When I first moved to Washington in August 2006, I found a rich international culture. And within months of exploring the city, I was reminded of what I had always known – I love looking at the U.S. from behind the lens of international news.
The first time I left the U.S. (Indiana might I add) was to New Delhi, India, in 1996. I was an awkward 11-year-old, with blonde hair, braces and an insatiable curiosity about the culture around me. When I returned, I told my english teacher I might have a hard time keeping up with her curriculum, because I was planning on writing a book about my trip. (Insert laughter). The book never came but a draft sits in my parent’s home in Indiana, safe keeping for when the time is right.
Funny thing is, timing really doesn’t care about being right.
Ten years later, I was sitting in my D.C. apartment reading an article about how international news buearus were being cut right and left by struggling American media companies. It helped me to understand that massive cutbacks, newsroom shutdowns and a growing gap for fact-based news and information would soon ensue. And in tandem, so too did my obsession with the evolution of fact-based journalism.
Fast forward to 2010. A few months ago, I spoke on a panel at the National Press Club about how I’ve used digital tools to gather, produce and disseminate news. After the talk, someone from Radio Free Europe (RFE) approached me. He told me about their HQs in Prague and the mission to provide uncensored news in censored states like Afghanistan, Turkestan, Iran, Kosovo, Moldova and more.
So I began to dig in.
RFE is worth checking out. They have hundreds of journalists in areas that the Post, the Times and other American-focused outlets had to cut. (No doubt they still get stringer stories, but the presence is not the same.) RFE also has a sick amount of multimedia content, radio clips, and blog content like Journalists in Trouble that put it all into perspective. It’s a gold mine of information and hard to get content.
But my digging in is not without motivation. I am trying to see if I can help them out in terms of digital and content strategy, community building, engagement and targeting. So that when the time is right, the vulnerable, information-deprived audiences around the world, or even simply in America, will get the fact-first information they need.
While I continue to learn about RFE, I wanted to share with you guys some of the cooler stories I’ve found. Enjoy.
In Need Of Transplants In Tajikistan
Migrant Express: Stuck at the Border