About this project
Make us more inclusive, interactive, & inspiring
- Our website and other technology infrastructures (technology improvement)
- Key UI/UX improvements to create a better experience for readers around the world (user experience improvement)
- Optimization of our website for maximum outreach so that we can be read on the slowest computers and connections (access improvement)
- Participation in KickingItForward (giving back to the community)
- New content delivery networks to improve access to remote regions (technology improvement)
- Greater visual and video elements (user experience improvement)
- Regular Socratic debates with voices from around the world (live & recorded experiences)
- Our dedicated volunteer editors through providing them laptops and fast Internet connections (people in the org)
- Our "volunteers & the media" community development activities, which means training folks to write or make visual presentations on issues relevant in their regions (giving back to the community)
- Visual analysis to compliment our narrative analysis of the compelling issues in our world (content improvement)
- Infographics, presentations and data visualizations based on the trends and movements across the globe (more user experience improvement)
- Fair Observer's first live streaming video show (live & recorded experiences)
- Audio-visual analysis of multiple topics by contributors from around the world (live & recorded experiences)
- Live debates on the Fair Observer live stream & in person (more live & recorded experiences)
- Expansion of in person community development activities (giving back to the community)
- We will be able to create a bottom-up media with voices from across the world. You will be able to set topics, comment, become contributors, and earn the right to be editors on a platform that works seamlessly across all kinds of devices (participation, content & technology improvement)
- We will be able to train more people in remote places in the planet, starting with Africa, so that we integrate hitherto unheard narratives and stories into the global discourse (giving back to the community)
- We will be able to pay stipends to our core team that has been living on little for far too long (people in the org)
Problem: Noise & Bias
“The sole aim of journalism should be service.” - Mahatma Gandhi
Media organizations have been struggling in the age of the Internet. Advertising revenues have shrunk, and readers do not buy subscriptions. Budget pressures have led to fewer jobs in journalism. For every person who works at a newspaper, there are four people working in public relations. Consequently, press releases often masquerade as newspaper articles.
Of course, the Internet has allowed thousands of amazing people to blog. But it also has an awful amount of noise. If you don’t know a subject area it is impossible to know where to go. Partisanship is on the rise — both on the right and the left. The Internet was supposed to herald a brave new world, in which the best information came to our fingertips. Instead, it has created echo chambers, where people go to websites that confirm their prejudices.
Media narratives are still resolutely national. Other parts of the world are viewed through the eyes of a foreign correspondent. We are largely unaware of perspectives from other countries or cultures. There is little room for debate or discussion. We are still stuck in our silos. As global citizens, we are unable to make sense of the world.
Solution: Fair Observer
Many of us care about freedom, diversity, and fairness for all. We care about making the world a better place, and believe that our actions matter. So, we want to know: Why are folks in Egypt or Brazil out on the streets? Why is inequality increasing? Who pays taxes, who avoids them, and how do we create a fair system? What drives innovation? Why does culture matter?
Fair Observer is run by an all-volunteer team from around the world. We are adopting the non-profit model because our mission is to inform, educate and inspire. We have poured our hearts and souls into getting a global conversation going on issues that matter. We know that all of us have blindsides, but when we come together cutting across class, race, language, gender and philosophies, we get a better approximation of the truth. So we focus on a 360° Analysis, where we provide the context to the issue and insights from around the world.
How does it work right now?
Our Beta website already provides our signature “360° Analysis.” We recognize that everyone has a bias, so we do not claim to provide “impartial” information. Instead, for any issue, we provide you with a context and various perspectives from around the world. Many of our contributions come from narratives that have long been excluded from mainstream media. By telling you why things are happening and what other people are thinking, we enable you to navigate an increasingly complex world.
Anyone can submit content, in any form, on any issue. Articles, infographics, cartoons, audio, video, etc., are all welcome. Your worldview need not be formed by your national media. Fair Observer is proud to provide you with insights from over 600 people from all over the globe: Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, North America, and South America.
To ensure that we don’t drown in noise, our editors filter the content. Every viewpoint from around the world is welcome, but this is no place for propaganda or bigotry.
Right now, all content is sent to Fair Observer via email, and we get over 500 messages a day. Our folks are running ragged, editing and uploading all of this material. They work round the clock, seven days a week, for no pay, and get little sleep.
So how will it work after you back us?
The new web platform will have a great user interface that will present our content more clearly. When you visit the homepage, you will be invited to get involved. There will be more interactive content such as maps, infographics, cartoons, audio and video. The website will be optimized for all devices: laptop, smartphone, or tablet. You will be able to use any device you wish.
