Here at Talk About Local we’re very excited to be embarking on a new piece of community journalism work in South Africa.
At first glance, it might seem odd that a company best known for its work with the so-called hyperlocal sector (i.e people running local websites and blogs in the UK) is off on a global adventure like this.
But actually we’ve been working away with some international clients for some time now – sometimes in situ (such as the entrepreneurial training in Istanbul) but more often we’re delivering the training using online tools* in places as remote as Borneo, as populous as Bangalore or as sophisticated as Boston and Chicago.
We find that clients love our ability to help people use advanced technologies in a local setting to bring about social change. We help people get stuff done using the best tech tools for the job and often find ourselves working for large technology or media companies at the point where their first customers get to use a new technology product and feed back into product design.
So in reality taking our local-ness global hasn’t been that much of a leap. After all, the phrase think local act global has been well used for many years and is now a real possibility thanks to the connectivity so many of us have at our finger tips.
While the issues these diverse communities and organisations around the world face may be very different, the underlying principles and motivations to tackle them through developing connectivity, storytelling and journalism can often involve much the same or at least similar solutions and strategies.
During a two day workshop in Johannesburg starting on Monday, myself and local journalist Raymond Joseph will be tackling some of the hard-hitting issues that the participants from across the region have been identifying with us over the past couple of weeks. Click on the map icons above to explore further.
We’re expecting to be tackling such things as:
– issues facing gay men against the machismo of townships
– the rise in visibility of children performing and begging in the streets
– the impact of a new, dangerous drugs trend
– the gentrification of areas and the knock-on impacts
– environmental issues raised by economic development
And if there’s one thing we’ve learned for sure over the years at Talk About Local, we know that once everyone is together in the same place, there’ll be even more stories emerging and experiences to be shared!
The workshop is part of a much wider piece of work being carried out by The Guardian’s head of diversity and inclusion Yasir Mirza.
In a recent article explaining the programme, he says:
We’re making this a regular part of what we do, by launching the Guardian’s Citizen Reporting Programme – for Marginalised Voices. The aim is to work with marginalised people around the world, empowering and amplifying their voices with training and support. We’ll cover how the news life cycle works, how to help verify a story with evidence, where to find this evidence, what constitutes local, national, and international news, and how to pitch and connect to us digitally. In the process we hope to find many urgent but unheard stories, and perhaps make a real difference for their communities.
* We haven’t always been able to share details of this activity with you here because, while many clients such as The Guardian are happy for us to talk about our work with them, others prefer to keep it to themselves and, of course, we respect that.