By Alan Kania | September 29th, 2009
When I was in college, my sociology professor had the class do an assignment that was called “The Utopia Project”– we broke into small groups to create a Utopian community, only using technology and expertise that was available today. We had to create our own society and document how we based our decisions to make our “community” the most perfect society possible. There was no limit on funding, however, we did have to show how we were going to get the money.
I’m working on trying to develop a “Utopia” means of conveying QUALITY news and information to the most rural villages in the 14-country economic development region of Southern Africa. By using technology that is available today, I’m faced with the need to develop “media centers” for internet news-and-information, cell phones for immediate information, and develop a means of having trained “village journalists” the ability to get factual information out to the rest of the world using Open-Source programs.
Much of the woeful news of what’s going on in Africa has been based upon well-meaning non-government organizations that financially benefit from the millions of dollars that go to the organization or missionary, but little ends up with the villagers themselves. Afterall, a smiling happy African doesn’t tug at the economic heart strings like an emaciated AIDS-infected person.
If this is something that International Journalists would like to participate in, I’d be willing to have monitor progress and put it into real-life use in the country of Lesotho in Southern Africa. We are working to bring quality news-and-information to rural African Villages and present realistic and accurate information out to the urban media in Africa and the rest of the world.
Our web-site is www.sa-mediaalliance.org.
Co-Director, SAMA (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Former SPJ International Journalism Committee chairman)