Global Voices: The world is talking, are you listening?

Moments before Professor Kennedy told the class this morning about today’s guest lecturer, worrisome thoughts crossed my mind about the final project. Tomorrow I will meet with Jillian York, the main person I will focus on for the assignment. But the other two sources I was hoping to interview haven’t responded to me yet.

Firuzeh Shokooh Valle

Today, Firuzeh Shokooh Valle, an editor for Global Voices (Tagline: “The world is talking, are you listening?”) and one of Professor Kennedy’s former students, spoke to our class about her work for the citizen media platform. She is a journalist who specializes in the coverage of human rights issues, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, poverty, racism and immigration. She is also a Northeastern University graduate student focusing her research on gender, digital technologies, media and social movements.

Shokooh Valle began her journalism career as a newspaper reporter in Puerto Rico. Two years ago, she discovered Global Voices, and realized the website didn’t have a page dedicated to Puerto Rico. Then, York introduced her to the Caribbean editor of Global Voices, and her career as a social media editor, or “curator,” began.

The goal of Global Voices is for everyone to understand world events – from happenings in Turkey and Tunisia, for instance – and to gain knowledge and information that people wouldn’t otherwise find in the mainstream media.

“I discovered this whole world of people who had these wonderful blogs, and I didn’t even know they existed,” she told the class. “The idea is for people to aggregate and cover stories in the blogosphere. We cover the virtual conversation of what people on Twitter, Facebook and people in cyberspace are saying [for a] specific event.”

Global Voices keeps track of the topics and discussions of citizen journalists around the world.

Since there is a plethora of information available on the Internet, it is vital for the world to have more journalistic material from people with “clear notions,” she said.

Global Voices has played a major role in delivering information from the uprisings in Middle Eastern countries. Since January, traffic on the website has “exploded,” Shokooh Valle said.

“Usually most traffic is attracted by breaking news,” she said. “But there are [also] special coverage pages on the Global Voices’ site.”

Shokooh Valle said the most challenging part about her job is staying informed while making judgments about the events happening in distant places.

“There are things on Global Voices that no one else is covering here,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot from different parts of the world through Global Voices.”

Clearly, Shokooh Valle is becoming an expert on social media and Global Voices. I hope to interview her next week for my final project!

Second inserted photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Here are two news articles about Global Voices:

When unrest stirs, bloggers are already in place

Volunteer site with Harvard roots spreads citizen journalism’s voice

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