Journalism organizations form Haiti News Project
ASNE is a founding member of the project, which aims to help Haitian print journalists restore basic communications in their country by providing equipment and technology, training, and tents for journalists who remain homeless since the devastating earthquake of Jan. 12.
A group of journalism organizations today announced formation of the Haiti News Project, an effort designed to provide assistance to Haitian print journalists who are still reeling from the devastating earthquake of Jan. 12, 2010.
Members of the Haiti News Project said they will focus on helping Haitian newspaper journalists because that is where their collective expertise is centered. The Inter News Network, an international media-development organization, already is leading an effort to assist the Haitian radio industry, which is the primary source of news for most Haitians.
A preliminary report by Miami Herald reporters Trenton Daniel and Martin Merzer found that Haiti's two main newspapers, Le Nouvelliste and Le Matin — both published in French and read by roughly 10 percent of the population — served an outsized function in pre-quake Haitian public affairs. The papers served as seminal sources of news that typically is rebroadcast on radio.
Both newspapers sustained significant staff losses, mostly through attrition rather than death and injury.
Many of the papers' staffers have either left the country or the Port-au-Prince area in response to the deaths of relatives and/or the loss of their homes.
The organizations involved in the project are the American Society of News Editors, the Inter American Press Association, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the National Association of Black Journalists, Poder Magazine, the Poynter Institute and UNITY: Journalists of Color. “There's nothing proprietary about this,” said Miami Herald Executive Editor Anders Gyllenhaal, one of the leaders of the effort. “The goal is to help Haitian print journalists, and we hope that other organizations will join us,” Gyllenhall said.
With seed money raised through contributions from ASNE, IAPA and The Miami Herald, the project hired Joe Oglesby to coordinate its efforts. Oglesby is former editorial page editor of the Herald. He was part of a Herald team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1983 for its editorial campaign against the interdiction of Haitian refugees on the high seas.
“Restoring basic communications in Haiti can foster a sense of normalcy amid the chaos,” Oglesby said.
Oglesby organized a conference call this past weekend at the midyear IAPA meeting in Aruba. During the call, project members heard from several Haitian journalists, including Le Nouvelliste Publisher Max Chauvet, SOS Journaliste president and Reuters reporter Joseph Guyler Delva, and Association of Haitian Journalists president Jacques de Rosier.
Project members agreed to focus efforts on providing for equipment and technology, professional training and tents for journalists who are still homeless six weeks after the earthquake.
The project has set up a blog at http://haitinewsproject.wordpress.com/. Anyone who wants to contribute to the effort, or organizations that want to join the project should contact Joe Oglesby at 305-608-2333 or firstname.lastname@example.org.