The Blackboard Blogger of Liberia
Image from AfriGadget
The "Daily News" is a blackboard on a major road in Monrovia, Liberia which is run by a fellow named Alfred Sirleaf. Everyday, he writes out the news in neat letters for those who can't afford newspapers, radio, or a generator to run a TV. Mr. Sirleaf might be considered an "analog blogger", and this is how he is changing the world one letter at a time.
Mr. Sirleaf's style is simple, functional, works and has gained international attention, being featured in the New York Times in 2006. No need for electricity here, just chalk and the board. Even funding is minimal, although he does have space for advertising - $5 below the board, $10 on the side and $25 in the main section.
Alfred is not completely ultra-low-tech - he uses his cell phone to collect breaking news stories for the board, which he claims is read by 10,000 people a day. His journalism is provocative and clever, oftentimes using symbology to convey messages to Liberians that are not literate. For example, on a story with electricity he hung a lit kerosene lantern next to an unlighted fluorescent bulb; sometimes he uses a UN or military helmet in indicate breaking events in those areas. Check out these Flickr images for more photos of his operation.
Like most entrepreneurs Mr. Sirleaf is hungry for more, with ambitions to expand his novel form of journalism to other parts of Monrovia and some larger Liberian cities. Simple, sustainable tech for a cause? More of this please. AfriGadget
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