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Retro: Ethan Zuckerman -- the WorldChanging Interview
Alex Steffen, 24 Aug 05

This interview with Ethan Zuckerman has a special place in my heart for a few reasons. First, I think Ethan's understanding of what the "second superpower" means to the developing world is one of the sharpest around. Second, I think this interview did a good job of sharing that thinking with a broader group of readers. Third, it's how we met Ethan, who has since become a contributor, the president of the board of directors of our fledging non-profit organization, and, mostly importantly, a dear friend.

Alex Steffen: You noted recently on your blog that the blogosphere has more or less failed on Darfur, that despite serious efforts to organize more blog coverage of the genocide there, there's been little change in focus.

Ethan Zuckerman: Let me temper that slightly. There has been increased coverage of Darfur in the blogosphere, but that that increase has more or less paralleled an increase in coverage in the mainstream media. The people drawing the focus on this have been a handful of courageous people like Samantha Power and Nicholas Kristoff, and the people doing the reporting on this aren't bloggers, they're human rights organizations like Human Rights Watch. People like Jim Moore have done a great job of beating the drum, but Darfur isn't a story that came out of the blogosphere, and it's not a story that was particularly amplified by the blogosphere.

Which raises the question, "In a world full of serious problems, what is this medium that we've created actually good for?"

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Of cousre, it would help if there were such things as computers and internet access in Darfur. Blogging as a form of journalism is really about stepping outside your front door, seeing what's going on, and then sitting down at your computer and writing about it. Nobody in Darfur can do that.

Members of the blogosphere can and will express their outrage, just like anyone else - but there's nothing particularly world changing about that, at least not until the blogosphere gets a lot bigger and more influential.

Posted by: beev on 25 Aug 05

If you read back far enough on dafur you can find out exactly why the genocide is going on and why its not gona stop.

Its expected the farmers will be completely wiped out before too long. And no its very unlikely anyone will stop it mainly because contrary to views around here alot of people over there dont want it to stop.

Posted by: wintermane on 25 Aug 05

Read the article a little further: to the bit about the 2000 Ghana elections.

(Thanks for republishing this BTW.)

Posted by: Tony Fisk on 25 Aug 05



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