Both images via Messy Nessy Chic
“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating.” – Kofi Annan
In our class we have this Kofi Annan quote on our Information Hub wall and it is surrounded by all sorts of ideas, statements, beliefs and feelings that we have about various things we read, watch or talk about in the news. When I read about The Daily Talk, that quote and the empowerment knowledge gives us is the first thing I thought of.
Alfred J. Sirleaf is a Liberian journalist who believes it is important for people to be informed and that knowledge shouldn’t only be held by a wealthy few newspaper owners. So, knowing how low the literacy rate in his country was as well as how little money people had to buy newspapers or access the internet, he decided to start The Daily Talk, a blackboard newspaper in Monrovia, Liberia. It is situated in a public place for anyone to read who wants to.
Alfred doesn’t own a computer, so every day he goes to the internet cafe and researches the latest news stories then handwrites the headlines and stories on The Daily Talk. Can you imagine handwriting out the news, everyday! Also, to help people who have trouble reading he uses pictures and symbols (a blue helmet for UN peacekeepers) to help people make sense of what he has written.
He believes that it is important for the news to be reported honestly and without the bias that you will often find in larger media outlets, but because of that and his criticisms of the former president The Daily Talk was once destroyed by government soldiers and Alfred was jailed then exiled. This hasn’t stopped him though, he rebuilt it and is back to reporting the news. As his space is limited, he has to make decisions about what to report, how much to include, which stories are the most important for the people and who’s voices need to be heard. Watch below to Alfred talking about his work with The Daily Talk.
Watching and reading about this made me realise how incredibly lucky we are to have access to a wide range of information via the internet, and also that we have our own voice on the internet through our blogs. What lessons do you think you could take away about writing, blogging and sharing knowledge from this story?