Inspired. That's how I felt after reading Profiles in Blogging, a new report published by the Center for International Media Assistance that examines how bloggers around the world practice their craft. Christopher Connell, an independent writer, editor, and photographer who was also former bureau chief for the Associated Press in Washington, provides a window into the experience of eight bloggers from Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Cambodia, Ghana, Yemen, Philippines, China, and Cuba. He provides an interesting narrative about each blogger, noting their important role in filling information gaps and their evolution into influential bloggers. He also examines how these bloggers find their audiences, the obstacles they face in practicing their craft, and, most inspiring (as least in my view), what motivates them.
A fervent desire for change. Shreedeep Rayamajhi, the first blogger profiled in this report, is a Nepalese IT professional that is described as a travel writer, crusader against sex trafficking, advocate for addressing climate change, and prolific citizen journalist. Having filed over 180 video stories on CNN’s iReport website and more than 260 stories for Ground Report on topics like crime, corruption, and politics, Shreedeep has taken enormous risks to tell these stories, including threats and beatings. For this blogger, the risks are worthwhile. He believes that blogging has afforded him an opportunity to make an impact on the streets of Nepal. As noted in the report, his writings have exposed gang activities in at the international airport in Kathmandu that benefited tourists along with other victims.
An alternative viewpoint: Meet Atiaf Alwazir, a democracy advocate, researcher, and blogger from Yemen. She makes her living as a free-lance researcher and has written for outlets like Foreign Policy, but she does not consider herself a journalist. Instead, she prefers to identify herself as a blogger or a researcher. In fact, she can be quite critical of Western media, which she believes paints a misleading picture of Yemen, as noted in her article, “The Flawed Media Narrative on Yemen.”
A provocative voice. This next blogger, Yoani Sanchez, described as a Cuban dissident and digital activist may not need an introduction. She is one of the best known political bloggers in the world. In 2008, Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and in 2011, she received an international Women of Courage award from then Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton. Her accomplishments are indeed profound. But what I thought most intriguing was her ability to empower in a provocative manner. In this report, she declares, “I am going to devote the rest of my life to spreading information. I want to be someone who makes others uncomfortable as a journalist, someone who provokes, who gets into problems presently in the current Cuba but also in a future Cuba…It is essential to have a responsible, objective journalism that can chronicle what’s happening but also analyze it in terms of understanding what needs to be done and holding people accountable as we move into this other future.”
These are just a few of the bloggers that inspired me in this report. Their motivations, commitment, dedication, and courage moved me. If you get the chance to read this report, which I would highly encourage, let us know if there are other global bloggers whose craft has inspired you.
Photo Credit: Flickr user Jorge Quinteros
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