Tag Archives: media

Good media is good development

Media development: reporter in India

Image credit: UNESCO

That’s what the folks at Internews, the World Bank and the Brookings Institute believe, and what they hope to convince funders of as well. In fact, according to Tara Susman-Pena and Mark Nelson, who spoke at the UN Digital Media Lounge today, a healthy, well developed media results in government transparency, civic participation, healthier economies, and citizen empowerment.

NOTE to Internews: I’d be very interested in learn how cross cultural perspectives on civic participation, civil society, public sphere, etc play a role in the development of media in non-Western societies. and whether (and how) that will be taken into consideration in your research.

Need further evidence that a healthy media is important? Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen pointed out that in all the world’s history, there has never been a famine in a country/region which had a free press.

So these three orgs are working together on the Media Map Project – a research project examining media (as a system) throughout the world. It will examine:

  • Journalism (safety of journalists, quality of reporting, professional development)
  • Environment (freedom of the press, supportive policies, ownership structures)
  • Information Culture (media literacy of the public, whether the public uses the information they get from media, how/if media can make their own voices heard)

Evidence for the report will be found through data analysis (access, audience research, market data, etc), donor research (who is giving what, where and why, and what are the results, impact assessments) and case studies (Mali, DRC, Ukraine, Peru and Indonesia).

They also hope to have an accompanying web based tool that will give the public access to the data, make is searchable and with custom visualizations. The website is scheduled to launch on World Press Freedom Day, May 3, 2011.

A preview of what’s to come….

Digital Media Lounge

This afternoon I’m leaving for New York to cover the UN MDG Summit. I’ll be participating in the Digital Media Lounge and will be blogging, pretty much non-stop!

I’ll be covering as much as I possibly can, but here are a few things I’ll be focusing on:

  • ICT4D (Information and Communication Technologies for development)- how development and humanitarian agencies are using communications and new tech to reach development goals
  • Disaster relief 2.0 – how organizations and governments are using collaborative technologies to better (hopefully) coordinate aid and humanitarian assistance
  • Media’s impact on development- what is media’s role? How can we strengthen media?
  • If, and how, any of these new technologies better include people with disabilities into development, or whether they have been considered…

I’ll also be covering the Obama and Ban Ki-Moon speeches!

You can also follow me on Twitter: LCMoy !

Twitter, FB banned for debates

I spend a lot of time looking at ways that nonprofits and activists can use social media to affect change.

Evidently, so does a court in Nigeria.

Map of Sharia states in NigeriaThe Civil Rights Congress of Nigeria was hoping to use social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to host debates on the use of amputations as punishments.

But an Islamic court ruled against the use, saying, “An order is hereby given restraining the respondents either by themselves or their agents from opening a chat forum on Facebook, Twitter, or any blog for the purpose of the debate on the amputation of Malam Buba Bello Jangebe.”

Malam Buba Bello Jangebe was the first person in Nigeria to be sentenced to an amputation after stealing a cow in 2000. On the anniversary of his punishment, the Civil Rights Congress had hoped to open up a debate so Nigerians could voice their opinions on Sharia law.

The civil rights group says they plan to appeal the decision.

Source: BBC

A global jam session for development

Next week the US government will host what they are calling a “jam session” for individuals interested in, or working in the field of international development. They are calling it Global Pulse, and it will be held, live and virtual, from March 29-31.

Ideas come from other ideas....lots of light nulbs emerge from one large bulb

Using the IDM “Innovation Jam” platform, they hope to have upwards of 20,000 participants sharing ideas and brainstorming on issues such as empowering women and girls, eual access to quality education, civil rights, global health, equitable trade and environmental protection.

Its a neat idea, and an interesting use of technology. All that is required is IE6 or Firefox 1.5 or above.

Oh, and a high speed internet connection.

While I understand the technical need for the high speed connection, I wonder how many people who should be a part of the conversation will be left out?

I’ll be attending the sessions as much as possible. I’m particularly interested in how the needs of people with disabilities will be addressed in the discussions, and I’m curious to find out how people in the field are using media and communications in their programs and ideas.

Stay tuned……

Got Water?

Bottle of Beau Pal water

Bottle of B'eau Pal water

Its summertime in Washington, DC, and although it has been a comparatively mild summer, it is still hot and humid enough to make you want to jump in the pool, or have a tall glass of crisp, cold water.

How about the latest in boutique bottled water, B’eau Pal?

Unlike other high end aqua refreshment, it’s source is not some glacial mountain in the Alps, or natural spring in the Adirondacks. No, this water comes straight to us from India.

Bhopal, India, to be exact. Site of the world’s largest industrial accident.

The B’eau Pal campaign is the latest from The Bhopal Medial Appeal and The Yes Men, in an effort to raise awareness about the incident and put further pressure on Dow Chemical to be held accountable.

The launch of this campaign coincides with the 25th anniversary of the accident, which has killed 20,000, and continues to kill at least one person a day.

The campaign features a beautiful red label and even includes a nutrition label, which indicates the drink has:

The campaign is clever, but not designed for mass distribution. Rather, the Yes Men had hoped to present the bottles to Dow Chemical executives earlier this month. However, word got out, and protesters found the Dow building completely empty. Had there been some kind of confrontation, perhaps there would have been more press, and consequently more awareness.

Unfortunately, all that’s left is a pretty bottle of poisoned water.

