Center for Democracy and Development: Liberian Webzine Project


Michelle Betton
Carolina Hernandez
Therese Vana

Center for Democracy and Development

In October of 2008 a team of U.S. media specialists conducted a ten days series of workshops, seminars and site-visits in Liberia. One of the purposes of the visit was to expose Liberian media workers to the possibilities of using the internet as another outlet for their work. Given the large number of Liberians living abroad and the interest of the international community in events in Liberia it is felt that there are a sufficient number of potential readers to develop a current affairs type webzine specifically written by and for the global Liberian community.

Using simple tools this webzine is designed to both solicit articles as well as give assignments to a roster of known Liberian journalists. In addition the webzine features photographic essays and videos as well as video interviews and narrated slide-shows. Another reason for creating this webzine was to encourage journalists in Liberia to begin to explore these different forms of expression.

Two of the biggest criticisms of the media in Liberia are that they spend too much effort on political scandal and not enough on the lives of the people. In addition they don’t do enough investigative type stories.

The new webzine has sections (Politics, Economy, Culture, Education, Sports) that will extend the possibilities for Liberian journalism and it will encourage investigative journalism by providing stipends to journalists who solicit interesting story ideas.

It is anticipated that initially the webzine will be developed, hosted and edited in the United States by a start-up team of volunteers. The group was responsible for designing the site, soliciting the initial content and most importantly providing editing and feedback to authors and contributors.