Global Citizen Media

Global Citizen Media LogoI have always been a big believer in the potential of digital media. Its ability to tell stories, when properly used, can truly change the world in positive ways. During the last 30 years technology has advanced to the point to where the tools required to reach potentially huge audiences are coming into the hands of more and more people but, there is a divide. Often people with the most compelling stories to tell don’t have the means, knowledge or access to the tools many other people take for granted. It is a sad state of affairs that these stories are lost and the world is less because of it.

A few months ago I met Diana Gross, an American teacher, documentary filmmaker, and founder of Global Citizen Media, who is currently working in collaboration with the Ponheary Ly Foundation in Siem Reap, Cambodia. In 2011 and 2012 Diana worked as “The Traveling Teacher”, a largely self-funded project that endeavored to help bridge the digital divide by bringing students in Mongolia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia the knowledge and tools necessary to be citizen journalists through blogging, photography and video production. At the heart of her curriculum were the “Tell Your Own Story” workshops where students reported on their lives and told stories that were important to them. The project earned Diana recognition as National Geographic’s 2012 Traveler of the Year.

Diana in ClassroomLike me, Diana believes that the world becomes safer when all people, worldwide, are engaged in a cross cultural dialogue. Filling gaps in knowledge about other people and other cultures with information directly from them, without the filter of mass media bias, can open whole worlds to both the presenter and consumer of the information. Diana has taken this to heart and her enthusiasm about her subject and love of teaching is infectious. Listening to her tell her stories of young people in the developing world and their desire to learn about other people and tell their own stories as well, inspired me and I am now working in a small Cambodian classroom with Diana and other volunteers teaching media skills to young people. In an effort to make the initiative self-sustaining, Diana is also training local teachers the skills required to continue and expand these classes independently.

Blogfest 2012Taking the lessons learned from the Traveling Teacher project and through her successful pilot program developed for the Ponheary Ly Foundation, Diana has formed Global Citizen Media.  Her goal is to build upon the successes so far, expand the project even further and help create more citizen journalists worldwide. To accomplish these goals, Global Citizen Media could use your help and now has an IndieGoGo campaign in progress to help fund the next stage. I believe in it and I hope you will take the time to learn more.  If you are inspired like I was, I hope you will consider making a donation. I can tell you from firsthand experience; it is a great and worthy cause.

For more information check out these links:

Help Change the World by donating at Global Citizen Media’s IndieGoGo Page

Global Citizen Media YouTube Page

Links to Student Blogs

Award Winning Student Produced Videos:

“Water Wells in My Village” – won 1st Runner up in the 2012 Water.org Film Festival
“Sunflowers of Srayang” – a moving story that premiered at the Angkor Wat Film Festival and has screened in major US cities.
“I Am One” won a $10,000 grant from Goodtube.org

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Author: Jonathan Look

In 2011 Jonathan Look decided to change his life and pursue adventures instead of comfort and possessions. His goal is to travel the world solo; one country at a time, one year at a time. To accomplish this he got rid of most of his possessions, packed up what little he saw as necessities and headed out. His goal is to spend ten years discovering new places, meeting new people and taking the time to learn about them, their values and their place on this tiny planet. He embraces the philosophy that says a person is the sum of their experiences and rejects the fraud of modern consumerism that makes people into slaves of their consumption. He doesn’t intend to be modern day ascetic, just more mindful of his place in the world and to make decisions according to that new standard.

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