While I like the idea for the campaign, I can’t help feel like it is just there to make US feel better. Sure its witty. If the Dow folks had been there, we could really smirk. And hopefully the coverage would have raised some awareness and possible generated some funds.

But was there really hope that the campaign would change Dow’s mind about taking responsibility?

I’d like to know how the campaign measures success in this case? What’s the return on investment here?

The Power of Music

B&W photo of Rezso SeressSince one of my main interests is the power of media (any media) to move people to action or make change, I thought this was an interesting story.

Have you heard of the Hungarian suicide song? In 1932, Rezso Seress wrote “Gloomy Sunday” – a song which would be implicated in over 100 cases of suicide.

THe song’s lyrics are poignantly depressing:

Gloomy is Sunday

With the shadows I spend it all

My heart and I

Have decided to end it all…

sheet music of Gloomy Sunday The song caught on (in a time when, well, life in Hungary WAS depressing and gloomy), and soon it became a hit that was played in coffeehouses throughout Pest. Hungary has the highest suicide rate as it is, so the contribution of the song is somewhat debated, but evidently it became not uncommon to find suicide victims with the lyrics to the song in the pocket or in notes left behind. Some shot themselves while listening to the song, others threw themselves into the Danube…and all on Sundays.

Fervor around the song only increased interest in it. Soon it spread through the rest of Europe and it generated such a hysteria that the BBC banned it for years, only broadcasting instrumental versions of it.

Seress, a holocaust survivor, suffered from depression himself, and never wrote another hit song. He died (by suicide) in 1968.

It was a Monday.

Despite what a few crazy internet shrines tell you, the song won’t kill you. It is a hauntingly, yet beautiful song. Billy Holiday, Mel Torme, Elvis Costello, Bjork, Sinead O’Connor, Sarah McLaughlin and Ray Charles are just a few who have covered it.

Here are a couple of versions that are especially good.

(Listen, but be happy!)

Sarah McLaughlin is great, in a particularly haunting way…

Billy Holiday is, well Billy Holiday- you can’t go wrong…

And Elivs Costello seems to have the right voice for it…

Which version do you like?

The “West Wing” as Civics101

I arrived today in Budapest for a course called Media, Democratization and Civil Society. Its put on by UPenn Annenberg School of Communications and Central European University.

I’m really excited about it and will be posting about it (maybe live blogging a little, too) over the next couple of weeks.

There was a lot of required readings (most of which were not posted to the course’s website until a couple of days ago), so I spent a large part of the plane trip making my way through the 4 inch stack of papers.

I have to say, I have really enjoyed these readings! With the exception of one (which just got a little too ethereal for my poor tired brain at 10,000 feet) I have found myself getting excited about the content!

I was planning on writing about some of them, but of course I left them upstairs and my roommate is sleeping, so I;ll have to write in more detail tomorrow. But one that was interesting was from Politicotainment; Television’s Take on the Real (Popular Culture and Everyday Life) by Kristina Reigert.

One of the chapters dealt with the tv show, The West Wing, and studies how (or if) it affected American’s perceptions of the White House or of American politics in general. The chapter goes into interesting detail of just what made the West Wing so interesting, not only as an entertaining story, but also as a study of politics. And, would that study be lost on the viewing audience?

For the most part, people did feel like they learned a little more about American politics, and even though there’s no indication that the West Wing was responsible for people voting for the first time, or changin majors to polisci.

But the West Wing did make clear the struggle between ideology and pragmatic politics. Often characters were enthusiastic about a certain issue, but would run into roadblocks before they could veto the bill, or stay an execution, or bomb another country… They would deal with the roadblocks as best as they could, but more times than not, the next week those issues just kind of disappeared.

An interesting study the author did was to catalog (during the first four seasons) all of the ideological goals  that the Bartlett administration had (often given to the audience through arguments between characters or monologues). Then the author compared it the number of “solutions” to the problems.

Let just say, the show wasn’t about getting results, it just talked about getting them.

How the show dealt with foreign policy was particularly interesting. For a long time there was no foreign policy team. No advisors from the State Dept, no Secretary of State – there was just Leo and the Joint Chiefs. That changed after the show started focusing on more foreign affairs issues in some of the later seasons. The show had 2 fictional countries – the Republic of Kundhu (Rwanda) and Qumar ( an Afghanistan of sorts)- and it used these to portray atrocities such as genocide and some terrorism.

But the show also names real countries, and lambasts them – Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, to name a few. The monology from CJ was one piece of script that was examined in this chapter:

So how about it, did you ever feel like you learned something from the West Wing? Or felt closer to American politics? Or felt like you understood the nature of politics a little better?

Race and Politics- Live Blog from CAP

Due to the unprecedented nature of the 2008 election, communities of color are being actively sought after and their role and influence scrutinized by the media and political pundits. In an effort to add depth to the national conversation about the important role these communities are playing and will continue to play in ’08 and beyond, the Center for American Progress Action Fund is bringing together noted experts from the Asian American, Latino, Native American, and African American communities to discuss how these communities view this process, how they are working together to advance a common agenda, and about the role voters of color will play in November and beyond.

Click here to follow the live blog of this event.

Public access and grassroots video

I’m attending a lecture today given by DeeDee Halleck, an expert in public access television programing and the use of communications in grassroots development.

You can follow along here.

Breaking up with advertisers

I came across this while doing some research for work.
What a fun way to show how media and our relationship with it is changing! This is specifically about advertising, but nonprofits should pay attention, too, since their outreach methods need to change as well.