This week, the Haiti News Project began a pen pal service between journalists in Haiti and the United States.
The idea was suggested a few weeks ago by reporters working with Haiti-based Reuters correspondent Joseph Guy Delva. The reporters told me that exchanging messages with journalists in the United States would give them a chance to share their experiences, practice English and hone their reporting skills.
I discussed the idea with journalists at the recent NABJ convention in San Diego, and found many reporters and editors there eager to participate.
The next step was to create a place where the email pen pals could find each other. Thus was born the HNP PenPal registry, which can be found on the HNP blog.
Thus far, 22 journalists have registered as pen pals and 18 of them have begun exchanging emails. Claudel Victor, who edited Ticket magazine before it was shut down after the earthquake, told his pen pal Sunni Khalid, managing editor of WYPR-Radio in Baltimore, that the eartquake had “completely changed my life.” He invited Khalid to visit his blog sites at http://surlesondes.blogspot.com and http://haitionair.blogspot.com.
Investigative journalist Faradjine Alfred said he welcomed the chance to be a pen pal and had begun “to share beneficial information” with Florida A&M University journalism student Kierra King.
If you would like to be a pen pal, you can register at the site or send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org requesting a pen pal. Be sure to include a note of 50 words or less describing your work and interests.