By: Ruthie Ackerman
Photo on Flickr by woody1778a
Every month when I do my roundups of what happened on the Ceasefire blog that month I think to myself, “It can’t get much better than this!” And it always does.
October has proven to be our best month yet (so far). We have hit a new record with the sheer number of blog posts we have published on the site and we are being inundated with requests from bloggers to blog for us. This proves that Liberians want to interact more in the blogosphere and just needed a space to do so collectively. Many of our bloggers are now on Facebook as well so the social media contagion is really catching on.
I have also been reading a lot about the trend (which I hope is here to stay) in hyperlocal news. Rachel Sterne’s GroundReport is a great example of the possibilities in this arena. I hope that the funding world catches on so that more blogs like ours pop up around the world. I’m also glad to see that geniuses like David Cohn are thinking up potentially sustainable business models in this realm. We need more of that.
On the good news front: Saki Golafale, one of our star bloggers, led the youth of Wood Camp (in the Paynesville section of Monrovia) in a day of climate action. We are so proud of his committment and are even more proud to let our readers know that his hard work paid off: Saki was recognized by the blog 350.org. In other Saki news, Saki created this amazing photo essay documenting the Red Light Market in Paynesville, Monrovia and wrote an especially breathtaking story on Spencer and Massa, two young Liberians with very different after school lives.
In more good news, which you will hear more about as it develops, is that two different television shows have asked to do small segments on the Ceasefire Liberia project. I will be sure to keep you updated as that progresses.
And the icing on the cake is that Ceasefire Liberia is teaming up with The Niapele Project and New Liberian to do even more work around media justice and citizen journalism in Liberia. An exciting component of this partnership is that Ceasefire Liberia and New Liberian have agreed to cross-post each other’s articles so that our readers can benefit from double the reading pleasure. While Ceasefire Liberia has had fewer posts from the Liberian diaspora, New Liberian has had the opposite challenge: finding consistent bloggers in Liberia. By working together we can bridge those challenges and provide better content for our readers. A little about New Liberian: New Liberian is run by the infamous Semantics King Jr., who started The Vision, a newspaper created by Semantics and fellow journalist Jos Garneo Cephas in 2004 while they were living in Buduburam Refugee Camp in Ghana. He eventually received asylum to live in the United States and since has started New Liberian, which recently received 501(c)3 status with the help of The Niapele Project and David Maas, an amazing journalist in his own right.
And I’ll leave you with a quick roundup of news across the Liberian blogosphere (but mostly from our very own Ceasefireblog!): I am most proud of our coverage of the Guinean Massacre this month and what it will mean for Liberia and the West African region. Three of our bloggers wrote about Guinea: Saliho Donzo, Boima J.V. Boima, who took the interesting perspective of how the instability is affecting Liberian businesses, and one anonymous blogger. Another big story was that Firestone was found guilty of pollution at its rubber plantation in Liberia, a story that we even beat the BBC to covering. Boima J.V. Boima wrote a great story about the rift between Liberians over support for Charles Julu, a former general for Samuel Doe who has been accused of numerous murders including burying children alive in wells. Boima also covered the story of Nicholas Buigar, the Liberian who won first runnerup on MTN’s Project Fame West Africa. Saliho Donzo covered the Obama/Nobel Peace Prize controversy, our Monrovia blog manager, Nat Nyuan-Bayjay, covered the plight of Guthrie’s school teachers, Wellington Railey wrote about Liberia’s upcoming presidential elections, and from the diaspora Wynfred Russell wrote about the lack of visionary leadership in Minnesota and Stephen Johnson got a lot of attention for his piece about Liberian youth. There were many more stories, but you’ll have to discover them for yourself by taking a peek around the site!
New Liberian blogger Laura A. Young covered “A House with Two Rooms,” the final report of Liberia’s TRC Diaspora project; Bill Jarkloh covered the Liberty Party’s Darius Dillon’s primary win; Dennis Jah writes about fragmentation among Liberian organizations; Dennis also started a Ning site, called The Liberian Way, which has many blog posts and allows Liberians to connect (way to go Dennis!); Stanford Peabody, the publisher of The Bush Chicken, left for Monrovia and is taking requests for questions readers wants answered or photos you want taken so take part in this interactive news-gathering process; Cafe L.I.B, another blog/Ning site where Liberians can connect, has a very interesting series by Kimmie Weeks of Youth Action International in Liberia, who left the comfort and stability of the US to start his charitable foundation. Another story on Cafe LIB is about Obama’s praise for President Sirleaf for leading a discussion on job creating at the UN and for her leadership and concern about the violence in Guinea.
Please visit us at www.ceasefireliberia.com and leave comments. We’d love to hear from you!