Archive for 'Media'

Twitter in India: Are You Following the God of Cricket?

Posted on May 12, 2010, by Hanna Ingber, under Culture, India, International, Media.

MUMBAI, India — A cricket star took India by storm last week when he joined Twitter and began racking up followers at the rate of almost 4,500 an hour. Within the first 24 hours, Sachin Tendulkar’s following reached almost 80,000, sparking a media frenzy and countless tweets about the so-called god of cricket joining the social networking site.

Local Indian publications pounced on the story, and the following day, the Mumbai Mirror splashed across its front page: “Sachin Breaks Record With Tweet Nothings.”

Everything from which personal photographs he uploaded to how his follower statistics compared to other Indian celebrities (he outdid Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan’s day one) became fodder for an article.

The reaction stems from India’s obsession with cricket, Tendulkar and, increasingly, social media. “India’s love for cricket verges on the pathological,” Jason Overdorf wrote in GlobalPost in March.

Continue reading at GlobalPost.

Follow Hanna on Twitter.

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India: Community Journalism in the Slums

Posted on April 27, 2010, by Hanna Ingber, under India, International, Media, women.

MUMBAI, India — Zulekha Sayyed sits with the men. They talk about the garbage dump directly behind their community and how the children have been playing in it and getting sick. As the wife of one of the men serves the group tea, the men say the dump’s stench gets worse when night falls.

The wife returns to the kitchen. The mother-in-law sits on the floor and serves her grandchildren breakfast. She tears off a piece of roti, kneads it in a metal bowl of milk and sugar and then places the bite in the toddler’s mouth.

Zulekha, 21, keeps talking. She looks directly into the eyes of the men, three construction supervisors who all live in a poor area of Ghatkopar, a suburb of Mumbai. She asks them questions. She laughs with them. She tells them what she thinks they should do to force the local government to respond to their complaints.

In a world where women usually observe quietly, Zulekha — a community journalist who reports on the very slum she lives in — stands out for her bold willingness to work for change.

Continue reading at GlobalPost.

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Twitter Suicide

Posted on April 6, 2010, by Hanna Ingber, under International, Media.

MUMBAI, India — My mother took it the hardest. “There must be a number you can call,” she said, practically pleading with me over the phone. “They are a company – they must have customer service.”

“I tried, Mom,” I said. “They won’t fix it. We have to move on.”

Hours earlier, while my mother was sleeping, content in thinking her daughter had hundreds of followers, I hit one seemingly innocuous but very bad button. In a second, I went from having a community of friends, readers, supporters, sources and confidants – to having no one.

I had accidentally deleted my Twitter account.

Continue reading at True/Slant or at the Huffington Post.

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Facebook in India: Who Doesn’t Want to Know Everyone’s Business?

Posted on March 18, 2010, by Hanna Ingber, under Culture, India, International, Media.

It takes a little getting used to living in a place where everyone thinks they have a right to know all of your business. About a month after I arrived in Mumbai, I was at a dinner party, and my friend mentioned to the crowd that I had gained weight since I got to India. Everyone directed their eyes at me, looked me up and down and then decided this was a grand conversation topic, worthy of further exploration. They took turns asking me about my diet, my exercise regimen, and of course, how much I weighed. In pounds and kilos. Before-India (BI) and After-India (AI). By the end, the host was directing his housekeeper to fetch the scale, so we could all see exactly how much the newly arrived American had gained after a month of eating Indian curries.

Tunku Varadarajan has a great piece in the Daily Beast arguing that Facebook is becoming so popular in India because Indians are so damn nosy. Facebook, which just announced it will open its first Asia office in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, has seen its users in India grow from 1.6 million in early 2008 to over 8 million. Varadarajan quotes Columbia University digital media professor Sree Sreenivasan who says social media was made for Indians.

Continue reading my blog on True/Slant.

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Facebook, Orkut and the Caste System

Posted on January 26, 2010, by Hanna Ingber, under India, International, Media.

India’s ancient custom of caste has made its way into the modern world of social media. Here is my GlobalPost article on how caste plays out on Orkut and Facebook.

MUMBAI, India — A man who goes by “hemant” types out a question: “Are you embarrassed that you are from the scheduled castes or scheduled tribes?”

One by one, members of the online community of SC and ST, which compose the lowest castes and groups in India, begin responding:

“Rajni”: “No my dear i never felt ashamed due to my caste.”

“Mr”: “When I was an innocent school-going boy, I feel embarrassed to reveal my caste due to discrimination and my helplessness, later during my college days I started coming out of the closet and was very aggressive to those who criticize me.”

An apparent outsider, “Arun,” responds: “You people cannot compete on your own. You people do not have strength of character, therefore you people are ready to bow your head down and beg. Beggars cannot be choosers. You are low caste because you people compromise on your self respect.”

Continue reading here.

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Fixer: Interview with Christian Parenti

Posted on August 22, 2009, by Hanna Ingber, under International, Media, Politics.

“Fixer: The Taking Of Ajmal Naqshbandi” is an incredibly powerful documentary that tells the story of the Afghan war through the relationship formed between an American journalist, Christian Parenti, and his Afghan fixer, Ajmal. Here is my Q&A with Christian. He talks about war reporting, Taliban “citizen journalism” propaganda, the Afghan election and why he thinks Obama’s Afghan policy is doomed to fail.

