My project in Liberia evolved over nearly two years. In 2009, I came across a video clip on the New York Times website about Alfred Sirleaf, a man in Liberia who writes the news on a blackboard each morning – a news outlet he calls The Daily Talk. I smelled a story, and I decided I would report on Mr. Sirleaf’s project for The Yale Globalist, Yale’s undergraduate international affairs magazine (the story is online here). It took hours of scavenging on Google, but I managed to unearth Sirleaf’s contact information. In our subsequent two-hour, transatlantic phone interview, Sirleaf’s passion, determination, and steadfast belief in his project’s ability to promote democracy became clear. When he mentioned he couldn’t expand without help, I decided that I would – somehow – get to Liberia and work with him.
I will use this blog to chronicle my work with The Daily Talk. I will be assisting Sirleaf with the day-to-day operations of The Daily Talk, including reporting and writing news stories, as well as with his efforts to expand The Daily Talk to new neighborhoods in Monrovia. This will include helping select new locations, find community representatives to run the blackboards, and training new reporters.
This project was made possible by the Cyrus Vance Fellowship in Politics and Foreign Affairs from the Kingsley Trust Association, and the Tristan Perlroth Summer Travel Award administered by Yale’s MacMillan Center. I would like to thank them for their support for and interest in my project.
For more of my blog posts, as well as writing by Yalies everywhere from Brazil to Nepal, please visit the Globalist Summer Blog. Thank you for your interest!