Saturday, November 22, 2008

Rising Voices

(Courtesy of David Sasaki, the Director of Outreach for this important project, who mentioned it on his personal blog El Oso. David has long been one of the most important bloggers that I know for expanding my connections to the global voices that are available to me and my students. I am indebted to him for this great service and I encourage everyone to check out all of these important online global forums. David also writes for the Idea Lab: Reinventing Community News for the Digital Age.)

Rising Voices, an outreach initiative of Global Voices, aims to help bring new voices from new communities and speaking new languages to the global conversation by providing resources and funding to local groups reaching out to underrepresented communities.


Founded in 2004 by a group of pioneering international bloggers, Global Voices aggregates, curates, and amplifies the global conversation online - shining light on places and people other media often ignore. However, over the years it became increasingly clear that certain regions, languages, and demographics were better represented in the online global conversation than others. The bloggers, vloggers, and podcasters featured on Global Voices tended to be urban, middle-class, and well-educated.

Launched in May 2007 thanks to the support of a Knight News Challenge Award, Rising Voices seeks to empower under-represented communities to make their voices heard online by 1.) providing financial support to outreach projects, 2.) developing a series of participatory media tutorials, and 3.) cultivating a network of passionate citizen media activists to help encourage and support the replication of outreach trainings.

Micro-Grant Competition
Every six months Rising Voices organizes a micro-grant competition, which awards five grants of US$1,000 to $5,000 for new media outreach projects. Ideal applicants present innovative and detailed proposals to teach citizen media techniques to communities that are poorly positioned to discover and take advantage of tools like blogging, video-blogging, and podcasting on their own. In July and December of 2007 we announced our first and second rounds of grantees. Future grant competitions are planned for May/June and November/December of 2008. You can learn more about the bi-annual grant competition by visiting the Apply page.

Outreach Curriculum
One of the most challenging obstacles to effectively training new communities how to take advantage of citizen media tools like blogs, podcasts, and online video is the lack of documentation in languages other than English. A series of six guides - each available in at least six languages - aims to clearly explain the tools, techniques, and potential of citizen media through the use of case studies and easily understandable tutorials. Rising Voices’ Introduction to Citizen Media will soon be joined by more explanatory guides on our Library page.


David Sasaki said...

Thanks so much for the support Thivai throughout all these years. It's amazing to think that we still have yet to meet in person. I hope all is well.

Michael Benton said...


Independent Media (and culture) is my passion, so anything... it really blows me away what is going on with the online San Diego independent news and your global projects are vital to the United States of Amnesia (usually it is a historical complaint from me, but we must recognize the common American ignorance of contemporary global realities). I have been sending my students to global voices and I'm happy to see that Rising Voices is working to increase the opportunity for more "people" (in the Zinn sense) around the globe to represent their realities.

I just found out about Idea Lab and Media Shift from visiting Rising Voices and I am excited to explore them more once I get moved (I'm heading downtown!).

Also, I'm thinking that perhaps a profile of these projects might be a good idea for Reconstruction (the cultural studies journal I edit)

I look forward to meeting--I sometimes come out to SD at Christmas time, but I will be in Costa Rica this time, maybe in the summer (if you are not traveling). I will be in San Francisco in March...

Michael Benton said...

Of course, if you are ever out my way... you always have a place to crash! and I'm not opposed to driving to meet.