Finding a local perspective on Egypt

Believe it or not, it is already time for students to think about the end of the semester. For my final project for “Reinventing the News,” I will profile Jillian York, a Boston-based writer, blogger and activist who follows the Middle East.

More specifically, York contributes to Global Voices Online and is a project coordinator at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. She also founded Talk Morocco, a forum intended to encourage intelligent, open and honest debate on issues relating to Morocco and the Diaspora. York’s work focuses on a range of issues, including race and identity, the future of journalism, social media and freedom of expression, with special emphasis on the Arab world.

At Global Voices Online, York is an author on the Middle East/North Africa team. She also works for Global Voices Advocacy, which seeks to build a global anti-censorship network of bloggers and online activists throughout the developing world that is dedicated to protecting freedom of expression and free access to information online.

I will incorporate interviews in both the 800- to 1,000-word feature story and video component of the project. I plan to interview York, local people and co-workers familiar with her blogging and perhaps a few of her followers either from Global Voices Online or Twitter. In addition, interviewing someone who opposes her opinions would add balance to the final product. More specifically, I hope to interview two locals I found on Twitter last week (who are also York’s Twitter followers!): Nasser Weddady, who focuses his work on civil rights in the Middle East and North Africa, and Habib Haddad, a Middle Eastern entrepreneur and activist (Evidence of a social media perspective in reporting).

If York gives a speech at a local university in the next few weeks, I might attend and take photographs of the event to make a slideshow on flickr.

I need to decide which aspect of my project can be plotted on a Google map. But I am hopeful that, after I meet with York in a week and a half, I might have a better idea. Maybe I can plot where she has given speeches in Boston, or the domestic and global locations she has visited.

It will be important to discover the ways this Boston-based writer got involved with her current work, and about her beliefs for the future of the Middle East, specifically Egypt.

Egyptians are more than the pyramids and the Nile River.

I am excited for the project because, with the help of Professor Kennedy, I chose a local subject who is familiar with the Middle East. Hopefully I can shed light on Egypt with multimedia components that reveal how the country is more than the pyramids and the Nile River. Egyptians are people who stood up for their rights and demanded to be respected, marching with dignity and love.

Inserted photo from Wikimedia Commons.

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