6 Jan 2012

A good start to 2012

2011 ended with a disappointment - the loss of Mzee "Njoo Uone" Augstino Hongole, the chair of Kwanza Jamii Njombe's Editorial Board and inspiration to Daraja, was hard to take.

But he would have been delighted with how 2012 has begun, with our Kwanza Jamii newspapers getting wider exposure in the UK. The Journalism Foundation, a recently-established body headed by Simon Kelner, respected former editor of The Independent newspaper, has published an article by Daraja's Executive Director, Ben Taylor, "Local newspaper project putting the community first in rural Tanzania". This is one of a series of first-person accounts from people "on the journalistic front line," introduced here by Simon Kelner.

The full piece can be found here, but here's a brief excerpt:
When we started we had little idea of what kind of response we were going to get. There isn’t an established culture of local newspapers in Tanzania, which meant starting from scratch with everything from distribution networks and advertising systems to rural news gathering. 
And with a project that’s deliberately designed to challenge people in authority, how would those people react? Our attitude is that if we aren’t provoking a reaction, we probably aren’t achieving the kind of changes we’re hoping for. But at the same time, we have to maintain good relations with those in authority, who could otherwise make our work very difficult.
This kind of exposure can only be good for the papers, and it's very nice to get this kind of praise from such a respected source, though I wouldn't describe it as "one man's mission"!