Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hearing Trusted Voices

One of the innovations arriving with our redesigned national website is the introduction of more blogs from foreign correspondents, the feature we call Trusted Voices. Forgive me this "proud papa" urge to point them out to you and encourage you to pay attention, because I think they are remarkable.

I'd go so far as to suggest, even on the scant evidence to date, that the blog format may well emerge as one of the most potent forms of foreign correspondence. They give these reporters a voice and format where they can explain lives and situations that are distant beyond imagining for most of us. Whether it's Shashank Bengali describing a poor cabinet maker forced from his usual location, Tim Johnson standing in the shadow of the Great Wall or Dion Nissenbaum watching explosions from his window while pinned down in Gaza, the reports so far have been extraordinary.

We're looking for a way to make print summaries or teasers avialable to you for publication. I think readers who take the time to find and read these blogs will be thankful that you steered them there.

Here's something from Leila's Baghdad Observer blog earlier this week:

A gaping hole in the row of buildings caught my eye. A burned picture of the grandson of the prophet Mohammed hung over a pile of rubble, the homes around it destroyed.

This is the Shiite mosque that was bombed two weeks ago. I wrote about this in a story just a few days prior. I used the word "leveled" to describe it. I gave it one line.

People who died inside their homes were likely raised from their sleep by the pressure of the powerful blast that ripped through their buildings. Neighbors dug them out from beneath the rubble. I gave their misery one line in story.

So many peoples' lives get only a few words: 25 anonymous corpses on the side of the road, a bombing killed 10, mortar attacks killed two. No one ever knows about their families' grief, where they worked, not even their names.

Mahdi Army militiamen casually leaned against buildings studying faces, looking for strangers. A red Hyundai sped past us filled with men wielding AK 47s. The streets were largely empty save a few stragglers searching for taxis.

1 comment:

  1. Why not have a blog for every newspaper beat, a place where the little stories that don't fit the limits of newsprint can be nurtured?

    The wealth of information that is already at hand could be brought to the paper's web and turned into a valuable addition.