Letter from the Executive Director

Welcome to IWPR’s new online environment.
 
Anthony Borden

Anthony Borden
IWPR Executive Director

It is a perilous moment for news – and for news gatherers. While international media see their business models collapse, the danger for journalists in the field has never been greater.
 
Yet we re-launch our website with radical hope.
 
Local media – journalism in developing and transitional countries – is now a growing force.  Local reporters are gaining in skills and confidence; media institutions in these regions are growing in professionalism and capacity; and international recognition, too, is increasing because of the importance of “local voices”.
 
IWPR is honoured to play a role in this major development in the information landscape. We are particularly proud over many years to have maintained an award-winning website with vital frontline reporting by local reporters from some of the most dangerous places around the world.

But we have been keenly aware of doing less well in presenting the extraordinary stories behind the stories. This is the essence of IWPR, it is what drives all of our commitment, and it is a story of tremendous hope.
 
For amid continuing challenges – and tragedies such as the massacre of 32 journalists this past November in the Philippines – brave and expert local journalists around the world are making extraordinary strides. They are emerging as true leaders and agents of change within their own communities – and media innovators in their own right.
 
IWPR exists to serve as a partner and a supporter for these local journalists. Our new website aims not only to provide a fresh and modernised multi-media platform for them, but also vastly improved behind-the-scenes capacity to present the individuals journalists themselves, their work, their efforts – and their often inspiring personal struggles.
 
We also highlight IWPR’s many programmes and projects designed to give these local journalists a voice and help them to drive change in their own societies. Setting up a news agency in Uganda; broadcasting a human rights TV magazine in Iraq; training up young reporters across Afghanistan; building links across conflict divides in the Caucasus – this, too, is inspiring .
 
Click Follow a Journalist to track one of our courageous participating journalists. Check out Build Journalism, Project Reviews and other features to see the work of IWPR teams in conflict areas around the world. Follow a case study under Make an Impact to see how local media makes a real difference on the ground.
 
Behind the scenes, the “back end” of the website will also empower our own work, streamlining mentoring and training, and the overall editorial flow.
 
This revamped platform is also intended to enable our readers and friends more easily to join us in this effort. We want to hear back from you, we want to engage you, and – yes – we want your support. The website provides a range of fresh tools to make this possible. We want to show you What We Do, but we also want to empower you with What You Can Do.
 
Re-launching a website is a monumental effort, and IWPR is indebted to many more people, foundations and donor agencies than I can list. But I must thank a special few: Jonathan Fanton and the MacArthur Foundation for generous financial (and moral) support; Edwin Schlossburg and ESI Design for fabulous design work and creative partnership; and the IWPR development and editorial/web teams, for months and months of tireless work.
 
Finally, please bear with us during our initial “soft launch” period, as we continue to fill the site with our archive, repair links and complete various sections. We will be grateful for your comments and feedback, and reports of any particular problems.
 
We hope you like the new site, and that you will join us in giving voice to local journalists and driving change around the world.

Anthony Borden
IWPR Executive Director