Global Voices: A review of 2007, and big plans for 2008

No one could have predicted that a post on Chinese ant farmers would become the most read story on Global Voices in 2007.

The top stories on this website were primarily those where local bloggers became important sources for the international media (and democracy activists), like protests in Myanmar, Pakistan, and the current unrest in Kenya. Or they attracted droves of readers because almost no one else reports on “faraway” regions and stories like the tropical storms in Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Honduras, and Oman.

In the past days, Global Voices authors and editors have highlighted some of the top stories in blogospheres of their different regions. See what bloggers in the Americas, the Caribbean, the Caucasus, Hong Kong, Korea, and the Philippines felt were the most important issues in 2007 – and share in hopes for the future with Syrian, Morrocan, Arabic and Portuguese-language bloggers.

‘Sexiest’ stories on Global Voices in 2007

Quantity isn't always a measure of quality, but here's a quick look at some more of the most read posts on Global Voices in 2007.

(Bankrupt ant farmers protesting in Shenyang, photo from “The Free China”)

Several top posts were originally published on our Advocacy website about online censorship and freedom of expression. The enormous popularity of posts like those on Chinese ant farmers or environmental protests in Xiamen were surely linked to the fact that local internet media and blogs were censored.

It doesn't have to ‘bleed’ to lead on Global Voices, but it seems to help. Traffic on posts about the execution of Saddam Hussein, an honor killing in Southern Kurdistan, and a neo-Nazi execution video in Russia were all high.

Sex and scandal also never fails to attract online readers (do we need a sex editor?). Among the most salacious stories in 2007, were a US hip hop artist's gyrations in Trinidad, a polygamous holy man in Indonesia, sexual expression in Hong Kong, and most recently, the infidelities of a Chinese television host.

Global Voices in 2008

Global Voices’ daily readership has doubled since the beginning of 2007, and quite atypically for an English-language website, China is the country we receive the most readers from after the United States.

In 2008, we expect to attract even more readers from non-English speaking countries with the help of our incredible Lingua translators who now translate Global Voices post into a dozen languages, including Arabic, Bangla, and Malagasy. They have grown to become one of the biggest volunteer translating communities on the web.

International mainstream media are asking questions about world bloggers like never before. Global Voices authors and editors are currently being interviewed and quoted on citizen media and politics almost weekly in newspapers, magazines, radio and television. Our new Special Coverage pages with live feeds from hand-picked blogs have been linked to by a wide array of online media.

Finally, Global Voices regional and language editors will be reaching out to more bloggers in countries we do not currently cover, inviting them to join our network of more than 100 volunteer authors (send them an email if you think it should be you!). From October to January the number of posts by our authors write rose by 20%.

New projects on the horizon

Our Rising Voices initiative has just awarded micro-grants to five new blogging projects in Jamaica, Kenya, Iran, Madagascar, and Uruguay, following the success of the first round of grantees in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Colombia, India, and Sierra Leone.

With support from Reuters, Global Voices has named an environmental editor, Juliana Rotich, and a new video editor, Juliana Rincón Parra (being named Juliana was not a requirement for the job). These two editors will be expanding our coverage on both subjects worldwide.

Global Voices will also be partnering with Reuters on a project to report on what the global blogosphere is saying about the US presidential election.

These are just some of the exciting initiatives coming out of the Global Voices community in 2008. Happy new year to all our readers, bloggers, translators, innovators, and supporters.


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