18 November 2011

Accessing Citizen Journalists to Tell Their Stories

The video is a report told by journalist Stanley Kwenda for Al Jazeera.  He writes about his excitement to finally have the opportunity to step to the front and tell the story himself, rather than work for a foreign correspondent.

After struggling with this for many years, I have now finally had the chance to tell that story in front of the camera. This is unique to me, as like most African journalists, I have become used to our stories being told by foreigners, some with little or no knowledge of the local landscape or culture.  
Often they came with a pre-conceived story idea which they were then forced to change when they were on the ground. And although an experienced journalist in my own right (I have tried several times before to do a story for international broadcasters), they have often been happier to have the story told by their man, and for them to be in control. They fly in reporters, cameramen and producers from Western capitals and use me merely to set up meetings or arrange interviews, to be their driver or even just to act as a human GPS, telling them where to go.

This is what motivates DAWNS. Stories like that of Mr. Kwenda should not be unique, but they are in some places. I cannot say for certain how it will be done, but I want to explore ways to support journalists like Mr. Kwenda so that he can begin to tell the stories of his own country.