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Rohit and Dina on The World
Jamais Cascio, 29 Dec 04

rohit.jpgWorldChangers Rohit Gupta and Dina Mehta were featured in a radio segment on today's edition of The World, a co-production of Public Radio International and the BBC. They're talking about the role blogs have played in distributing information about the South Asia tsunami. You can listen to the segment online, from The World's website (Windows Media). It's great to hear their voices.

I am convinced that the tsunami has been the transformative event for blogs, and I am proud that worldchanging contributors have played such a key role in making blogs a medium with real weight and value. Rohit and Dina's work at The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami website, along with the work of their colleagues, has been remarkable and inspiring. Thank you, Dina. Thank you, Rohit. You've done us all proud.

(Thank you, Ramdhan Kotamaraja, for bringing the radio segment to our attention!)

Update: The radio segment is also a text piece at the BBC News website. For those of you who couldn't or didn't want to listen on Windows Media format, now's your chance to read what Rohit and Dina (and others) had to say. You don't get to hear their voices, but it is more readily quoted for posterity.

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I've said it before, I'll say it again: You guys rock!

Posted by: Alex Steffen on 29 Dec 04

You guys are doing terrific reporting here at WorldChanging-- truly setting an example for all independent online media to follow. But I would be wary of "blog triumphalism" just yet. I find the Tsunami Help blog a bit ill-designed. It's 500KB to download; how useful is this in the field? I don't think we should discount the work of professional aid organizations who have long been using information technology.

I wrote a little more on this topic at:
Online Political Writers: reactions to the Tsunami

Posted by: Jon Garfunkel on 29 Dec 04

Jon ... just the reason why we are now migrating lots of the resources we have collected onto a wiki, with a faceted classification system with a clear TOC that will allow quick and easy search and access. Work is underway but its already up and running. There's a link at the blog on the right panel to the wiki for now.

Posted by: dina mehta on 29 Dec 04

Jamais, Alex thanks for the thumbs up and support ... we're all a little overwhelmed with the way its evolved. Peter Griffin got the ball rolling - he is truly worldchanging ! We cannot begin to tell you how amazingly this group has self-organised, come together and collaborate on this project. With loads of support from you folk and so many others. We do believe what we are building is a blog-wiki or "call-it-what-you-may" model for the future where social technologies can and are going to change the way we work and organise for the future ... lots of learnings from this project .... will share that story soon. Right now the focus is on building it - to give people a resource that they can go to for/to help, in the relief process.

Posted by: dina and rohit on 30 Dec 04

Hi Jamis,

Its a pleasure and duty to let you know about the coverage. Its is an honor for me to be associated with my fav. personalities on BBC world, where my efforts to raise funds using blog are also covered in the same segment.

Posted by: Ramdhan Yadav Kotamaraja on 30 Dec 04

Jon, I wouldn't quite characterize my reaction as "blog triumphalism" -- if anything, I think the hands-down best work came at Wikipedia, so I'm more inclined to "wiki triumphalism" -- so much as "blog reconsideration." I think the US presidential election was, on balance, a bad thing for blogging -- lots of people started doing it, yes, but the quality was in general quite low, and most political blogs were little more than misbegotten combinations of partisan chest-pounding, consipiracy theories, and talk radio-esque rants. And, worst of all, they actually accomplished little in terms of changing the course of the election or the tenor of the debate, in my view.

The blogosphere's reaction to the tsunami, conversely, was much more in harmony with the strengths of collaborative networked media -- fast changes, multiple links, and the ability to make peripheral voices heard more readily. It's not so much that blogs did it better than other media, but that they did it better than anyone who watched the electionblog frenzy in October and November would have expected.

Posted by: Jamais Cascio on 30 Dec 04

I don't think we should discount the work of professional aid organizations who have long been using information technology.

Actually some of what tsunamihelp and other blogs have done is point to, and coordinate information about, professional aid organizations.

(Thanks for the positive notes about WC, btw.)

Posted by: Jon Lebkowsky on 30 Dec 04

Thanks for the work on the wiki, and on the outside links. I stick by my word of caution, simply because the blog angle was the first thing that "The World" covered, and was also first in the New York Times. Though note that I first recognized the criticality of this when Jon Lebkowsky sent a note to activist-tech saying that "a blog has been set up..."


Posted by: Jon Garfunkel on 2 Jan 05



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