Alive in Baghdad, What’s Next? - 09.23.2009

Many of you likely first heard of Small World News through our work on Alive in Baghdad, a web series produced by local Iraqi journalists in the midst of the ongoing Iraq conflict. Given all of our recent activity outside Iraq, in Afghanistan, Iran, Honduras, etc. you may be wondering what’s up with the Iraq project.

As I wrote recently, one of our difficulties in the last months has been that our Bureau Chief Omar was in hiding in Syria, due to threats related to his work with Alive in Baghdad. He’s since been relocated to Sweden, leaving us without a full-time coordinator in the region. We are also in the process of rethinking how we move forward with Iraq coverage. As Iraq coverage continues to flag, despite the continuing presence of international forces and violence, it is a priority for us to return to regular coverage as well as analysis from Iraq.

Unfortunately with a flagging budget and recent staff losses, we have to figure out how to do Alive in Baghdad smarter, more effective and with more ease. All along our work on Alive in Baghdad has been very time-intensive. This is one of the difficulties inherent in producing documentary and news video. These difficulties are further exacerbated by the necessity of lengthy translations and coordinating staff across multiple countries and timezones.

We have been examining the integration of other social media and journalism tools within the Alive in Baghdad website. Specifically, with the coming Iraqi parliamentary election in January 2010 we hope to implement a process similar to our recent coverage of the Afghan election. We will crowdsource updates from Iraqis, and others present in Baghdad and around Iraq. We plan on integrating mobile submission as well as semi-realtime content.

We will temporarily shift gears, rather than focusing on a few highly produced videos each month, we hope to begin producing a variety of content, primarily short video clips, but possibly audio discussions, as well as photos, and written analysis, in particular examining events leading up to the elections.

We look forward to your comments and critiques, and welcome suggestions about how we can further involve the audience in our coverage of Iraq. We will also continue to need your support. Although we have a small amount of funds in our bank account, we will not be able to continue sustaining Alive in Baghdad, or build our other projects such as Alive in Afghanistan without your help. If you can support us with a one time donation, please do. If you are able to commit to a recurring amount, it would be a huge help to our work. We are currently investigating options for long-term and sustainable funding, but anything donated via PayPal from our audience will go directly to local producers and will not be subject to overhead costs to run support our American contributors.

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