Cue the spotlight on Women, Action & the Media – Nairobi: an event series happening next month in the downtown of Kenya’s capital city, where local journalists, foreign correspondents, students, advocates, and other brainy engaged people will talk it up about the intersection of gender and media. What are the barriers for the full participation of female journalists in East African media? How are stories of women and girls in Kenya told (or not told) in the international press?
We’ll hash it out on the differences in local and foreign coverage in East Africa, and on who is breaking new ground for the medium of news in Kenya. We’ll talk about byline gender gaps. There will be a drop-in workshop at a local cafe for advocates to learn how to tell their stories to journalists in order to get them heard in the media (hint: death to the standard press release). And many of the workshop participants will get the chance to give their best elevator pitch to a roomful of journalists.
In short: this is going to be awesome.
I’m having a great deal of fun in co-collaborating on this with Jina Moore (who—let’s push the pause button here—has an absolute must-read article in the new Columbia Journalism Review about "The Pornography Trap: How Not To Write About Rape”). She’s been doing print and radio reporting from Africa for years, and is now on a Fulbright fellowship in journalism over in Rwanda. I’m also grateful to the Goethe-Institut-Nairobi, which, besides being our generous hosts next month, is a regular hub for kickass cultural events. And also, of course, the core WAM team over in Boston—whose WAM-It-Yourself initiative was the cue for activating in Kenya—is a big support in making this happen. It is worth mentioning that it was at WAM’s 2006 conference where I attended the blog workshop that birthed this website; in about six weeks, that will have been five years ago.
Anyway: loving, diverse Isak community, here is what I want from you:
1. If you are anywhere near Nairobi next month, March 20-22, come join us!
2. Spread the word about WAM-Nairobi in anyway you can. Help us entice the most fascinating crowd we can get. Did I mention that all the events are free? (Aside from drinks at the local pub, of course.)
3. Tell us about all the amazing people you know in the area who we should be specially inviting to participate.
4. If you are so inspired to put a little punch behind your well wishes, we happily accept donations to WAM-Nairobi. We’ll use the money to support the transportation costs of the most extraordinary African journalists so that they can join, lead, teach, inspire the rest of us and each other. You can donate directly through this site via PayPal, specifying in the message box that you want your donation used to leverage a more participatory and truthful media culture of and about East Africa; or you can donate to the main WAM office, again specifying your intentions for the support, and have the funds routed to us. If you donate directly to WAM, your gift is tax-deductable. If you donate directly through Isak, we will have the ability to leverage your funds sooner.