Making my mark in the communication landscape
I heard about World Pulse from a friend who has been part of it for some time now. She spoke of the immense opportunities that the platform had to offer for women exploring new media technologies and how through its website and outreach processes – World Pulse was reaching out to thousands of women across the globe. I saw this as an opportunity to tap into an audience that could both understand and care about what I had to say as a woman. As a blogger for human rights and social justice, finding sufficient audiences in a country where freedom of expression is generally repressed should generally be easy. However, majority of Zimbabweans have access to mainstream media, mainly newspapers, radio and TV, all which the government has taken serious measures to control. Currently, the country has one state owned television station. The ‘official’ radio channels also belong to the state and so do a lot of newspapers with licenses to operate.
Web 2.0 has provided new opportunities and new channels for new media, which can be harnessed to provide an alternative voice apart from that of government propaganda. These are platforms that I sought to exploit in order to free my stifled voice. In my early life; I trained and worked as a journalist for the State owned newspaper and mouthpiece – the Herald. Though the experience was relevant, it was neither fulfilling nor enriching. I encountered frustrations of a hostile male environment and worse, half the time I did not recognize my stories when they appeared in the paper. The stories were so carefully and meticulously edited to often speak out of the original context and made to reflect the ruling party’s policies. Even though I loved the journalism profession - my heart went out the window because of this, and for a time I wanted nothing but to leave the profession.
I later managed to join the non-profit sector – working for a civil society organization that today still advocates for human rights and social justice. But then again, as much as I enjoyed this new life – the journalist in me suffered; craved expression and missed the rush of sharing information with audiences. Then I discovered blogging through a local Zimbabwean human rights organization called Kubatana. From there I never went back and have continued to seek out audiences, sharing ideas and thoughts that make one feel that with the cyber pen – I am reaching out and making my mark with a small contribution to help shape the communication landscape and the world.
With web 2.0, I have overcome publishing bureaucracy of old while the audience plays editor, critic and reader. When I write a good piece – they give due praise; when I get any of my facts wrong – they sternly rebuke such mistakes. Importantly, I write in a way that is easily digestible and accessible to thousands of people across the globe.