So our little pet project, 7iber, is about to be launched and the first drop of ink has found its way online. You can read more about what 7iber is and what it hopes to accomplish in this post, but I thought I’d take a moment to discuss it on my own blog, from my own perspective.
So back in January Lina had contacted me about this little idea she had with a friend of hers, Ramsey. She emailed me a one page document with an outline of the idea. Though life somehow kept me distracted and I forgot to get back to her about it until one day, nearly a month later, when I suddenly remembered at 4am.
I met up with Lina and Ramsey at Wild Jordan and we started talking and that was that. I think all it took was that one conversation and a thousand ideas came tumbling out. Many of those ideas are on the back burner until 7iber comes into full blossom, but those are the ones that will come to define 7iber in the long run. I’m sure of it.
7iber is all about an attempt. People might criticize it, might put it down, others might see the potential we see, but at the end of the day it’s an attempt. And I remind myself of that everyday when I wake up in the morning with a new idea of something we could do with 7iber.
It’s an attempt to use the Internet and specifically the power of blogging, to create a sense of citizen journalism in Jordan.
Let’s say you go to an event in Jordan and you really enjoyed it. Write a review about it and we’ll publish it.
Let’s say you stood hours in a line trying to renew your passport. Write about it. Vent out your frustrations, give us your views and we’ll post it.
Let’s say you have an idea on how to better your environment or community. Write about it.
Write about it.
This isn’t even 1% of the full potential of what 7iber could be used for.
Forget about the mainstream media. Forget about governments and bureaucracy. Just write about it.
It’s an attempt to bring all these various voices together into one collective crucible. From the taxi driver to the politician to the artist to the journalist to the street vendor. We’re going to start at the center and branch out as far as we can to capture all those voices. We’re going to articulate those voices, those opinions and views, as best as we can. With a journalistic feel to it.
It’s an attempt.
The potential is really limitless. Believe me. If you sit with Lina, Ramsey and Roba you’ll hear enough ideas to put a huge smile on your face. Something that says, hey, maybe there’s hope for our generation after all; and that’s coming from the cynic in me.
We’re hoping to launch on Jordan’s Independence Day, May 25th. But starting today, a week ahead of the date, I’ll be at the Dead Sea for the World Economic Forum and I’ll be doing some live blogging via 7iber and the Black Iris. So before newspapers editorialize the event to bits and pieces you’ll get to read a citizen’s reaction to the event, blow by blow.
It’s an attempt.
I just wanted to clarify a few things about the project that I think some may have gotten a wrong idea about.
The attempt to establish citizen journalism is exactly that; an attempt. Moreover the second key word here is journalism. We want to establish a sense of integrity and trust for the international community and international media. In other words it’s not necessarily about what you say but how you say it. In other words our focus is more on the latter. So there are obvious “restrictions”, but that’s quite a harsh word. The editorial staff for example, plays the primary role of “cleaning up” the language of what’s written to make it more readable to the masses. The goal, again, is not to censor; on the contrary, the goal is to attempt to break those shackles of corporate media and state-owned media that dominates our country and indeed our region.
So I wanted to highlight the difference between “censorship” and “editing”; it’s the latter that we are involved with and for anyone who’s ever had anything published, they’ve no doubt experienced editing. Moreover, as far as the editing goes, we hope to edit as little as possible. The better the writer, the more articulate the speech, the less work the WE have to do!
This is NOT about four people representing a “blogosphere”. Our “team”, as best as it can be called, is there to serve various roles. Be it editorial or design or what have you. We are there mainly to guide the project and get it rolling as much as possible. Our objective is to have it take a life of its own; where its founders can take their hands off the wheel and let it do its thing. That’s the main goal.
English is being used in order to reach out to a broader audience. The voices of Jordan are in Arabic and their own media is sidelining them. The foreign media and the international arena either cannot hear them or doesn’t understand them. We’re trying to change that. A long term goal is to make it bilingual but in all honesty, after much discussion, we concluded that English is the hard part, so we want to do that first before moving into Arabic.
Everything that you currently see or read on 7iber in terms of guidelines and design or what have you; all of that is in the process of being molded. THIS is what citizen journalism is about; the ability to be shaped as it evolves. The idea is not to remain rigid and static but to constantly and consistently and effectively change. Without that change our project will undoubtedly fail. Our hope, if I can speak for the team, is to shape it through a process through which the readers and the participants take an active part in.
Hope that cleared things up.
Thanks for reading!