Global Voices Online, winner of the 2006 Knight-Batten Grand Prize for Innovations in Journalism, is a non-profit project of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. (See more here, or check out the media archive for stories that have been written about us and the bloggers in our community.)
In addition to building a global community of bloggers, we aim to create a useful resource for news editors and reporters to tap into story ideas and information from bloggers and podcasters in all parts of the globe. We are developing a global index of blogs and are writing daily roundups of what bloggers around the world are talking about. You'll find the blogs full of local detail you can't get elsewhere. Many communicate ideas and information that the mainstream press in their countries won't publish.
Because North American and Western European voices and perspectives dominate both the international news media and the global Internet, Global Voices focuses on the rest of the world. We aim to bring previously un-heard voices into the mainstream media — by working with you. If you are an editor or reporter:
1. Follow our daily Global Links, in which our regional editors give you 5-10 picks per weekday of what they think are the most interesting blogs posts coming from their regions on any given day.
2. Follow our features about bloggers and blogging communities around the world. If you're a broadcast journalist be sure to check out our podcast interviews with bloggers.
3. Subscribe to our daily e-mail update or targeted RSS feeds for every country, region and topic label.
4. Contact us at globalvoices DOT online AT gmail DOT com and let us know how we can help you tap the world of blogs for your stories.
5. Check out our media archive.
Some concrete examples of how Global Voices can help you:
NEWS EDITORS: People working on the international news desk for a TV station or newspaper can use Global Voices to find ideas for stories not necessarily covered by Reuters and AP. Even with stories covered on the wires, bloggers often provide useful background, analysis, and alternative angles not found in the agency coverage.
Here's an example: On June 3rd 2005 we linked to several blog posts by Lebanese bloggers on the Lebanese elections. Mustapha at “Beirut Spring” had this analysis of the situation. That analysis may be useful to you and your journalists in shaping your next story on the Lebanese elections – or it might suggest angles useful to your coverage.
Not clear about something Mustapha wrote? Need more information? By all means, contact him! Most bloggers have their email address either on the front page of their blogs or in the “about” section. You may want to interview him for a story. You may even want to hire him to do some story research for you – or even commission an article from him. We encourage news media to contact bloggers linked by Global Voices.
RADIO/MULTIMEDIA: We are starting to produce regular podcasts. All Global Voices content is offered under a Creative Commons license, which means that broadcasters, podcasters, and all other content-creators are welcome to use all or parts of these podcasts as long as attribution is given to Global Voices.
BEAT REPORTERS: Is Iran part of your regional beat? Are you one of those poor souls tasked with covering an entire continent for your news organization? Bloggers writing from or about countries in your beat can quickly become your allies.
Every day, we hand-select blog stories that seem to us to be particularly interesting and important; you'll find them in the middle “Global Links” column on the Global Voices home page. The bloggers we focus on are what we call “bridge bloggers” – people who write about their country or region for an international audience. They wouldn't be blogging if they didn't want the world to hear their views, so they make great potential story sources. Some might even be open to working for you as writers, researchers or fixers. As with any source, it's the reporter's responsibility to vet that source for credibility before quoting them or using their information…
CREDIBILITY ISSUES: Returning to our Lebanon blogger example, how do you know Mustapha really is who he claims? Need more information about his loyalties before you use him as a news source or take his word on what's happening in Lebanon? Naturally, you need to satisfy yourself on all these fronts as you would do with any story source. You can email him directly, and do the usual checking on information and analysis you'd get from any one source.
Global Voices currently does not have the staff to “vet” all the individual blogs we're linking to, so when we link to something we're saying “here's an interesting conversation” or “here's an interesting idea.” We're not saying, “we endorse what this blogger is saying as the gospel truth.” Quote from any blog at your own risk, just as you quote from any source at your own risk. And as with any source, anonymous blogs must pass a much higher credibility threshold than blogs whose authors make their identity public and their allegiances clear.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: If you have further questions please contact Rebecca MacKinnon at: globalvoices DOT online AT gmail DOT com. (I'm a former TV foreign correspondent myself, and am thus aware of your needs and issues.)
We welcome suggestions about how Global Voices can help professional journalists bring more interesting, original, and diverse world new stories to their audiences.