NABJ helping Haitian journalists hit by earthquake
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Posted by: kathy times
Dear NABJ Family,
I promised in my last column to get back to you
about NABJ's efforts to help journalists and advance journalism in Haiti
after the devastating earthquake. I am pleased to report that NABJ has
been very engaged in efforts to help our brothers and sisters in Haiti.
As you know, damage from the catastrophic
earthquake was unlike anything ever seen in the Western Hemisphere. In
less than one minute on January 12, much of the capital of
Port-au-Prince was destroyed. The government now estimates that some
300,000 people were killed and 1.3 million displaced.
The local journalism community was hit hard: latest
estimates are that 31 journalists were killed, and dozens more were
left homeless. Several broadcast stations were knocked off the air,
perhaps some for good, and the country’s two daily newspapers were
severely damaged and unable to publish.
I asked the co-chairs of the World Affairs Task Force -- Miami Herald
World Editor John Yearwood and Djibril Diallo, senior adviser to the
executive director of UNAIDS -- to assess the situation and report back
to me on how NABJ could help. I know they consulted with some of you
before preparing their report. I want to thank John and Djibril for
their hard work.
One of their first recommendations was that NABJ
become a founding member of the Haiti News Project, designed to provide
assistance to Haitian print journalists reeling from the devastation.
Another organization, Internews, is helping broadcast media. NABJ joined
several other groups in forming HNP, including American Society of News
Editors (ASNE), the Inter American Press Association (IAPA),
Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), Poder Magazine, the Poynter Institute and UNITY: Journalists of Color.
Project members, who hold regular telephone
conference calls with Haitian journalists, agreed to focus efforts on
providing for equipment and technology, professional training and tents
for those journalists still homeless. A major initiative is the one
computer, one journalist campaign. The goal is simple: provide a
computer to each of the 250 working journalists in areas affected by the
earthquake. Keep in mind that many journalists lost everything. We
believe it’s important to give them the tools to cover the biggest story
of their lives. Computers are critical to this mission.
HNP plans to help train Haitian journalists, and
discussions are being held about forming an independent investigative
news unit among the journalists. There is a lot happening, and I invite
you to get involved. You can help with training or make a financial
contribution toward purchasing a camera, digital tape recorder or a
laptop computer. Please give whatever you can.
You can find more information at http://haitinewsproject.wordpress.com
or become a fan on Facebook. The project’s coordinator is our colleague
Joe Oglesby, a former Miami Herald editorial page editor. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 305-608-2333.
In addition to our involvement in the news project,
NABJ will include programming about Haiti in our national convention in
San Diego this summer. We have invited Haiti’s President Rene Preval to
address us and are awaiting a response. NABJ has agreed to advocate on
behalf of journalists in Haiti to be included in funding programs from
international institutions as they discuss rebuilding efforts. NABJ also
is discussing the creation of a fellowship program to fund efforts for
members who would like to report on the earthquake’s aftermath.
Please do what you can to help. After listening to the pleas of Haitian journalists, I know they would appreciate it more than you will ever know. Thank you.
Kathy Y. Times