Most of you perhaps don’t know that I am writing my dissertation about Global Voices. But this is an incredible group of people who make sure that parts of the world that otherwise gets ignored in the mainstream media get their voices heard.
They are currently looking for donations that will help them sustain the incredible valuable and good work they do. I ended up donating $77 dollar – why $77? It’s my birth year. It’s a small sum with a symbolic value that I hope will encourage others to chip in as well.
Why should you donate?
Donating to Global Voices helps tell them that they are doing a good job. The value here is symbolic, rather than material. This is not unimportant – they would never have gotten so big if most of their work was not ‘free’, free as in volunteer labor. Getting appreciation for the volunteer work you do is incredibly important. Viviana Zelizer has called this the crowding-in effect of money on volunteer work.
Donating to Global Voices helps them stay a bit more independent from big donors. And allow them to write about topics they think are important, as opposed to topics that will attract the biggest crowd. The question of how media organizations get funded is not a trivial one. Global Voices get funded through a combination of support from foundations, corporations and individual donations. Political economy, particularly work by scholars like Robert McChesney and Oscar Gandy to name a few, has pointed out how money shapes what media writes about, and what not. In a perfect world, media organizations would all be funded by many individual donations, so that they can maintain independence and write about topics without constraint. In reality, media organizations will often not write about topics that might offend their owners or advertisers. Also, they will write especially about topics that will get the attention of a lot of audiences in order to attract more advertisers. These are topics people might want, but not necessarily what they need. Consider how much words are devoted to Britney Spears and the iPhone, which are great topics, but they tend to drown out other regions, areas and topics.
To sum up, giving a donation is a good idea because they are great people that do important work nobody else is doing – we want to make sure they can continue to do this work as well as let them know we appreciate the work they do. Please consider making a donation.
Besides donating, there is another way to help and show your appreciation: by spreading the word. They have made some cool – and cute – badges you can use to put on your blog.
cross-posted from global voices, one world