The independent journalism that Round Earth Media delivers has never been so important. In its 2010 State of the News Media report, the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism notes that while mainstream media is struggling, specialized media is growing.
Plans are under way for reporting trips to Central America, East Africa, North Africa and Mexico.
Ambar Espinoza has written for us about her visits back to her birthplace in El Salvador. Now this gifted journalist, already familiar to listeners of National Public Radio and Minnesota Public Radio, travels to her homeland on assignment for Round Earth Media to cover a number of penetrating but little-known issues. Civil wars once blazed in this nexus of American cold-war foreign policy. The worlds’ attention has moved on to new conflict zones, while El Salvador struggles with massive insecurity, crime, gangs and human trafficking — many of these issues have connections to the U.S.
Ambar will be working in partnership with reporter Rodrigo Baires, of the famed El Salvadorian on-line newspaper, El Faro. Together, Ambar and Rodrigo will produce rich, balanced, knowledgeable reporting which reaches an audience in the U.S. and in El Salvador.
Ambar’s first report from El Salvador aired on hundreds of public radio stations nationwide. Its a powerful human story about the tragic impact from gang activity. Click here for the story.
Our October 2011 reporting trip to Kenya (where we collaborated with stellar local journalist Sarah Ooko), demonstrated how critically important it is to bring attention to East Africa’s potential for development and the best way to go about improving the lives of Africa’s poorest people. Look for our stories on National Public Radio and in The EastAfrican, an important weekly newspaper focusing on five countries in the region. We are planning to return to Africa later this year to bring to light more faces and facts.
In Spring 2012 we continue our commitment to mentor the next generation of international journalists with a stint in Rabat, Morocco, where we are collaborating with SIT/World Learning to launch a first-ever study-abroad program in global journalism. We produced our own work, too, in partnership with Aida Alami, a determined Moroccan freelance journalist based in Casablanca. Click here for the first of those reports about a rape case that sparked international protests.
Round Earth Media was launched in 2005 with a bounty of stories from Mexico.* Now, with a generous grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, we are going back. It only makes sense: We share a nearly 2,000-mile border, nearly one in 10 Americans is of Mexican descent, and a third of all U.S. immigrants are from Mexico.
Watch this short video about our Mexico Reporting Project.
A major theme of our series will be the other Mexico – the one that lives beyond the headlines about organized crime, drug-related violence and corruption. We hope to partner with a group we’ve long admired, the Mexican journalist collective CIMAC (Comunicación e Información de la Mujer), directed by Lucía Lagunes Huerta. Partnering with these brave journalists will only make our reporting stronger – and give us an opportunity to support CIMAC efforts as well.
* We reported from Chiapas on outsiders surfing medicinal plants for supposed cures; peasant concerns over road-building in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec; the ills of cheap U.S. corn imports in Oaxaca; a Durango forest cooperative selling sustainably grown wood to an international market; and environmental groups in the Yucatan fighting to save mangrove swamps from development aimed at U.S. tourists.