Prime Minister talks about Haiti’s media challenges

              In  an interview with the Miami Herald’s Editorial Board last week, Haiti Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive spoke on a wide range of issues facing the country, including working with the international community on rebuilding, the threat of hurricanes and the weakened state of Haiti’s media.

             Below are excerpts of Mr. Bellerive’s comments on the post-earthquake state of Haiti’s media. 

             To read the Miami Herald’s coverage of the visit  and see a video of the full interview, click on this link:  http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/06/16/1684907/prime-minister-haiti-needs-help.html.

     Q (Herald Editor Anders Gyllenhaal)

           How do you think the Haitian media — which was hit so hard with presses knocked out and radio stations damaged —  is doing? How is their recovery going? How well is the collective global and national press delivering in its role?

 A (Prime Minister Bellerive)

          I’m going to be very prudent. I remember three weeks after the earthquake when we were having meetings every morning with all of the international media … At one point, someone asked me what we were doing for the media. I made a big error in telling them publicly what we did. [Editor’s note: the government committed to buy ads].

         I was attacked because of that. I didn’t have to say that. It was like I was buying the media. We help them to do that and more. We’re helping them recover.

       Apparently, that is something I don’t have to say openly, so I’m not going to.

Q: You can say it here. It’s different.

A: Yeah, but it’s going to be there also —  you’re more tricky. You’re going there to help the media.

           We [the government] are helping also because we believe strongly that information is key and that information is going to be what we need to keep unity and what we need to help the recovery.

         So we don’t try to control anything or say that they have to give information positively. But they have to give at least true information.

Q: Do you think that is happening now? Is there enough strength in the media to deliver that?

A: No

Q: How would you describe what exists versus what ought to exist?

A: In one word — professionalism.

Q (Deputy Editorial Editor Juan Vasquez): You mean, the lack of?

A: Yes, a lack of.  Both sides — not just from the media. We don’t have counterparts to talk to them. It is not only their fault. We are not organized to communicate. And as we are not organized to communicate, they inform on what they want to inform and what is easiest to inform.

          They don’t have to work a lot to see someone sitting on the street under a tent or tarpaulin with two children who just received food yesterday, but they’re not sure they’re going to receive it today. You put a microphone in front of those people and you ask: ‘Is the government good to you? Is it helping you enough?’

            You can anticipate what the answer will be.

Introducing MoneyTrac

          Today we add a new feature, called MoneyTrac (See the bar graph at right).

          It’s an up-to-the-minute, color-coded look at how the money you’ve contributed is being used. Today’s graph, for example, shows that our project has spent just under $15,000 — to be exact,  $13,719. To date, donors have supported us with contributions that now total $51,225, a figure we hope will continue to increase as word about our mission spreads and supporters step forward.

          The graph shows that the bulk of spending so far ($8,027) has been for the purchase new equipment, which soon will be in the hands of journalists in Haiti. We’re finalizing plans for delivering the equipment — 20 computers, four cameras and half a dozen tents.

          The other spending covers administrative costs — basically a stipend for the coordinator — travel expenses and costs associated with Web development and promoting the project at meetings and conferences. 

           Our goal is to make sure that as much as possible of the money that is raised is used to give Haitian journalists the tools they need to hold onto their jobs, support their families and continue Haiti’s robust press  indpendence.

            MoneyTrac will be updated regularly to keep you informed.

Getting laptops to journalists

      Tomorrow, we expect a delivery of 20 computers to arrive in Miami from Dell Computers in Houston. The computers — 13 netbooks for basic reporting and 7 professional-grade laptops for editing — will then be shipped to Port-au-Prince and distributed to newspapers and journalists.
      Two weeks ago, we piggy-backed on a delivery of supplies by the Associated Press to Haiti with two laptops of our own, destined for the left-leaning newspaper, Haiti Liberte.
     With that delivery, our project has replaced three of the five computers that Haiti Liberte lost in the earthquake. The paper’s Port-au-Prince staff needs much more to get back to functional strength, including tents for homeless reporters and a new office. However, the computers mean the staff can begin covering local news for pages inserted into the paper, which is published in Miami.
       The larger shipment replaces equipment lost several independent journalists and by Haiti’s largest newspaper, Le Nouvelliste, and its competitor Le Matin.
Following close on the heels of these deliveries will be shipments of cameras, tape recorders, printers, tents and other supplies that will boost the spirits of Haitian journalists and enable them to practice the craft they love.
      Also in the next few weeks, we will begin to put into place a training program to help the journalists hone their skills.  With these efforts we begin to move, agonizingly slow I’m afraid — but steadily — toward our goal of helping Haitian journalists help themselves.

