GWA10: Lessons Learn From GWA’s Media Development Program

Global Wire Associates Celebrating 10 Years of Service

This is part of our year-long celebration of Global Wire Associates’ 10th Anniversary.

Ten years ago, many of our first clients were media professionals and citizen journalists in the developing world who viewed the Internet as a new gateway for free speech.  As many of these journalists lived in countries where the press were regularly censored, threatened, injured or killed for their reporting, new tools like YouTube and Facebook presented new ways to do journalism.

Global Wire Associates was started by journalists who were guided by the principles of freedom of expression and diversity in the media.  Over the last decade we have provided technical assistance to journalists worldwide, ranging from interviewing tips to editing video packages to blogging.  Our main objective is to support democratic dialogue through a free and independent media.

In 10 years we have learned many things from our work.  Here are some of them:

  1. Commitment to the craft – Being a committed journalist who wants to tell fair and accurate stories can be a daunting thing to do if you work in a country that doesn’t support press freedom.  We have met reporters from Iran, Colombia, China and Somalia (among many others!) who maintained courage under fire in extreme situations to get the story out.
  2. Commitment to the audience – Reporters are dedicated to getting information to their audience.  Over the years we have explored with media clients new ways to distribute information such as text messaging and audio podcasting.  Whether it was new media like Twitter and Instagram or the old fashion radio and newspapers, it is important to cater to your audience using the tools that they use.
  3. Be resourceful –  Many reporters we have met with from developing countries sometimes have to be resourceful about how they report, since they don’t always have access to many tools used by Western journalists. Luckily with the mobile technology explosion, most reporters anywhere in the world can do just about everything on their mobiles.
  4. Security – With more access to technology comes more security problems.  Being hacked by an opponent is a major concern.  One of the biggest requests we receive from our clients is advice on the best storage tools for file backup.  Depending on how hostile the situation is in their country, many reporters have to use multiple external hard drives, computers and cloud systems to store sensitive information.  We spend a lot of time researching the best security strategies for them.
  5. Diversity – Diversity in the newsroom is not just a buzzword; it is the only way to do good journalism.  In order to tell fair, accurate and engaging stories that reflect the diversity in our world, all the best reporters need to be at the table, regardless of gender, age, race, color, religion, disability or national origin.  We have been lucky to work with some of the best reporters in the business!
  6. Be Open and Mindful – Being open to new ideas and situations kind of comes with the territory when one become a journalist.  Many of the reporters we have worked with have challenged some of our ideas on judging good and bad and living in the moment.
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