by Rachelle Cruz
A few months ago, I pitched a project to one of the directors at the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ). To say the least, it was a rather ambitious idea, but it had enough teeth to sink into their minds for consideration.
The organization’s mandate is to advance journalism worldwide –with their flagship programs sprinkled nicely across different countries, with the aim of training and collaborating with local journalists to foster knowledge-sharing- a somewhat cross-pollination of ‘seed ideas’, deepen coverage and to help local networks adopt to new media technologies. With their head office based in Washington D.C., nevertheless, I was prepared to take a trip and present my full-blown proposal. And here’s the ending to that story. An idea is an idea, but funding, or lack thereof, stalled the process. I might add too, that my “vision” did not quite fall within their mandate.
But here it is anyways. I know Devex has expanded their news coverage with more videos; and international news gets some air time in any given station (although my former professor at Ryerson, ex-executive producer for CBC’s The National conveyed that even international news make up only 10 percent of the entire menu), but does a channel or program solely dedicated to international development news exists? Does an international development news run by young journalists waiting to get their feet wet exists? Is Netflix offering a unique channel that airs stories from around the world covering gender and health issues, education, religion, economic development, governance, and environmental journalism from a development perspective? No. No. and haven’t heard of it. A mother elephant giving birth to a baby elephant in India is hardly news, and for some reason it still makes it on global news televisions- yeah it’s cute but it just doesn’t make the cut.
So with recent news of CIDA being scrapped, and foreign aid budgets slashed left, right and center, it’s far challenging now for organizations to funnel some of their limited budget on knowledge management strategies through various media platforms. (I can argue that if the slew of organizations can showcase their success stories, they can build a stronger justification for their funding). I say, the magic word is ‘Streamlining’. It’s time to establish a centralized independent international news network that provides coverage of international development news– all in one channel.
The seed needs planting somewhere. Manila? Washington? London?
p.s. I do have a sustainability plan for this project.