Fundraising reaches a milestone

       With nearly $50,000 in the bank, the Haiti News Project is approaching a milestone in its fundraising. To accomplish our goals, however, we will need to raise much more than 50 grand.

        Still, $50,000 is a tidy sum that speaks to progress and possibilities. It shows that people throughout the Americas and Caribbean are stepping up to help a neighbor who has been dealt a severe blow.

   Media in Haiti suffered a crushing blow that threatened to end more than 200 years of press independence with the Jan. 12 earthquake. But individual journalists and publishers throughout the country have resolved to continue delivering vital information to their audiences. We at the Haiti News Project are determined to help them.   

      The latest contribution to our effort arrived this week, a $25,000 donation from the Google Inc. Charitable Giving Fund of Tides Foundation.

 In addition to Google, other contributors include Diario ABC Color, the American Society of News Editors, Jamaican Gleaner, Inter American Press Association, McClatchy Foundation,  Miami Herald, Poder Magazine, Unity: Journalists of Color, International Press Institute North American Committee and numerous individuals.

   The funds already are being put to good use. This week, we purchased 20 laptop computers to replace equipment damaged or lost in the earthquake. The computers will quickly be delivered to newspapers and journalists in Port-au-Prince. More equipment and humanitarian aid is on the way, including tents, cameras, recorders, printers, tele-copiers, etc. 

      In addition to buying equipment, the funds will be used to develop a training program for Haitian journalists and open an investigative-reporting center. 

   Since days after the earthquake, our project has worked with Haitian media to help in their recovery, including with advice, damage assessments and technical support.  

    The support of individual and corporate contributors is vital to this effort. You can help by clicking the donate button on this page and making a contribution.

Staff injured, jobless; magazine publication suspended

Claudel Victor next to his demolished house

    

     This post was written by Claudel Victor, editor of  Ticket Magazine, an arts and culture publication of Le Nouvelliste, Haiti’s largest newspaper.

     Among the legions of victims of the January earthquake was the staff at Ticket Magazine, a cultural icon in Port-au-Prince. One staffer was killed; others were injured; all lost their jobs.

      The magazine was founded in October 2002. It is a sister publication of Le Nouvelliste. In seven years, the magazine, had become a cultural reference in Haiti.

     Published twice a week before the earthquake, Ticket features the Haitian showbiz stars, like the great figures of music, fashion, literature, theater, both in Haiti and in Haitian Diaspora.
     During these years, Ticket has also written extensively of all trends and fashions. Particularly among Haitian youth.
Thanks to the competition at TicketMax Academy and Vinn Pran Ticket’s, Ticket uncovered many young artistic talents.
     Ticket was published bi-weekly of the same format as the newspaper Le Nouvelliste. The magazine was distributed to subscribers and sold on the streets by newsboys.
     Ticket has been closed since the January 12 earthquake. Every editor, reporter, photographer and graphic designer who worked for the magazine has been unemployed since. The group responsible for the distribution was also laid off. 

     Some of the journalists are temporarily employed in other activities, such as the radio show Enfomasyon Nou dwe Konnen, which is produced by the NGO  (Non-Governmental Organization) InterNews or by the Haitian media.

     However, most employees of Ticket are looking for work to meet their needs. The majority of them live in temporary shelters, in tents in the streets or in camps with friends or relatives.
     Max Chauvet, the owner of Ticket Magazine, plans a return of the publication, but no fixed date has been given so far.

       Among the victims:

Driver Djimps Diomettre, who also worked for Radio Magik 9, was killed.
 
Claudel Victor, editor in chief.  His house collapsed, killing an aunt and a cousin. He sleeps in a temporary shelter. He lost his computer, camera, scanner, a large part of his library and his working notes. 
Stéphanie André,  copy editor.  Her house collapsed. 
 
Rosemond Loramus,  editor.  His house collapsed. He sleeps in a temporary shelter. He lost his archives, working notes,  camera, personal computer. 
 
Marie Brunette Brutus Mainsour, editor. She has spent hours under the rubble of Radio Magik 9 where she worked. She was injured in the earthquake. A few days later she and her fiancé were kidnapped. Their families and friends were forced to pay big money for their release. 
 
