November 03, 2008

Voices Without Votes

From the Washington Post:

Voices Without Votes is an aggregator of the international blogosphere. An offshoot of the nonprofit site Global Voices, which aims to summarize the goings-on in every blogging corner of the World Wide Web, the site focuses solely on the U.S. presidential race. Voices Without Votes was born in early February -- yep, in time for Super Tuesday -- and it's edited by Amira Al Hussaini, a 35-year-old journalist from Bahrain who currently lives in Canada. The site's motto reads: "America votes. The world speaks.

Amira Al Hussaini of Global Voices. Photo by caribbeanfreephoto

"The Internet makes the world smaller, just a few clicks away, right?" says Al Hussaini, who was the former news editor at the Gulf Daily News, the largest English newspaper in Bahrain. With Voices, she says, "Americans can see, if they don't realize it already, that their votes affect the rest of us when it comes to foreign policy, the environment, the global market, you name it."

Scattered throughout the world, they scour the Internet, reading blogs and searching for mentions of the upcoming election. From February to August, 300 to 400 blog entries were featured on the site. It grew to 800 in September and about 1,100 this month.

There's no single directory of international blogs, Al Hussaini says, and she and her staff specialize in specific regions. They make sure that no one region is overrepresented on the site. It's a labor-intensive process. Though many sign their names in their blogs, just as many do not. Each volunteer has to read the blog, contact the blogger and locate where he or she is. "A lot of people write blogs without telling you where they're from," explains Al Hussaini, who speaks Arabic and monitors a list of about 1,000 blogs in the Middle East. Most bloggers write in English. Some, however, need translating.


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