Managing Editor of Global Voices Solana Larsen speaks at the IPI World Congress in Taipei, Taiwan, 27 September 2011. Photo: UDN/IPI
What do you think the future holds for citizen journalism and citizen-produced media?
At Global Voices, we tend not to use the words “citizen journalism”. We’ve chosen a broader term, “citizen media”. I think journalists tend to think there are a bunch of citizens who are trying to emulate what they are doing, and often that’s not really the case. The information sharing has become much more sophisticated than what we’ve seen before. Previously, it was blogging, and now we turn to Twitter. We’ve also seen digital activists being engaged in online transparency initiatives where they take large sets of data and make websites where people can search and contribute information about corruption, elections, or anything that concerns citizens. I think that because these web tools are becoming so much more powerful, digital activists are becoming more and more ambitious in terms of what problems they are trying to solve with their activities online.
Are there any upcoming plans for Global Voices in the future?
We’re growing; our main growth factor in the past couple of years has been our translation community. We began as a website that was only in English; we then developed French and Chinese versions of our website. That community of volunteer translators around the world has now grown to a network of over 20 websites. We have websites in many different languages, and we’re now experimenting with different content in those languages as well. We have bloggers from France, for example, who don’t speak English that well…we are developing an editorial process where they can contribute in French and we’ll translate it to English. We never made use of the fact that most of our editors are bilingual or in some cases trilingual. We’re now having [our editors] work in several different languages. It’s a decentralized form of growth, and I think it’s part of the exciting new things that Global Voices is doing.
Full interview from 30 September 2011 here.