to handle [exposure]

Rebecca says – we’re getting increasing exporusre; were finding joiurnos are using us for story ideas…we find that we’re being linked to for some story, and I say ‘gee, I wonder where they got that?’

Rebecca – and a number of our managing editors are starting to get calls from journalists… who want to know who see them as epxerts who can comment on various issues. We’ve been sighted on cnn, they have a blogging show, bbc has been calling people all the time…News agencies have been calling us a lot. Brendan – as a journo and not a blogger, this is an extraoridnary resource. It /*is* our international new bureau and that’s how we look at it. We wouldn’t have int’l coverage if it weren’t for gv. I’s a tool that I use adn that the whole newsroom uses.

Rebecca says: maybe one last q, and then a small break, os we can resume the 11:30 session roughly on time. We’ve got people joining us remotely and don’t want to throw them off too much.

[A question is posed at ths point] : what was the architecture of the site – there are open secitons where people can comment; security issues, how much was that an issue? did you have to close off sections? …

Boris says – have we ever deleted a coment?

Rebecca says: a few

Ehtan Says: – the only thing not open is a pretty powerful spam filter. aside form one crisis…other than that it’s worked very well. our policy has basically been to say keep it as open as possible; only whe nit’s going to destroy the community do we come in and shut down [offensive comments]

[Session 1 ends now and it is time to stop for a break… session to will begin in 5 mins]

(Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

Session 2: Best of Both Worlds (Part 1) December 10, 2005

Posted by delal in GV05, Session 2.
1 comment so far

Much is made of the “blogging vs. journalism” argument. We believe there can and must be room for both in this world, and that the world will be better for having both. In this session we explore the potential for synergies between professional journalists and citizen-bloggers. How do journalists and bloggers interact in the world outside the US and Europe? How can bloggers become journalists and journalists become bloggers? How do the two learn to work together and respect each other? How can we combine the value of professional journalism with the power of citizens’ online conversation to help all members of the human race understand each other better?

Led by Rebecca MacKinnon, with input from Jeff Ooi (Malaysia), Ndesanjo Macha (Tanzania), Dina Mehta (India), Georgia Popplewell (Trinidad & Tobago), David Sasaki (Americas Editor), Onnik Krikorian (Armenia), Ben Parmann (Eurasia Blog), Lisa Goldman (Israel), and Dean Wright (Reuters)

The session begins (besides a few lunch announcements) with a videoconference with Dean Wright from Reuters (via flickr)
He gives a brief introduction of himself: (paraphrasing from the transcript) “I started with Reuters bringing global material to a consumer audience. This is an area where many networks in the US have dropped the ball on recently. There is a good fit with Global Voices, which has a similar interest to Reuters in bringing international news to a US audience. Recently with the penetration of broadband paper media and old broadcast outlets aren’t the only game in town and that kind of media isn’t going to work for most of the world. As trust in the media has declined recently, it makes sense for us to want to reverse that trust. Bloggers have seen themselves as holding big media to account and I think that is true, I think it has happened. I don’t think that the Jason Boyer scandel would have happened nearly so quickly if it hadn’t been for bloggers holding MSN’s feet to the fire. So we at Reuter’s are very interested in working with the people of Global Voices.”

Mike is handed back to Rebecca MacKinnon: “Thank you for letting us use your facilities. Before I open this up, (Dean feel free to jump in) I’m often asked, are you guys trying to displace, to become an alternative news agency? Doing journalism, citizen journalism, what are you? Are you doing news in a different way, or something different? I tend to refer to what we are doing as citizen-media, rather than citizen journalism necessarily. I think that there are some peoplem who are watching the news and there are lots of people uses to reading most of their news from the computer. I’d like to hear your persceptives on this. Different people have different perspectives on how you feel, what you do with blogging, how is this the same or different from what pros are doing? Have you interacted with professional media? How might professional media? How might Global Voices help facilitate a more productive interaction? The reason I went into journalism was to inform the public, for people to be free and self-governing, people need to have control over their lives, and to know who to vote for. This is why many people go into journalism and why many of us are blogging. Most of us want to have a more intellectual global discourse and inform our fellow citizens. Professional and bloggers have a lot of the same ideas. I think that its a good opportunity here to have a good conversation about how we further that aim from different sides. With the professionals being paid to so the objective thing to go track down facts, and us helping people get into the stories of various countries and get persceptives from the ground level. I want to start with Dina Metha, a very well known indian blogger, and a global blogger, who has been instrumental in tsunanmi blogging efforts, and earthquake blogging. The tsunami blogging was an example of the synergy that happens between citizen media and interaction between the professional media. I would love you to talk about what you think worked and what didn’t and what our community might do to help make things work better in the future.”

