Tutorials, Tips, and Guides

Today's newsletter has been a long time coming. I wish you all a wonderful weekend from the chilly beginnings of autumn here in Argentina.

Last week I had an enthusiastic conference call with Eduardo Ávila of the Voces Bolivianas project and Sahar Romani of the Neighborhood Diaries project about their development of a training curriculum for anyone who wants to organize a series of workshops to teach a group with limited computer experience how to use citizen media tools like blogs, digital photographs, and online video in order to share local stories from their community with a global audience.

This is a project that we have been working on for nearly two years since we first published an “Introduction to Global Citizen Media” in English, Spanish, Bengali, and French. We planned on following up that introductory guide with subsequent guides describing how to set up blogs, produce podcasts, and record, edit, and publish short videos. However, we soon realized that many other groups were already dedicating much more time than we ever could to produce and maintain these guides. Therefore, rather than focusing on the technical details, we will present you with links to what we believe are the best current tutorials available for every tool a citizen media project might want to take advantage of. And we will add context to those links by suggesting workshop activities to teach the tools in fun and meaningful ways.

This will all be ready and made available sometime in the next month. For the time being, let me point you to some valuable resources with great tutorials for anyone wanting to put together a citizen media training project. As you will see, many of these tutorials are specifically geared toward activists, but they are also helpful for community media projects. Tactical Tech are happy to send copies of any or all of these toolkits and guides to human rights advocates working in marginalised communities. For general enquires email: toolkits@tacticaltech.org

Tactical Technology Collective:

is an international NGO that provide human rights advocates with guides, tools, training and consultancy to help them develop the skills and tactics they need to increase the impact of their campaigning.

The following guides and toolkits are available online, as downloadable files or they can be posted to not-for-profits in a book/CD format, free of charge.

Mobiles in-a-box, designed to support campaigners to use mobile telephony in their work.

Message in-a-box, a set of strategic guides and tools to create media and communicate for social change.

Security in-a-box, created to meet the digital security and privacy needs of advocates and human rights defenders.

Maps for Advocacy, an effective guide to using maps in advocacy campaigns.

Visualising Information for Advocacy, a manual aimed at helping NGOs and advocates strengthen their campaigns and projects through visual communication.

Quick ‘n’ Easy Guide to Online Advocacy, aims to expose advocates to online services that are quick to use and easy to understand.


is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to helping grassroots activists around the world use the Internet and mobile phones to increase their impact. Their goal is a world of activists made more powerful and more effective through the use of digital technology.

The DigiActive Guide to Twitter for Activism – “Following the recent protests in Moldova, the value of Twitter as a tool for digital activism is more prominent than ever. Yet in addition to bringing greater awareness to that tool, the hype surrounding Moldova revealed misunderstanding of the value of of Twitter for activism and, even though the realists responded strongly, there was not a stand-alone resource which clearly defined how Twitter could be used by activists. We hope this guide will fill that void.”

Guide: Introduction to Facebook Activism – “It’s a quick introduction on how to use Facebook in your activism campaign and includes real-life examples of Facebook activism campaigns from Egypt, Burma, and Morocco.”

Women's Net:

is a South African based non-governmental organisation that works to advance gender equality. Their work focuses on the intersection between gender and information and communication technologies (ICTs).

Citizen Journalism Training Manual (PDF) – This is a training manual for Women's Net's citizen journalism project which aims to “enable South and Southern African women and girls and women’s organisations to use cyberspace as a tool for information and mobilisation towards advancing women’s equality, and to demystify information and communication technologies (ICTs) and make these accessible to all women and girls, particularly those who have been historically disadvantaged in terms of their access to such technologies.


is your how-to guide for hyper-local community media.

Quick Overview: WordPress and Blogger – “Wordpress and Blogger are two of the most popular blogging platforms because they're free and fairly versatile. Visit this quick overview for information on how to get started.”

Using Twitter for Promotion and Community – Twitter, the leading service for microblogging, was quickly adopted by dozens – then hundreds – of news outlets in 2008 and 2009. Learn to use it to drive traffic to your Web site.

Knight Citizen News Network

is a self-help portal that guides both ordinary citizens and traditional journalists in launching and responsibly operating community news and information sites.

Make Internet TV – Make Internet TV is an easy to read multimedia manual for publishing internet video. It has step-by-step instructions for everything from choosing a camera to publishing and promoting videos on the internet.

Interviewing: A practical guide for citizen journalists – Interviews are integral to good journalism. They provide more than just additional voices; they provide facts, expertise, balance, depth and credibility. They also breathe life into information that might otherwise fall flat. Whether you already interview or are daunted by the prospect, learn what types of interviews you should go for and how they can improve your journalism. Figure out where to quote or paraphrase.