Lazarre Duckenson, editor. His house collapsed, killing his mother. He sleeps in a temporary shelter.

Gilles Freslet, editor. He sleeps in a temporary shelter in the street because the house in which he lived, is cracked. His car was seriously damaged by the earthquake rubble.

NABJ is helping; and so, too, can you

    

       This message was written by Kathy Y. Times, President of the National Association of Black Journalists. 

 

NABJ has been assisting with efforts to help journalists and advance journalism in Haiti after the devastating earthquake. I invite you to support our efforts to help our brothers and sisters in Haiti.
 
As you know, damage from the catastrophic earthquake was unlike anything ever seen in the Western Hemisphere. In less than one minute on January 12, much of the capital of Port-au-Prince was destroyed. The government now estimates that some 300,000 people were killed and 1.3 million displaced.
 
The local journalism community was hit hard: latest estimates are that 31 journalists were killed, and dozens more were left homeless. Several broadcast stations were knocked off the air, perhaps some for good, and the country’s two daily newspapers were severely damaged and unable to publish.
 
I asked the co-chairs of the World Affairs Task Force — Miami Herald World Editor John Yearwood and Djibril Diallo, senior adviser to the executive director of UNAIDS — to assess the situation and report back to me on how NABJ could help. I know they consulted with some of you before preparing their report. I want to thank John and Djibril for their hard work.
One of their first recommendations was that NABJ become a founding member of the Haiti News Project, designed to provide assistance to Haitian print journalists reeling from the devastation. Another organization, Internews, is helping broadcast media. NABJ joined several other groups in forming HNP, including American Society of News Editors (ASNE), the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), Poder Magazine,  the Miami Herald, and UNITY: Journalists of Color.
 
Project members hold regular telephone conference calls, including with Haitian journalists. They agreed to focus efforts on providing  equipment and technology, professional training and tents for those journalists still homeless.

 A major initiative is the “One Computer, One Journalist” campaign. The goal is simple: provide a computer to each of the 250 working journalists in areas affected by the earthquake. Keep in mind that many journalists lost everything. We believe it’s important to give them the tools to cover the biggest story of their lives. Computers are critical to this mission.
 
HNP plans to help train Haitian journalists, and discussions are being held about forming an independent investigative news unit among the journalists. There is a lot happening, and I invite you to get involved. You can help with training or make a financial contribution toward purchasing a camera, digital tape recorder or a laptop computer. Please give whatever you can.
You can find more information at http://www.haitinewsproject.wordpress.com or become a fan on Facebook. The project’s coordinator is our colleague Joe Oglesby, a former Miami Herald editorial page editor. Reach him at joglesby01@gmail.com, or 305-608-2333.
 
In addition to our involvement in the news project, NABJ will include programming about Haiti in our national convention in San Diego this summer. We have invited Haiti’s President Rene Preval to address us and are awaiting a response. NABJ has agreed to advocate on behalf of journalists in Haiti to be included in funding programs from international institutions as they discuss rebuilding efforts. NABJ also is discussing the creation of a fellowship program to fund efforts for members who would like to report on the earthquake’s aftermath.
 
Please do what you can to help. After listening to the pleas of Haitian journalists, I know they would appreciate it more than you will ever know. Thank you.
 
Kathy Y. Times
NABJ President

Fundraising: Where We’re At

We have received a number of generous contributions in the past two weeks, and have now collected a total of $23,880.

Our most recent contributions came for the McClatchy Foundation, Paraguayan newspaper Diario ABC Color, the Gleaner Company (publisher of the Jamaican Gleaner), the North American Committee of the International Press Institute and UNITY.

Here is the Haiti News Project corporate and non-profit honor roll:

Diario ABC Color – $1,000
American Society of News Editors – $2,000
Gleaner Company – $4,975
Interamerican Press Association – $2,000
International Press Institute North American Committee – $2,000
McClatchy Foundation – $5,000
Miami Herald – $2,000
Poder Magazine – $2,500
Unity: Journalists of Color, Inc. – $2,000

In addition, the Webbmedia Group generously contributed services to the Project.

And we have received several individual contributions totaling $435.

On the expense side, we’ve shelled out $2,950 to pay administrative costs.

We have another conference call scheduled this afternoon, so project administrator Joe Oglesby will report next on how we’re going to begin spending that money to help Haitian journalists.

In the meantime, if you want to provide a tax-deductible charitable contribution to help the cause, there are number of different payment options described in the nav bar on the right.