I’m taking a break this week and turning the newsletter over to one of Round Earth’s most brilliant young journalists. Aida Alami returned recently from a Round Earth reporting project in Haiti (photo is of Aida at the rear of the motorbike with her Hait
ian and Dominican colleagues). Here’s Aida writing from her home in Morocco:
After spending a few years in New York City where I studied journalism, I moved back to Morocco in late 2009, only a few months before major political changes known today as the Arab Spring. My journalism career was starting to take off, I had covered the events extensively from Morocco to Jordan. At the time, it was fairly easy to get a lot of work as a freelancer as the world was paying attention to this part of the world. I had even turned down a few full time journalism jobs simply because, as a feature writer who likes to spend time on each of my subjects, I didn’t feel that I was the right fit for a job that required covering daily breaking news.
I first met Mary Stucky in late 2011. She had the innovative idea to create a journalism program in Rabat, Morocco that would train students and give them the opportunity to get their works published with our help. That was my first collaboration with Round Earth Media. A few years later, I am still collaborating with Round Earth on other projects including the incredibly important “Haiti Uncovered
,” during which a group of reporters, including myself, looked in depth at the situation in Haiti. It’s a multi-faceted country with an incredibly interesting history and culture. But the media only seems interested in Haiti when the news is grim.
My most recent story was about anti-Haitianism in the Dominican Republic, published a few days ago
by the New York Review of Books.
Click on the photo here for the story.
I am grateful for the opportunity to dive into the complexities of such an important and complex topic. As a freelancer, there are so many stories I want to tell and report but very often, I don’t have the financial support to pursue them and, consequently, I am often limited to the stories that I can report not too far from my geographical base.
The sort of support system that Round Earth offers is unique. Many of my freelancing colleagues – while extremely talented – have changed careers simply because it was unsustainable financially. I feel very lucky that Round Earth Media helps talented journalists at a time when foreign desks can’t cover a great deal of stories anymore.
This is also a time during which the U.S. president has multiplied his attacks on the press making it increasingly hard for us collectively to work.
As David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker
wrote, President Trump “knows well that the American press is hardly popular and, in many ways, is on the defensive. He knows that many news outlets are, in his pitiless term, “failing,” or at least struggling for survival in the wake of vast changes in technology and in the advertising market. He knows that the ecosystem of information and its distribution has changed radically, and he has figured out how to exploit that change. “
The urgency to stand and support a free press is more important than ever.
Follow Aida on Twitter @AidaAlami