Dina Mehta talking about how blogging helped during disaster relief efforts (via flickr)

Dina:I don’t know who knows bout the tsunami blog. Many of us in bombay we’d never met, but were feeling helpless sitting at home and couldn’t just pack up and go down to the affected regions… so we just said let’s do a blog. We didn’t know what we wanted to do. Within hours, we had hundreds of people writing and translating. We wanted anyone to put in a post from the affected reasons, in real time, real voices; by the end of day 1 we had 200 people volunteering and doing stuff. We used blogger, very basic platform, which was good; there were people who had never blogged. They were able to do it, there were really no entry barriers b/c of that. We of course then translated things to a wiki; with a post everything gets lost in the archives; and building news and info around – bridging people ho had help to offer with those who needed help. that’s the basic use of the wiki. This is one of the experiences that changed my life; I believe these are tools that bring in so much empathy, and I really mean empathy; it’s not some tv telling you about some region you know nothing about; we had people sending ups sms messages from the ground; we out them up immediately; pictures we put up. Also interesting: as with groups and people working together there will be tensions; people who say “let’s make it an ngo, make something bigger out of it”. Some of us resisted that thought; we said, we’ve got a model that works; we used it when katrina struck again; and started innovating around it with katrina we started setting up skype lines…I was setting up something in bombay, neha was setting up something… we covered the whole spectrum of 24 hours (london, berlin?) People believed there was a voice they could talk to; we were pointing them to paces on line; we weren’t the [original sources] but we were trusted and could point them…if you want to call it activism, sort of like a movement – it could happen in next to no time at all, using technologies s like blogs, wikis votelephiny, even im. It’s like a ?society, at the margin; there was no ceo, no cioo, people said “do you want to donate bandwidth? where are you going to donate the bw to?” and there were people keeping telling us that no, we should have an organization, we should.. but the beauty and magic was of the way it was and worldchanging and boingboing – that’s when the traditonal media came in; when we had bbc and nyt coming in; we had interviews with indian media much later; which was sad. They had no clue of what was going on; just a website which was collecting stuff that was a turning point of sorts in the indian media. neha correct me if I’m wrong; but almost every week there are a couple articles about blogs now, more than just online journal articles.”

Rebecca MacKinnon: Thanks. If we could pass the mike to Georgia, put you on the spot here

“We play cricket in a different style, so should we blog in a different style” – Georgia Popplewell (via flickr)
Georgia – The caribbean is an unusual place to cover. There are 15 different regions to cover… always diff issues. My roundups are a bit fragmented; it’s also a region where the press is some much… the press is not so much free as not lazy…there isn’t massive censorship; just people not saying things in journalism with relationships with people in power, as throughout the world. So it’s sill a very young blogosphere; a long time until it becomes mature. Trinidad, for instance… free wifi… there’s a burgeoning growth in radio and television. There are certain key bloggers, a lot of whom are in Trinidad, now doing pretty serious citizen -journalism. Well, a few; and people who write easily about things. The other day I appeared on tv; there hadn’t been a whole lot of coverage about blogging in the local press; one of the magazines I write for has done things b/c those people are more interested; but the other day : called form a long-standing journo to appear on tv, to coincide w/the week we qualified for the world cup 🙂 I sensed I was there out of obligation for variety; but I had to remind him that he had quoted a blogger about football. Certainly if more people could write seriously the journalistic communities would certainly [cover it?] I’ve noticed since I started rounding up the Caribbean for Global Voices, that people start to change things; since they know that I’ll ink to them if they cover certain things that alone has shifted things. I’m one of a few Caribbean podcasters.. I find the whole idea of use (of blogs?) in other areas…b/c of the ideas I’m trying to get attraction for, audio in education…still has limited appeal… a government school. You wouldn’t use a blog to communicate with the parents. it’s at least not a case of “we’re not going to do it!” just that it doesn’t seem to apply now…I think the journalists, once they realize the blogosphere is a source, they will leap on it; they are overworked. If they can get help with research etc they certainly would. The people I link to in the caribbeab all share globalvoices from the time I link; they often either mention or remention; there’s a kind of evangelism brewing certainly among bloggers. the fact that people know they’re being heard makes people step up and realize they should be more thorough, etc. My 3d or 4th post was about the blogosphere, which brought in a number of feelings among people; they though it was saying that all blogs should be political, which is not the case but in a way it was good b/c it caused people to react.

Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

Session 2: Best of Both Worlds (Part 2) December 10, 2005

Posted by delal in GV05, Session 2.

Lisa Goldman – It’s almost impossible to have a sane/rational conversation about the mideast these days. People have agendas, problems listening to each other. I blog about listening to the other side. Recently there was a huge controversy b/c I talked about a dilemma faced by a Palestinian cameraman; he told a group of Israeli and Palestinian journalists who meet in Amman to discuss cooperation That elicited an amazing, stunning, unexpected amount of controversy, and hatred as well. There – the Israeli blogophere is an interesting animal. Most bloggers whose native language is Hebrew don’t blog about politics; but about intimate personal issues. They don’t want to explain about [anything but] their lives; the books they read, the flowers they’re planting. The English bloggers attract a lot of controversy; for many reasons; from anarchists in favor of a one-state solution to are-right-wingers living on the west bank who believe that territory was given to them by God. I think the fact the blogosphere is so diverse and reflects a wide range of opinions is good; and in roundups I say, they’re all so convincing, how can you figure out who’s right?? If you have an agenda and strong opinion, you’ll just find something to confirm your opinion. I’m trying to get around that; it’s very hard. Right now I’m taking it on the chin from everybody; I’ve been called a useful idiot, a propaganda tool; jew-hating and anti-palestinian…Sometimes it keeps me up at night. Other times I say, come on, it’s just a blog. I do believe in bridge-building. But I think it will be a long long time before [people are really listening to one another] I want to close by saying that 4-5 months ago, a journo for Ma’ariv wrote a column, saying I don’t know why everyone says the Israeli blogosphere is so boring…The fact of the matter is there are fascinating blogs out there; but not written in Hebrew, written in english. I linked to a bunch of them, and led to a bunch of traffic. Israel is very wired; hardly a home without a wireless connection. Everyone’s really into tit; but they see it as a high-tech tool more than a political tool. I welcome you to my roundups where I will try very hard to make sense.

Rebecca MacKinnon: Thank you… later this afternoon we’ll be talking about language. I’m grabbing people, but at any time if people have something they want to add or elaborate on, jump right in.

Traditional journalists – we are not here to replace you, but to provide sources – Jeff Ooi (via flickr)

(grabbing jeff ooi)

Jeff, you and other Malaysian bloggers have really been doing your part to bring issues forward that the media is not talking about. But to what extent are you a journalist, and to what extent do you think you are something different.

Jeff Ooi – Thanks! I’m Jeff Ooi, from Malaysia; got its independence 48 years ago. We’ve retained a lot of [good] things about being a colony of the uk; the government system has remained intact. But there were a lot of things where we tried to get equal with the rest of the world; and that’s where we have faulted. for instance, most if not all are owned by political parties, incumbents in the government. We have never changed government since we gained independence 48 yrs ago, and that is peculiar. A lot of journalists gain [position?] by [paying homage to political leaders] that’s where bloggers can help, with missed information, etc. When blogs came out, 2-3 years ago they were despised. But there has been a lot of changes since then. The biggest onslaught on bloggers who tend to blog on alternative views of major political events, are basically — the onslaught took place in the oldest English newspaper. We noticed that 1 yr ago, bloggers were termed as ‘unrestrained do-gooders’ and after a year, that stance coming from this oldest paper has changed and they said “bloggers are now the byword for freedom of expression”–Bloggers have taken on the views that 1) they are taken seriously as senior editors… and there were certain news items which editors would not run because they’d make an enemy of a politician; so they would pass it on to bloggers. When that kind of info was passed on to bloggers, we thought it might be a booby trap, and we had to verify the facts and unknowingly, we put into practice “two independent sources”…so that’s something interesting that /has/ happened. 2) we try to engage the senior editors by challenging them. You can call us names, but why not challenge us by starting your own blog or started by the smallest newspaper group; it didn’t last more than 3 months. I think plurality should be kept at all levels. Now, there’s a lot of trouble here : 1) they have to obey their political [masters], 2) they don’t want to sink to the level of ‘unrestrained do-gooders’ 3) there was an interview of 3 editors-in-chief or senior editors; each was asked about bloggers, and if bloggers are really replacing the role of journalist. Because at times bloggers broke news SARS case [blackout in the msm]

