A project nine months in the making, the bloggers from HiperBarrio are organizing a festive event this Saturday to raise funds in order to finish their all-volunteer construction of a new house for Manuel Salvador, formerly known as "Suso Mugre".
Every neighborhood has it's own local set of celebrities who become either famous or infamous for their talents, idiosyncrasies, and personal histories. In San Javier La Loma, a hillside working class community on the outskirts of Medellín, one of the most well-known local celebrities, "Filthy Suso", had, until recently, also been one of the most enigmatic. Thanks to the work of HiperBarrio, a citizen journalism outreach project of Rising Voices, the story of "Filthy Suso" is now known both locally and internationally.
It was a busy weekend for three Rising Voices grantee projects as representatives from Blogging Since Infancy, Voces Bolivianas, Abidjan Blog Camps, and HiperBarrio all spoke about their projects at major international conferences.
HiperBarrio was represented at Ars Electronica by Álvaro Ramirez, Gabriel Jaime Vanegas, and Diego Gomez. Álvaro's presentation introduced the history and evolution of HiperBarrio and how the group of young bloggers and citizen journalists in San Javier La Loma have managed to maintain a sense of community while still introducing new members to remain open and inclusive.
The decision to revamp the activities of the Hiperbarrio project had paid off as we see that regular blog posts from the members were published to describe stories of their neighborhood. The members have also attended video workshops to learn to produce/edit short (one minute) videos and post them online with subtitles. And an update of the fund drive for building a home for the homeless Suso is included in this week's feature.
After a slow couple months the members of HiperBarrio have come up with a plan to inject some enthusiasm and inspiration back into the group and its production of new media.
In 2007 Rising Voices, an outreach initiative of Global Voices aimed at bringing under-represented voices from the developing world to the social web, got its feet on the ground. 2008 was a year of scaling up and defining processes. In 2009 we plan on becoming more inclusive to build a global resource and knowledge network centered around citizen media training.
Remember Suso? The plights of the garbage collector in San Javier La Loma in Medellín was brought to the community's attention by the citizen journalists of the Rising Voices grantee in Colombia. Now he lives in a new house built by the community. Read about this and more updates.
We hear the term 'citizen journalism' almost everywhere. But to be precise, what is it? Why do we need to embrace citizen journalism? What effects does it have on a society and how can it give a voice to the people who are under reported in the mainstream media? We will find the answer to those questions in this feature and learn how the Rising Voices projects are embracing citizen journalism.
Why do we blog? Because we want to express ourselves, to be heard, to learn about others, to augment networking, and most importantly to enhance a new social imagination, engage in social causes among other things. Emerging bloggers in two of the Rising Voices funded projects have done commendable jobs in taking personal initiatives to help others and promote the cause to a greater scale.
One of the most exciting developments from last week's batch of posts is that many Rising Voices participants are using their blogs as more than just spaces of communication. They have realized that by tapping into the support of a community, they are able to start campaigns to help their neighbors in need.
HiperBarrio's presence at Medelink 2008, a local festival of digital culture, might have helped the citizen media outreach project discover a model of sustainability while extending their work to more communities on the outskirts of Medellín.
With just seven months of experience, the young and extremely motivated participants of HiperBarrio have blossomed into genuine citizen journalists. By rescuing their community's forgotten history, they have also helped bring it closer together.