Cultural exchange and communities: International online magazines are journeys around the world to read and contribute to diversity of opinion. They are becoming more crucial every day. By Ingrid Arnold
No, the idea isn’t exactly new. The transnational blog Global Voices is celebrating its tenth anniversary at the Citizen Media Summit in the Philippines. Global Voices emerged in the heyday of blogging as a platform for citizen media reporting, something that may sometimes sound like an invective among newspaper publishers, but has relevance not just in countries without freedom of the press and speech. Just early this year the attacks in Paris once again revealed how exciting, exhausting and important it is to share different opinions about a global topic.
The variety of topics on Global Voices range from urban culture and local news to business and human rights and from art to internet policy. This often seems a bit jumbled, but the articles frequently report on injustices and give a voice to people who would not find an ear in the local media. The articles, arranged according to world regions and topics, are published in the original language and translated by the community into other languages. In this way, Global Voices makes topics accessible that one might not ever have come upon elsewhere in the world.
Those who wish to hear more and other voices will also find what they’re seeking on Mondoblog. For five years it has offered Francophone bloggers around the world a forum under the roof of Radio France International. Café Babel has local teams in over twenty European countries. The participative journalism project based in Paris was founded in 2001 by Erasmus scholarship students, is funded by an association and supported by the EU and a number of foundations. The magazine with articles mostly by young writers is published in multiple languages and focuses on politics, the arts and society, from #jesuischarlie to playlists to Lux Leaks.
A new international magazine was launched last autumn: Tea after Twelve compiles English language articles from around the globe in single-themed issues. The writers come from journalism as well as business and the arts. In the first issue, Urban Life, readers can explore urban gardening in Havana and bunkers in Riga, Kiev’s Wonderful initiative or the renaissance of Pakistani cinema. It also presented projects that are successful in spite of resistance and people who are researching or establishing something or are innovative or creative in other ways – inspirational stories of transformation and the possibilities of social change.
The magazine was founded by two Berlin journalists who previously worked, for example, for the GIZ. Tea after Twelve gathers writers from many countries and the magazine is growing and thriving. Their commitment has been rewarded with over 50,000 Facebook fans. I will surely stumble upon the next issue, “Tech,” via my social channels as well. And then not be able to stop reading: Suggestions on “This may also interest you!” from the editors rather than algorithms invite readers on a worldwide journey.
Ingrid Arnold, 44, has worked at the head office of the Goethe-Institut since 2008 and is head of content and product development in the Internet division. Earlier she worked as a freelance cultural writer, as a film editor and web designer. At the Goethe-Institut she can combine the best of all these worlds. Sadly, journalistic explorations of the Internet sometimes leave little time for the cinema.