Tools for Citizen Journalists – This six-chapter training module will help site operators and citizen journalists cope with the challenges of covering communities on small budgets with little or no staff. Get tips on where to sniff out great ideas and turn them into a compelling story, how to use data to punch up your coverage, how to manage a site when you don't have a staff to help out, who to consider for partnerships that might help move your site along, and how to tap into the knowledge and passion of your readers.


is a training site for new video bloggers and a support site for those with questions.

Learn To Videoblog – We've broken things up into three courses: Telling Stories; Making Videos; and Publishing Videos On The Web. Just pick a course and select a tutorial. When you're watching a tutorial, the other tutorials in that course will be displayed on the right side of the page so you can easily go on to the next step without coming back here. Below each tutorial video you'll see a link to a forum topic where you can go to get your questions answered.

FLOSS Manuals

is a collection of manuals that explain how to install and use a range of free and open source software. The manuals are friendly and simple, and they are intended to encourage people to explore the wide range of free, open source alternatives to expensive and restrictively licensed software. At FLOSS Manuals you can find manuals for free and open source software like office applications, as well as web editing and browsing, and tools for playing, making, streaming and sharing audio and video.

Audacity – Audacity is the kind of software called an ‘audio editor’. That means that it can record and edit audio. Typically you might use Audacity for recording sounds, like interviews or instruments. You can then use Audacity to combine these sounds and edit them to make documentaries, music, podcasts etc.

WordPress – WordPress is a blogging tool. A blog (web-log) is an online journal, diary or commentary, presented as a website. Generally, one or more contributors (bloggers) add new content to the top of the website on a semi-regular basis.

Kino – Kino is a free, open source video editing program that lets you capture video through firewire then add titles, transitions and video effects to the footage. It operates on Linux and is not available for Windows or MacOSX.


That should keep all training projects busy for now. In the next month or so Sahar and Eduardo will be bringing you lots of tips and suggestions for how you to teach these tools in fun, interactive workshop settings.

Don't forget to check in on the Rising Voices site for the latest updates from projects, links to funding opportunities, and some great new videos.



[Newsletter] World Press Freedom Day, Human Rights & Tech

Dear All,

The majority of us on this mailing list are able to express our opinions and report our observations online without any fear of censorship, intimidation, or detention. That is not true everywhere, however. Today, on international World Press Freedom Day, let us remember that censorship is another force which prevents voices from making themselves heard.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has released a special report on the 10 Worst Countries to be a Blogger. Freedom House published “Freedom on the Net: A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media.” And World Association of Newspapers has launched WorldPressFreedomDay.org as a clearing house of related information.

It is important to remember that the fight against censorship doesn't just take place once a year on May 3. A community of anti-censorship activists at Global Voices Advocacy document the latest developments related to censorship, create guides to protect anonymity and enable circumvention, and advocate for free speech every day.

Live Streaming of Human Rights and Technology Conference

Online censorship frequently takes place when netizens attempt to discuss issues related to human rights. This is one of the reasons that human rights organizations in Europe and North America have historically spoken on behalf of communities affected by human rights abuses. The downside of this strategy, however, has been that communities around the world have been depicted in both traditional and new media by employees of human rights organizations rather than actual residents of the community.

New technologies are creating a new model of advocating for human rights. On Tuesday afternoon at the Soul of the New Machine conference I will present case studies of Ceasefire Liberia, Drop-In Center, HiperBarrio, and El Nula Por La Paz as examples of capacity-building programs that empower communities affected by human rights abuses to document their own stories rather than the old model of advocacy campaigns which speak on behalf of communities.

Other speakers will examine the roles of mapping, photography, data collection, animation, corporations, video, and social networks as they all relate to human rights documentation and advocacy. Remote viewing hubs have been set up in New York City, Bogotá, and Medellín. Rising Voices grantee Lova Rakotomalala will speak at the New York City gathering about Foko Madagascar, and its experience using technology to protect human rights in Madagascar.

Fora.tv will broadcast the entire conference live and for free on Monday and Tuesday.

Finally, speaking of Lova, he has started a campaign calling for the release of Razily who was detained in front of a large audience (and while videotaped) as he carried a Malagasy flag through the street. Learn more on the blogs of Lova and Ethan Zuckerman, and please consider signing a petition calling for Razily's release here.

Upcoming Workshops

Upcoming citizen journalism workshops will take place in Moscow on May 21 and 22 and in Bangalore on May 9.

All the best,