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.
The potential was clear when Steve saw footage Brian brought back from Iraq at a conference in 2006. Here was a room full of Americans, actually listening to Iraqis themselves speak about their own impressions of what was happening to their country. There was nothing shocking or outrageous in the footage, they were simply straightforward interviews.
Afterwards, the conversation was the shocking part. Instead of being about what people’s own opinions about what should happen, it shifted to focus on what Iraqis wanted. That’s when we knew the idea had potential.
Small World News was founded as a way of franchising the Alive in Baghdad model to other countries. The needs were clear: a dearth of accurate, engaging, and independent foreign reporting created an opportunity for locals themselves - in Iraq, India, Afghanistan, and elsewhere - to tell their own story without the filters or constraints of communicating through foreign press. It’s financially feasible because foreign news budgets are strained yet this content is more needed than ever. Locals can produce more interesting content more affordably, but need a network to engage these larger agencies and build an audience.
Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date
In March 2011, Small World News sent a team to Libya to build the capacity of local bloggers and journalists. SWN located a group of Libyans in Benghazi with a clear interest in journalism and documentary filmmaking. Over one week SWN trained 12 Libyans in video journalism. The team has since produced more than 150 videos. In July, SWN returned to Libya, to work with the established team in Benghazi, and provide training to bloggers and journalists in western Libya. Over the month of July SWN held workshops for approximately 20 Libyans in Zintan, 15 Libyans in the town of Yefren, and provided advanced training, and organizational support to 12 Libyans in Benghazi.
Our Benghazi bureau chief, Seraj Elalem, worked as an English teacher. Swept up in the spirit of Libya's revolution, he was able to put his language, writing, and organizing skills to use helping create Libya's first free press. With this free press, he's able to disseminate important information to Libyans and the international community without the traditional barriers of regime- or rebel-controlled propaganda.
At the end of August 2011, Seraj Elalem began our latest journalism training for citizens in Tripoli.
What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?
SWN will establish a national Libyan free press, in following years we will work with the Libyan team to expand the model to regional countries and seek partnerships to create impact outside the Middle East & North Africa. By combining the latest digital devices with a basic training framework SWN creates a replicable methodology that will be used to build the next generation international press, empowering citizens with critical journalism skills.
Our aim is to facilitate this desire for self-expression by organizing a production team; facilitating the use of inexpensive, lightweight, and versatile media tools; developing an effective method for uploading content given local conditions; and building a platform on the web and its social media arms for publishing internationally.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Build the foundation for a national network of Libyan journalists, stringers, and citizen journalists.
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Craft new bureaus into finely honed, independent Libyan news agency