On flying bloggers out to the field

In reaction to Tom’s piece on the subject, I wonder why that is even the question? Why not ask: “how can we encourage local bloggers to write on socially relevant issues?” More so, if the objective is greater PR. Tom is rightly cautious as he concludes –

Nobody seems to have figured out how to effectively utilize bloggers as partners. A few are getting close. Davies is right to be concerned with what impact these opportunities have on the organizations and the greater conversation. Without much planning, these trips can end up using up resources unnecessarily. I think that an effective partnership can be forged between NGOs and bloggers, but it must be done carefully. Money and time spent on visitors should ultimately be done if they can impact the most important people in all of this; the recipients of the interventions and aid seen by bloggers.
Local bloggers are more likely to have had a first-hand experience of poverty; or at least, the cost in exposing/initiating them could be quite low. And assuming they come from a relatively better-off socio-economic background, the contrast in their experience growing up in the same country/state/region is likely to be fascinating. Needless to say, we might expect them to know the larger political and social context much better.

Source local bloggers (or even better, create new ones by encouraging students etc to write) and give them an uncensored platform – on organisation’s websites or newspapers – to reflect on their experiences, to blog, or to write op-eds and debate actively – and help them present their thoughts by giving inputs into language, style and grammar. This will call for greater engagement and creative thinking – but will be worth it, no doubt, even if its just a PR exercise. Even good work needs good publicity.

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3 Replies to “On flying bloggers out to the field”

  1. I would love to see more of this, however I think it misses one important point; surely the NGO's are willing to invest their time in foreign bloggers because their donor base feels they can 'connect' with say the average 'mom' blogger, their background and their perspectives, in a way that they might not be able to do so, so quickly with a local blogger

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  2. Hi Helen,

    Thanks for your comment. No doubt what you mention is true – and I see this as a two-way process where we educate the donor base to appreciate the realities of the field, as experienced by a local; and we facilitate local bloggers' effort to communicate in a style that's easy to understand universally. The mom bloggers in the donor base will hopefully be able to see the genuine-ness of the NGO's efforts in building capacity and communication in their areas of work

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