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NWC News Desk

Common Language Project reports Thursday, Oct. 15, on recent stories

Posted October 6, 2009

POWELL, Wyo. - Representatives of the Common Language Project will present multimedia stories from their recent news-gathering trips to Southeast Asia, eastern Africa and Pakistan at a 7 p.m. program Thursday, Oct. 15, in the Rendezvous Lounge of DeWitt Student Center at Northwest College.

The Common Language Project (CLP) is a nonprofit multimedia production house that reports news from around the world about the people affected by key social justice issues, with a specific focus on stigmatized regions and peoples underrepresented in the traditional media. CLP coverage is focused on issues of human rights, gender equality, social and economic justice, immigration, education, labor, health, environmentalism and resource equality.

CLP co-founders Alex Stonehill and Sarah Stuteville will talk about their recent trips around the world to gather news. They'll share some of their multimedia stories about topics which frequently don't make it into mainstream media news. One of those focuses on the current exodus out of Pakistan. Another portrays small farmers' struggle to grow crops amid water scarcity in Ethiopia.

The CLP claims that international reporting by American media tends to fixate on a small rotation of stories weighted towards conflict, terrorism and global markets. Little attention is given to issues affecting the day-to-day lives of common people or their struggles against injustice and inequality.

Even less is given to stories that might foster cultural awareness, increase international communication or provide a deep context for understanding international affairs, according to the CLP. Its mission is to engage, educate and inform Americans of all ages on the crucial human issues of our time through innovative and accessible journalism.

CLP practices what it calls humane reporting, a new style of journalism that focuses on the personal stories behind broader political and social issues. It strives to tell stories from the bottom up, emphasizing the voices of people actually affected by the issues. Regarding journalism as a public service, the CLP uses humane reporting as a way to help re-establish trust between people and the media in a time when "too many are cynical about the motives and credibility of journalists."

The CLP has been awarded two honorable mentions by Knight Batten for Innovations in Journalism, an Independent Press Association Award, Edward R. Murrow Award and a Society of Professional Journalists Award.

The CLP's work is supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and the University of Washington, where the group teaches a course in entrepreneurial journalism. Recent work has appeared on PBS Frontline, National Public Radio and in The Seattle Times. Click here to view it on the Web.

The CLP presentation in Powell is sponsored by the Northwest College Journalism Department, with support by a grant from the Northwest College Foundation.

Admission is free.