American journalist Christian Parenti and his Afghan interpreter travel to southern Afghanistan to conduct an important yet very dangerous interview with members of the Taliban. The moment comes when the men fear the interview may turn ugly, and they quickly grab their belongings, jump into their taxi and race off. In the car, Parenti asks his fixer, Ajmal Naqshbandi, if he will tell his fiance about the interview. Hell, no. The men laugh. Telling the fiance would be more dangerous than meeting with the Taliban.

In another scene, the documentary flashes forward six months, and the same fixer, Naqshbandi, stares into the camera but this time without the look of the jovial young man who was laughing in taxis and eating dinner with friends. Naqshbandi has been kidnapped, and his lighthearted expression has been replaced with one of fear. Sweat drips down his cheeks as he tries to reassure his family that everything will fine.

By juxtaposing scenes of laughter and friendship with video images of kidnappings and beheadings, HBO’s “Fixer: The Taking Of Ajmal Naqshbandi,” directed by Ian Olds, uses the relationship formed between an American journalist and his interpreter to tell the story of the war in Afghanistan.

The HuffPost sat down with Parenti to talk to him about the film, modern war reporting and why he thinks Obama’s current Afghan policy is bound to fail.

Continue reading here.

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International Reporting Award

Posted on June 4, 2009, by Hanna Ingber, under International, Media.

I won InterAction’s 2009 Award for Excellence in International Reporting in recognition of HuffPost World’s fabulous international coverage. Thank you and congrats to all the HuffPost World bloggers, reporters and photographers! Great work!!

Here is what the award letter says:

You have been selected to receive the award in recognition of your organization’s outstanding coverage of international news. Our members see The Huffington Post’s World News section as a true leader among the ever-growing list of online news outlets that cover international development and humanitarian action news.
As you probably know, InterAction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working to overcome poverty, exclusion and suffering by advancing social justice and basic dignity for all. Last year’s Forum attracted leaders from member organizations, NGOs in the developing world, representatives from USAID, the U.S. Department of State, the United Nations, World Bank and other international institutions.
Previous awardees include Femi Oke of WNYC Radio (formerly of CNN International), John Donnelly of The Boston Globe, and noted “solo journalist” Kevin Sites.

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Egan Award For Journalistic Excellence Coming Up

Posted on March 1, 2009, by Hanna Ingber, under International, Media.

I have been asked to be a judge for the 2009 Eileen Egan Award for Journalistic Excellence. The award is sponsored by Catholic Relief Services, one of the largest humanitarian organizations in the world. From their website:

The Egan Award for Journalistic Excellence recognizes journalists who demonstrate excellence in reporting on humanitarian and social justice issues. The award was named after Eileen Egan, who devoted four decades of her life to assisting refugees and helping the poor.

If you write about humanitarian issues, take a moment to look at their submission guidelines. You could win a free trip overseas. Deadline is April 15th.

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HuffPost World Launched!

Posted on December 4, 2008, by Hanna Ingber, under International, Media.


We launched!! The Huffington Post has a new section dedicated to world news and opinion. We had our official launch today — check it out: www.huffingtonpost.com/world

Today we had opeds from Queen Noor of Jordan, Sen. John Kerry, Francisco Toro on Chavez, Virginia Moncrief on the Mumbai attacks, Andi Friedman on women’s equality in Rwanda, and many other fabulous writers based all over the world.

Plus, I did an interview with Christiane Amanpour on her genocide documentary (which airs tonight on CNN at 9PM), international reporting, and the role of new media and citizen journalists. She said this about bloggers:

Sometimes it is incredibly useful, for instance, in closed societies such as Burma. Some of the images, some of the stories that have come out have been by the Internet and by citizen journalists. And that has been indispensable in terms of knowing what is going on when journalists like myself and others cannot get visas to get in there and cannot operate. … In that regard I think the bloggers or the citizen journalists are very brave and very useful.

I think that in the West sometimes blogging is an excuse for sitting back and just commenting on life as it passes by and putting out your opinions on what is happening. Sometimes those are interesting, but not always. And the truth of the matter is I do not believe, no matter how sophisticated the delivery platform, I don’t think there is a substitute or should there be a substitute for professional journalism, which comes with training, with experience, with credibility, with developing trust based on the accuracy of your record in the field. I think that is an absolute must. That must stay with us so that people have an accurate and objective reference point for their information.

I am the editor of the section and will always be looking for great writers who want to contribute interesting, insightful commentaries on important global issues. Get in touch with me at hingber@huffingtonpost.com.

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Blogger Detained at JFK

Posted on November 16, 2008, by Hanna Ingber, under Immigration, International, Media.

Three Egyptian bloggers spent a week with us at the HuffPost’s OffTheBus. One of them, Ahmad, got detained at JFK airport as he tried to leave New York for his next stop in Austin. He did nothing wrong, other than have an Arabic name. Once the U.S. officials freed him, and he bought a new plane ticket with his own money since he missed his flight, he wrote about the experience:

The place perfectly resembled any Egyptian police station, except for the picture of Mr. George Bush handing on the wall in place of Mubarak’s, and that the officers’ clothes were blue rather than white. The American officers had the same cold, dumb faces of their Egyptian counterparts. I told the officer at the beginning about my flight leaving in two hours, but he told me to sit waiting until they called my name.

Continue reading here.

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