Congratulations to everybody who contributes to Global Voices! We are one of seven finalists for the 2006 Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism. Here is how the press release begins:
Participation, Transparency, New Story-Telling Tools
Distinguish 2006 Knight-Batten Award Finalists
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Seven new ways to connect people with news – from showing every Congressional vote, to warning where hurricanes will strike, to blogging the world – are the winners of this year's Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism.
“The hallmark of this year's entries was the use of basic technology to add value to the process of journalism and not just the packaging,” said Jan Schaffer, executive director of J-Lab, which administers the awards program.
“News organizations are getting beyond the veneer of pretty production and are letting citizens into the inner working of news, helping them navigate through it, participate in it and react to it.” “
Click here to continue reading the rest of the press release. (Note it was revised after the initial release and we updated it here at 23:00GMT July 25th.)
Here is how I described Global Voices to the judges in our application:
Global Voices Online is your guide to the most interesting and globally relevant content in online citizens’ media outside North America and Western Europe. At a time when the international English-language media ignores topics that are important to large numbers of the world’s citizens, GVO aims to redress some of the inequities in media attention by leveraging the power of citizens’ media. Tens of millions of people around the world are sharing information, opinions, images, sounds and video online. We focus on the “bridge-bloggers:” those not merely talking to their friends about their pets and social lives, but who seek to engage a broader global audience in a conversation about what is important to them. But how can the wider global audience find these voices? If we are curious about the views of Saudi Arabian youth, how do we find out who has credibility and respect in the Saudi blogosphere? How does an American find out what the Russian language LiveJournal writers are saying about recent events in Belarus? GVO attempts to provide a solution to the worldwide Internet information overload. We are, in effect, an edited aggregator run by a core international team of 15 multilingual bloggers who select, explain, contextualize and translate conversations and citizens’ reporting that emerges from their regions. An additional group of 80-plus volunteer authors contribute even more in-depth perspective on the blog buzz in their countries. GVO’s new podcast editor has now taken the same curation model to audio with the newly-launched Global Voices Show, bringing you – literally – voices and perspectives from podcasters across the globe. In January 2006 we launched a new partnership with Reuters, introducing Reuters readers to the best of global online citizens media with tailored country-specific GVO feeds on pages devoted to specific countries and regions.
An excellent example of the way Global Voices and Reuters are working together to amplify citizens media can be found on this Reuters.com special Mideast Crisis page, where commentary from the region's bloggers appears alongside news coverage and analysis from Reuters journalists. The GV and Reuters editorial teams continue to explore new ways to combine the best of citizens media and news agency journalism toward a common goal: a better informed public discourse about the important issues of our world.
Global Voices is a non-profit project housed at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society. We are grateful to everybody there for putting up with me and Ethan as we worked to get this project off the ground. In addition to generous financial support from Reuters, Global Voices has received project-specific funding from the Dutch NGO Hivos. And we are eternally grateful to the Macarthur Foundation – who gave us the seed grant that made everything possible.
Most importantly, thanks to all the bloggers around the world who are working with passion and dedication to help us understand their countries and regions in completely new ways. Global Voices exists to serve you and to amplify your voices. We hope you'll let us know what we're doing right and what we could do better… and that you'll help us improve. If you have any thoughts feel free to post them in the comments section of this post.
Continue on for the rest of our application…
Answers to Questions about GVO in the Knight-Batten award application:
3. What makes this an example of innovative journalism? Does it involve new definitions of news or new storytelling models? Does it build new community connections or offer new reader participation opportunities?
While many of the creators of the content we aggregate don’t consider themselves journalists, GVO pioneers new approaches to basic journalistic functions. If international journalism aims to inform people in one country about people in another, then GVO accomplishes this in the most direct way possible with our daily selection of links to unedited voices around the world. But without a human filtering system, it’s impossible for the non-expert to know what is credible, or find what she wants. GVO’s editorial process pioneers new methods of aggregation and curation – increasingly important journalistic functions in this Internet age.
4. How were new information ideas or technologies used to involve or educate people in new ways? (100 words)
At GVO’s core is RSS syndication. RSS enables our editors to follow hundreds of blogs daily, and enables specialized feeds for use on Reuters.com. More importantly, syndication maximizes the spread of GVO content around the Internet. We believe it’s more important to drive traffic to the original sites we link to, rather than to the GVO domain itself. Thus GVO also publishes feeds of every country and topic category. Any individual or organization is encouraged to re-publish our content on their own blogs and websites. All GVO content is Creative Commons licensed, which means anybody can use it with attribution.
5. Explain how your entry engaged audiences. Include qualitative and quantitative measures. (100 words)
Global Voices traffic has shot from roughly 6,000 visitors per day in July 2005 to approximately 30,000 daily visitors today. These statistics represent only one small part of the way GVO amplifies unique voices from the non-Western world as widely as possible. We frequently hear from journalists and editors who say they now regularly comb GVO for story ideas, new perspectives to quote, and voices to put on air. Global Voices bloggers are regular guests on the BBC World Service and American Public Radio’s Radio Open Source. The Guardian and other Internationally focused news websites regularly link to GVO bloggers and blog posts – and of course Reuters.com increasingly features GVO content.
6. Explain the project's impact on the topic or on the community at large. (100 words)
Over the past year, we have discovered that calling attention to voices in a particular country or region can inspire more people to start talking. We are told by Cambodian bloggers that the number of blogs in Cambodia has increased – and those who were already blogging started taking their work more seriously – after we started linking to Cambodian blog posts on a regular basis. Similarly, we have found that the act of aggregating, curating, and translating Latin American blogs has inspired many of the veteran members of the Spanish blogging community to bring more diverse voices into their blogosphere, and to explore their own home-grown versions of GVO in Spanish for the Spanish-speaking world.
7. Identify any novel uses of newsroom or community resources. (75 words)
Global Voices is a virtual organization: while our website is hosted on servers at the Berkman Center, we have no physical “office” and nobody works in the same physical place. All editorial meetings are conducted via Internet Relay Chat (IRC) and editorial problems are solved via e-mail list-serv. GVO has only one full-time employee, our Managing Editor. All 15 Regional and Language Editors work on a part-time contract basis for GVO. They are assisted by many dozen more volunteers.
8. What parts of your effort are you particularly proud of? Tell us specifically where to find them. (100 words)
We are incredibly proud of our regional editors, translators, and authors. Pages aggregating each person’s work can be found by clicking on the “about” link on the blue bar at the top of the GVO main page, then clicking on each person’s name. See the variety and richness of conversations they are curating. Please also click on some of the individual countries in our “tag cloud” (the green area at the top). Try Iran to see how Iranian bloggers see the world, and then try the Democratic Republic of Congo to meet people you rarely hear from in the mainstream press.
9. Additional information for our judges: (75 words)
Global Voices Online is a non-profit project hosted at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. It was launched with a small grant from the MacArthur Foundation. In January we received major support from Reuters. Reuters executives say they decided to support GVO as a way to provide their own audience with access to a vast global online conversation taking place around world news events, as curated and contextualized by reputable participants in that conversation.