…Tsunami 3 mo later, aftershock in nicoba? islands… happened at midnight simply no more online updates on newspaper websites. We don’t know if we are replacing journalists, but that’s not our primary goal. We wanted to forward/project a context for all info printed in papers; mostly people say the truth only lies in online media, not print media in Malaysia… taking stock of blogosphere in Malaysia (where you have democracy, and freedom of speech [if not after speech] enshrined in the constitution. This is related to many things — migrating Malaysia from a production-based con to an information-based economy and why so many stories don’t get run; That’s where we are pumping hard still.|Still ongoing, but the latest olive branches come from online orgs. next week, by the time I get back ,the former prime minister of Malaysia will host a world blogo-peace forum for 3 days! Bloggers will be given press passes for the first time ever…

(Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

Session 2: Best of Both Worlds (Part 3) December 10, 2005

Posted by delal in GV05, Session 2.
1 comment so far

Continued Transcript:

Dean Wright – Can I jump in for a second? Speaking as a rep of the main stream media, I think it’s not an either or situation… the tsunami showed, and as emergencies have shown, we in the main stream media need bloggers who are in place around the world… certainly in the us, when the tsunami hit, there was almost no footprint of any us media orgs in affected areas. In many areas that was the only way we would find out what was going on. So it really is… there is a symbiotic relationship here. Another point that Jeff made that was really good : we can find context… report context It’s difficult as a main stream journalist to report all sides of a story when you’re just parachuting in. What we at Reuters can do.. how we can benefit from the blogosphere is being able to report many sides of an issue. This contributes to the conversation that the world has with each other. It’s one of the things we at Reuters take seriously, bringing that conversation to the world to the fore. We have a mission, at Reuters, to be independent, free of bias, to report news straight down the middle, and we do. But we also have are ways to show the many voices on all sides of an issue.

Rebecca MacKinnon- Thanks Dean. Now to Neha

Neha Viswanathan – I don’t think you can say b and j are related to each ohter in a specific manner…it’s very contextual, especially in India; main stream media is scared of reporting what really goes on in India, to scare away for investors. When journalists don’t do their job, bloggers do it. But at the same time, in Nepal, the blogs support main stream media. For instance, the issue of (? Fm), stopped by the government, or when bbc was stopped by the government, bloggers stepped up and said no, we need this media. It was bloggers who filed a case in the supreme court, and aggregated opinions from around the world about freedom of expression in main stream media. Another thing : challenging media. In media we have huge instances of plagiarism; where newspapers borrow from blogs without giving credit. It’s a huge issue. Finally, do bloggers want to be journalists in the first place? Do they want to be seen as members of the press? Do they want id cards? Recently we had a huge fiasco, the ibm fiasco – where an institute has paraded itself as something its not; a blogger had to quite his job because he felt it jeopardized his interest in the company. He explained he has an opinion, and has a right to his opinion whether or not he’s a journalist…these are some of the issues seen in south asia.

Rebecca MacKinnon- Thanks. I want to throw out a number of questions…One of the things we try to accomplish is, to also hash through difficult questions… we’re bringing attention to bloggers some of who might consider themselves journalists some of whom don’t, some use real names, native language, some not. How do we vouch for their credibility we’re using a distributed net – trusting our regional editors have a pretty god idea of who these people are, why they’re linking to them in context; That it’s not a cia agent posing as an iraqi blogger or something like that. There is that kind of question – how do we make sure people trust what we’re doing? As we try to call attention… perhaps making sure we’re not calling attention to false voices/disinformation. Also, what is the responsibility of bloggers? Jeff talked about how we’re really stepping up attention. Does this change how people are blogging, or linking? Do you have to make sure you’re not linking to someone with neo-nazi affiliations, would that affect your own credibility and that of global voices? To what extent does the responsibility for what one person you linked to [did] reflect upon you and then the larger community we’re increasingly a part of –I’m very interested in hearing these issues and people’s perspectives on that. It’s one thing when you’re writing about the people you know; another when you’re writing about hundreds of people, and trying [to be comprehensive, etc]

