FOUNDING STORY: We want to hear about your “Aha!” moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution’s potential to change the world.
In January 2011, a week before the fall of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Meedanis gathered at Meedan HQ in San Francisco were left frustrated at the lack of mainstream media coverage of the quickly developing situation in Tunisia. As our regional community of content producers and translators struggled to find high quality, original media reporting from traditional media, we turned increasingly to Twitter, YouTube, and TwitPic for the latest and best coverage of what was happening on the ground in Tunis.
As the wave of protests spread from Tunisia to Egypt, Libya, and the rest of the Arab world, and as mainstream media struggled to keep up, we devoted our efforts to translating citizen media: Twitter on Curated.By; blogs on News.Meedan; YouTube videos and voice messages as principal partner in the Alive.In Egypt & Libya projects.
Meedan Swift is a project born of a thirst for citizen voices which are under represented by the international media. By working with media partners and by developing advanced translation & curation tools, we can help journalists in their difficult work of covering fast-breaking news situations, and help amplify citizen voices to a global media audience.
Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date
With Meedan Swift still in a startup phase, the main social impact achieved has been in building links with journalists and leading international and regional media organizations. Meedan will also work with Noha Atef, a leading Egyptian activist and social media expert, and Birmingham City University on the training resources and workshops for citizen journalists. We believe that working with these high-profile partners and collaborators will greatly enhance the social impact of the project.
Meedan Swift builds on the principles and technologies first developed for News.Meedan.Net project, which saw the world's first cross-language media sharing platform launched to help broker online intercultural dialogue. Visitors to Meedan can read about news events as covered by a variety of citizen and mainstream media, which always includes content translated from and into Arabic and English. Translated content from News.Meedan.Net has been published by The Economist, the Guardian, Time magazine, Wired and the Huffington Post.
What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?
Over the next 3 years Meedan Swift will expand into a second phase, embracing further regional media partners in a variety of countries and training more regional citizen journalists. Once expanded, the project will allow media audiences across the Middle East to access citizen media, which in turn will encourage more people to participate in citizen journalism. Meedan’s development process will be described step by step on the Meedan blog, for others to learn from and observe, and technology developed through the project will be open source, for others to use and contribute to. Although Meedan Swift focuses on media in the Arabic/English language pair, others are able to take the open source software and adapt the technology for other under-served language pairs such as Chinese/English.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Full-time journalists using Meedan Swift to produce daily citizen journalism-centered content for line and offline publication
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Media partnerships with 5 publishers in at least 3 different Arab countries, further 1000 citizen journalists ready for training