December 24, 2006

While there’s no shortage of news about the war in Iraq, here’s one new online venue that’s worth a look: Iraq Slogger, which launched earlier this month. It’s the brainchild of former CNN news division chief Eason Jordan.

According to Editor & Publisher, Iraq Slogger aims to be “a one-stop-shopping clearinghouse for nonpartisan information, including material coming out of Iraq itself from natives of that country, not from foreign correspondents.”

It’s an intriguing approach that blends professional and citizen journalism. I’ll be subscribing to it to check it out more closely — as soon as the site gets its feed working, that is.

The site looks like a blog — which I think works well. While fellow Tidbits contributor Ernst Poulsen has written that he’s not fond of blog-emulating news site design, I find this approach suits how I personally use news sites.

What will you find on Iraq Slogger? E&P summed it up: “[This] site includes everything from links to op eds and articles in mainstream U.S. papers to ‘viral videos’ and jokes from Iraq. Jordan points to ‘nuggets’ missed by the U.S. media, such as Iraqis getting ‘addicted’ to the TV series ‘Lost,’ or the latest kidnapping of contractors. Not merely a collection of links, it will focus on what [Jordan] calls ‘original reporting from Iraq beyond the traditional.’

“One of the site’s unique and most valuable services is a daily roundup of news from Iraqi newspapers that few in the U.S. media have ever bothered to translate. Jordan has Arabic speakers here and in Iraq providing this service, and so far this week, these columns have gotten ‘far more’ traffic than anything else on the site. A staffer in Iraq also monitors blogs there.”

Jordan recently told On the Media that the site publishes content from about 50 correspondents, all Iraqi, not just from Bagdad. These contributors were selected from a network of media colleagues. “They’re not all journalists,” said Jordan “In some cases they’re just average people.”

I’d really like it if this site would publish bios of the correspondents, and link to those bios from bylines. For me, it’s useful to know that reporter Nir Rosen has an extensive reporting background. In contrast, contributor Zeyad is identified only with a cartoon — so I’m left wondering about the context for his contributions. If some contributors must hide their identity, I’d like to know why Iraq Slogger thinks they’re worth publishing.

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Amy Gahran is a conversational media consultant and content strategist based in Boulder, CO. She edits Poynter's group weblog E-Media Tidbits. Since 1997 she�s worked…
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