John West – What really interests me is fusion and on how you build trust or reliability; there are many other ways – webs of trust, peer review + centralized review, on sites like slashdot or on wikipedia… all of those sites make user contributor/history available, complete versioning if you like once those systems are introduced (it may be that blogging communities don’t want to do that, if it offends their ethos — we are focusing on voice, and that voice should be unfettered but if you’re focusing on the info side of media; as well as voice; these mechanisms exist and can be adapted. They would be coming more from the professional media side, seeking to embrace blogging. but that would make a huge difference in the way newsrooms with limited time review 13 diff sources coming in from Sri Lanka. That’s the first point. This second : we’re largely thinking about media as it reflects international and national. I work with internews; working mostly to develop new traditional media; mostly helping people get things up and running : tv, radio stations; improve the ones that exist. Less than half the people in the world have significant access to media; finding a remote village with sat-tv doesn’t really [capture] it. Finding media in your own language, even in the right gauge (many languages have high and low level] with correct degree of sensitivity to local issues; less than half have significant access to radio/tv. Our work is geared to extending the reach of diverse/independent media, largely traditional. I think there’s a tremendous opportunity; the blogosphere will arrive at the same time; if you’re talking about going into the sahara in w. Africa, or rural India, or many other places; about the bottom of the pyramid; the 1.2B people who live on less than $1 a day The blogosphere will arrive at the same time as traditional media. So we now have an opportunity to build completely fused media. Sorry – I’ll stop in a second… but a lot of this discussion is about how the blogosphere interacts with currently existing traditional media. If (nobody really knows) we think more than half the world’s pop can’t be classed as having significant access to media, let’s try and fuse it; make sure.. and I’m issuing an open invite to everyone in this room. We have projects of various different kinds on 50 countries in the world, come talk to me about how we can do [these things] in your areas.

Rebecca MacKinnon – This is absolutely true. We’re at a point where we can shape the future. One of the reasons I’m here instead of at my old job is I believe we [can do this], decide what to do to shape the future, who we can be working with at all these different levels, so people can communicate about what matters to them.

Mary (Page or Joyce?) – I’m glad you talked about credibility. I want to talk about the strengths of subjectivity, to me, journalism is about telling someone else’s story; blogging can be telling your own story. For me this is so important; since I’m doing a democratization blog; this is people saying this is what democracy means to me; it will be biased b/c it’s their opinion, but there’s a place for subjectivity and “what this means to me”. There’s a place for bloggers that /cant/ be taken by traditional journalism; which is interesting.

Rebecca MacKinnon – it’s almost like a convenient division of labor; wire journalists say I’m supposed to be out here being objective and straight; and bloggers having license to be subjective

Sokari Ekine – Just one point. As long as we’re individuals, we don’t have protection from any organization; we can blog anonymously or as ourselves if as ourselves… sometimes, writing about issues in our own blogosphere –For instance I blog about lesbian and gay issues on a continent that’s really homophobic, every time you press ‘send’ you set yourself up for some very negative responses. Lisa said something about people saying why was a self-hating jew on the one side, and a [palestinian apologist] on the other side. Every time I send out posts, I have no protection other than myself. I have to deal with that; I’m not within an organization that can have some support…so do you self-censor?

Ory Okolloh- I think ndesanjo from tanz was going to speak on journalists in Africa; I don’t think…

(interjecting)Rebecca ManKinnon – His plane just got killed by weather; so despite the the obstacles he surmounted, it got cancelled.

Ory Okolloh – I just want to say that in Africa… from Kenya, it hasn’t been off to a good start. The first interaction was plagiarism didn’t publish as his own, but there was no source given…The blogging community eventually forced it to be cited; with a formal apology letter from the editor in chief. There was a whole debate about what plagiarism was. It was relentless…(the response) there have been a few websites that have appeared, but where I see the role of bloggers in Africa : we’re playing a role that the main stream media isn’t doing. I write from an individual perspective; sometimes I’m more real – about observations -then we have lazy journalists, then there’s corruption…[these are all differences] there are some online journals in Nigeria; I see bloggers as filling that huge gap and spurring journalists to be more serious. If I can over the referendum as an individual with on resources just observing Nairobi today with cnn/bbc/reuters all telling people they don’t know what’s going on [and are reading here?] There’s a huge gap there. I hope as more get online, both western and African… [why are /we/ not covering Africa as Africans?] I see global voices linking to what’s going on .But the role is more than just being another voice.

Rebecca MacKinnon – Lisa next.

Lisa Goldman – about main stream media: yes, when you’re writing a story, you want to attract readers; blood and guts gets readers. When I went to gevalia recently, I photographed people on a beach at a picnic, and a girl from a birthday party and without comment I put it up on my blog. I just said “a day in gaza” and opened it up I had comments saying “I =thought everyone in gaza was a masked gunman…” “i’d never seen a photo in the main stream media of people in gaza just living their lives. Main stream media has to find a balance [including] what people want to hear and what their editors want to hear.

(Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)