We are anticipating a more "democratized" website in the next version, with features for greater user interaction. For example, our users will help shape Fair Observer's editorial agenda. You will be able suggest issues, recommend contributors, and propose partner organizations. As mentioned earlier, contributors email content and our editing team uploads it. As in other websites, we would like you to be able to create your contributor profile and upload your own content. When you upload your content, it will sit in a holding bin until cleared by an editor.
Just as anyone can become a contributor, anyone will be able to earn the right to be an editor. There will be three ways to do so:
- Reputation: You will be invited to be an editor on the basis of your suggestions and comments.
- Recommendation: Contributors and current editors will be able to nominate you as editors.
- Application: If you have expertise in a field, you can apply to be an editor in your subject area. You can also apply to be a copy editor, if you enjoy fine tuning an argument and have a keen eye for grammar.
What are we doing to earn your pledge?
Fair Observer is a labor of love, which our volunteer crew pours its heart and soul in to create what you see. We have great content, a decent website, and terrific contributors. Now, we plan to convert our website into a dynamic platform for a global community of like-minded citizens. It will be a place where people can engage in dialogue as citizens of our increasingly interconnected world. To accomplish this, additional financial resources are needed to pay for the coding and design work.
By backing this project, you will help create the world’s first truly global media platform. You enable voices and narratives that have long been marginalized to find their place in the sun. You encourage a thoughtful exchange of ideas and reduce misinformation that inspires hate, fear, and violence. You fight ignorance and apathy that kill more people than bombs and bullets.
Knowledge is power to the people. Your contribution will empower the people. You will help make the world a better place.
How will we use the funds?
- Launch a redesigned website: A new user interface will allow visitors to access content more efficiently, and have an overall better experience navigating the site;
- Feature new tools for user participation;
- Optimize versions for Android, iPhone and tablet, so you may use any device you wish to access Fair Observer and enjoy a similar positive user experience across the board;
- Maintain our website, fix bugs, and run our servers; need we say more?
Who are we?
A number of prestigious organizations from around the world publish with us to reach our global audience.
Fair Observer in Action
On World Refugee Day 2013, we published a comprehensive analysis of the refugee situation. This year, refugee numbers reached a 19-year high and we invite you to compare what we have put together with the coverage by any media organization in the world. For a complete list of Fair Observer’s World Refugee Day 2013, click here.
Spread the word!
Buddha had his monks, Jesus his apostles, and we have you. Knowledge is power to the people, so help us spread knowledge. Please back our project and ask everyone you know to help spread the word!
• Follow us on Twitter
• Like us on Facebook
• Join our LinkedIn group
• Look us up on Tumblr
• Find us on Google+
• Read our Blog
• Tweet about our project:
Support independent, non-partisan, global media. Pledge to #FairObserver on Kickstarter! http://kck.st/1cInd2p #MakingSense
For news analysis from global narratives, pledge to #FairObserver on Kickstarter: http://kck.st/1cInd2p #MakingSense
- Understand deeper issues behind the news. Pledge to #FairObserver on Kickstarter! http://kck.st/1cInd2p #MakingSense
- Knowledge is power to the people, so help us spread knowledge. Pledge to #FairObserver on Kickstarter! http://kck.st/1cInd2p #MakingSense
Fair Observer would not be possible without the readers, editors, contributors, tech gurus, and supporters who have backed us over the last two years.
We owe special thanks to Adelaide Chen who created our video. Esther Wojcicki, Christine Currie, Eliza Ridgeway, Mark Tuschman, Pascal Finette, Ashish Chordia and Bernhard Janke of GSVA have our eternal gratitude for providing the equipment and locations to film the video.
Risks and challenges
Like Odysseus, we are embarking on a great adventure. Our risks range from the Scylla of losing the interest of our community and the Charybdis of getting sucked into creating a platform our audience finds incomprehensible. Simply and seriously, the risks are twofold: one, not capturing enough traction to create a thriving community; and two, not being able to create the right technology platform to serve the community.
You might suspect that we could take your money and sell out like Matter, a huge success in the not too distant past. To negate that possibility, we are working to become a non-profit. Atul Singh has already outlined our reasons to go the non-profit route in his article, "Media Should Not Make Money." We are absolutely clear that we exist to inform, educate and inspire. Profit maximization is not in our DNA and selling out to media Goliaths is not what drives us.
Certainly, the nonprofit model will bring its own pressures but it will mitigate potential conflicts of interest. We have chosen this model because we are ferocious about editorial independence. We publish thought provoking articles from around the world and anyone can become a contributor. Our requirements are there for everyone to see. With your help, we will transform the media and change the world.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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