Manifesto, what a pompous word, but it does reflect how serious we are about our work as journalists, so here we go.
It’s not that you don’t care about the rest of the world — if anything, you care too much. But the news makes you sad and frustrated, and the pictures of conflict and starving children make you feel powerless.
You want more than just figures on how many people have starved, are affected by conflict or denied their basic democratic rights. You want to know why this is (still) happening, which solutions have been tried and tested, and which ones might work.
Because… didn’t you donate to a charity to help resolve poverty? Haven’t you cut down your plastic waste to save the oceans? Don’t we have the United Nations to prevent genocide from happening again?
So, how come microfinance isn’t lifting people out of poverty, the oceans are filled with plastics, and another genocide (let’s be honest and call it that) is scarring humanity?
When I started to work as a foreign correspondent in Asia, this is usually how a world event would resonate with my family and friends. They would read or watch breaking news and then call me for background.
The first question they asked every time was ‘Why?’:
- Why is this happening (again)?
- Why is the XYZ not doing anything about it?
- Why are efforts so far failing?
Their next question would be, ‘What can I do to help?’.
I have been there myself; frustrated and news-fatigued. There is so much news to wrap your head around, but I still felt I didn’t understand these issues. Not really.
So, over the years, I made note of all the stories that seemed important, but were deemed not ‘clickable’ enough. In my opinion, news should thoroughly inform, spark action and connect people across borders. I felt that was lacking, and so did my family and friends.
So, too, did the journalists I met around Asia. They are the ones on the ground, the ones who understand these issues and strive to tell the world about them. And yet they struggle. So here we are: with a wealth of stories to report on and a team of skilled journalists to tackle them.
Global Ground will bring these stories to you because we believe in you. We believe that you still care, because we do, too. That’s why we want to lay out exactly in the following promises how we will cover these underreported issues.
Our promises to you
1. On the ground reporting
We always report from the field to get first-hand accounts and opinions. That might seem obvious, but newsrooms around the world have cut foreign correspondents to save costs. The ones who are left often have to cover an entire continent on their own, and so they end up writing from their office desks.
2. Including issues and solutions
Informing you about an issue is important, but so is including possible solutions. Global Ground speaks to experts, looks at solutions that are already in place elsewhere and investigates why less effective solutions didn’t work out as planned.
3. From information to action
We understand that you might want to spring into action after learning about a problem, but where to start? We’ll share what actions you can take to make a difference — even if it’s just a tiny bit.
4. Following up leads to change
Usually, you’ll read a story and are left wondering how things turned out 2 weeks, 6 months or a year down the line. There are great examples of tenacious journalists who kept following a story until the powerful were held to account. We want to follow their lead and follow up on our stories. We are currently working on a crowd-funding campaign that will help us do so.
5. One place for understanding issues
We don’t do breaking news, but we got you covered when you want depth on that foreign news item at the top of your newspaper. That’s ambitious and we will need some time to offer background on all foreign issues, but we’ll get there with your support.
6. Format is up to you
Like reading? Great! Here’s our long-form article. Prefer listening to the story while commuting or doing the dishes? Got you covered with audio stories! Are you a visual person? Check out our photo and video content. You can even suggest other formats like a game, 360 video or Virtual Reality! Get a crowd behind your idea and we’ll offer that as well. I, for one, know that I would love to game my way through a story!
7. Crossing man-made borders
Stories don’t end at borders and neither do we. Because we’re based all across Asia, we can report on one story in different areas. Also, there are unique stories going unreported because they don’t fit into the regional or national focus of media outlets. We’ll look at stories from an international angle and show just how impactful the developments are.
8. Explaining Asia…
We’re focusing on developments in Asia for the time being, but why Asia? Two major reasons are: We’re in the middle of a political and economic power shift from the West to the East. (Perhaps it already happened: China’s President Xi Jinping was named the most powerful person on the planet in 2018 by Forbes). And democracy across Asia is dwindling: the free press is under attack, Myanmar is in the midst of Rohingya genocide, and extremist nationalism is on the rise.
So while the region has, arguably, the most influence over the rest of the world, its actions have not always been so nice, to say the least. We think it’s important to be here and hold the powerful to account.
9. … through a global lens
Although our stories start in Asia, they often affect people in Europe or America – and perhaps you directly. Globalisation tied us closer than ever before. We wear clothing produced on the other side of the world, tumble alongside other countries’ economic crises, and pay taxes for developmental aid elsewhere. This also means that your ability to effect real change has increased significantly (yay!). We’ll show you which global strings to pull to change the status quo.
10. Transparent in the way we work
We will take you into the field and share how we approach stories and the decisions we make. To show we’re not just all talk, here are our Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct. Feel free to dig around and let us know what you think.