It is always refreshing to read “news” from a different perspective and not just the traditional reliance on “traditional” news gatherers and writers informing us about what is making the world turn or burn.
In the age of information clutter with the rapid rise of the so-called information society where anyone with a mobile phone can access hundreds and hundreds of news websites, getting stories from a “street” perspective can not only be attractive for readers seeking a shift from our prosaic and predictable political stories, but could well give fresh insights for citizen journalism theorists.
This is what kalabashmedia.com sets out to do.
In their blurb, Kalabash Media, which launches today 13 May at 1500hrs, says its work is a collaborative effort of “social media enthusiasts” who “write the news from their different perspectives,” and as we already know about Zimbabwean journalism, the polarisation that emerged in the past decade has only seen citizens frown at some news outlets.
And journalists themselves from different stables have fashioned themselves as not kindred spirits but rather virtual adversaries.
Virtual adversaries indeed, what with the polarisation being taken to cyberspace bulletin boards!
So, an initiative like kalabashmedia.com could be refreshing despite what some critics would readily say putting journalism practice in the hands of untrained practitioners and only spells disaster.
But as the blurb has it, theirs is “a group of urbanite contributors with a knack for telling their stories and reporting on events with a fresh twist. From the Streets to the Web.”
It reminds of the Rising Voices project run by Global Voices online where communities pushed to the periphery of dominant news agendas are given a chance to tell their own stories.
kalabashmedia.com could just be another cousin of the weblog where folks post their musings about virtually anything, yet the very idea that they are fashioning it as a news site only ups their relevance especially at a time when dozens of news websites on Zimbabwe can be found with some purported to be hosted by professional journalists rather reading like products of chaps who took in generous amounts of calabashes!
kalabashmedia.com promises that “You will think, you will laugh…and if not….Frowning faces make for good headlines!” and in a country where there is a lot of anger issues, kalabashmedia.com seeks to make light of these circumstances albeit in a rather “newsy” sort of way.
It could well be something that will provide space for locally relevant crowd sourced content, moreso as the country heads for another “watershed” election. We will sure need the “people’s voice.” (Pun intended!)