Media Development

Together LiberiaFree RodneyNew NarrativesEbola In Liberia and Accountability Lab Fellowships were five projects designed to advance the effectiveness and prosperity of the media landscape in Liberia. They are about social justice, giving a voice to people, and spreading knowledge to the Liberian people while enhancing the educational experience of Syracuse Students. These efforts helped facilitate dialogue in the public sphere and act as a catalyst for informed decisions and activism.

Together Liberia was a project designed to empower local communicators to share their own stories. Professors and students from five universities provided training, equipment donations and relationship-building. Syracuse University was the anchor institution, in partnership with Duke University, the University of North Carolina, the University of Oregon and the University of Massachusetts Boston.

With teams training Liberians in the arts of storytelling, photography, media ethics, multimedia and web design, participants were able to successfully publish stories in local and international media. In addition, trainers set up a knowledge base foundation from which future projects and stories could be told with greater ease and efficiency.

In an effort to help free jailed Liberian publisher and editor Rodney Sieh, we started an online media campaign to raise awareness and apply pressure to the Liberian government. Sieh was freed in December 2013.

New Narratives (NN) spreads innovations and ideas people can use to improve their lives without relying on aid. NN is a non-profit organization helping media deliver independent, truthful information to its people so they can make smart decisions about their countries’ politics and resources while keeping leaders accountable. In 2012, center director Ken Harper joined NN as the director of digital and visual media.

In an effort to shed light on the Ebola crisis in Liberia, center director Ken Harper, in partnership with assistant professor Steven King of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, mobilized a team of developers and designers that quickly created an interactive online data visualization website that shows the Ebola outbreak as it happens, offering government officials and the public immediate access to constantly evolving information. By using open-source technology, a group of passionate academic and professional volunteers were able to disseminate information which can prove to be life-saving.