Media, an absolute core of equitable development

What is media? Why is it important? Can we live without it? What is its role in development?

In its simplest form, media is defined as the main means of mass communication (television, radio, and newspapers) regarded collectively; but I would say it is a functional organism that carries out specific roles in a society; the easiest and fastest way to get something done and without it, a nation can never survive!

No one can deny that media shapes our lives nowadays, since it spreads and disseminates information to a wider audience in no time. Egypt is undergoing a process of cautious transition in the media sector especially after the 25th of January revolution. The media, with specific reference to newspapers, radio, television, Internet (social media) and mobile platforms, play a crucial role in national development, which particularly aims at improving the political, economic and social lives of the people. These different forms of media have gained more popularity in the Egyptian market, but when referring to Upper Egypt, the case is not the same.

To elaborate more, the media depends on the societies in which they operate, and the audience they reach in order to have an impact and a role in development. However, none of these factors are the same everywhere, at all times, or under all conditions since every medium has a message and a target audience; aiming at influencing a change, attitudes, perceptions and decision-making.

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Express and not impress

Guidelines for Blog Writing:
In communication you have to be clear, transparent and confident about what you want to say. Communications people are intermediaries trying to clarify on a message to make it visible and understandable to broader audiences.  Only communicate what you understand and try not to add to the complexity of the subject, rather FACILITATE.
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These are some components to keep in mind when writing a blog story:

  1. Title: Make your title ‘sexy’ or ‘catchy’. This is the one of the most important bits of the blog, cause it captures attention of reader right up front.  Use your title to arouse curiosity of readers.
  2. Subtitles. Remember that reading online is different from reading a paper or a book. Subtitles help readers skim the text and spice up your story. It also used to break down text and gives a flavor of what the section is about.
  3. Story. Look for evidence. It is very important to communicate what has been said. Be an active listener and create hooks and links to the subject
    1. Introduction– ‘why’. Why is this issue important? Think about your conclusion, draft it and use it as the introduction to your story, this way you are clear about what you want to say upfront.  Main points go right at the top.
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Grappling with the concept of inclusive growth

By Felipe F. Salvosa II, Publications Division Chief, Philippine Institute for Development Studies

Closing Plenary

Panel at the closing plenary of the Annual Global Development Conference ‘Concluding Rountable’

After three days, what has come out of the 14th Annual Global Development Conference is that inclusive growth remains the goal, but the scope is still very wide on how best to achieve it. The world’s top development researchers will continue to grapple with this critical question and how inclusivity should dovetail with inequality and social protection as they leave the host city Manila.

The closing roundtable was an occasion for the leadership of The Global Development Network (GDN), and indeed the rest of the delegates, to reflect on these very issues. Tasked to set things in perspective were L. Alan Winters, the GDN Chairman; GDN President Pierre Jacquet; and regional networks heads Randall Filer, Ahmed Galal, Mustafa K. Mujeri, Biman C. Prasad, Roberto Rigobon, Lemma Senbet, Pavlo Sheremeta, and Josef T. Yap.

Rigobon of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association notes that development research is the toughest area and the challenge is two-fold: to be sound and relevant. Economists are often preoccupied with running models and experiments that have no external validity when what is really needed is a commonsense approach.

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Green Cities – A view from an ‘optimistic economist’

Professor Matthew Kahn (UCLA) participated in the second plenary session at GDN’s 13th Annual Conference, looking at the topic of cities as an engine of growth.

Professor Kahn presented his work as an ‘optimistic economist‘ about green cities all over the world. Cities face many environmental challenges as there are more cars, more people, more greenhouse gases. If we don’t have new ideas, these problems will just increase and become more pressing. So where to find reasons for optimism? According to professor Kahn, when we are able to anticipate challenges, that creates the right incentive to step up and address them.

In this context, social media plays a big role in spreading the world about best practices all over the world – this can now happen much faster than before, thanks to Twitter, Facebook and the like. Green ideas can therefore spread quickly as soon as they emerge, anywhere in the world.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8E-lOQGCGs&w=420&h=315]

How to win an online and offline audience

The second day of the Awards and Medals Training Workshop covered more ground in terms of the do’s and don’ts of presentations and how to effectively handle and win your audience. Starting with a brief Q&A session, Megan Lloyd Laney (CommsConsult) discussed how to deal with contentious questions, and effectively address them, and win the crowd in the process.

Pearls of wisdom were also handed out, such as not getting defensive or aggressive, and admitting when not knowing how to do something. It’s also never a bad idea to crack a few jokes and get your audience laughing. Some final thoughts reiterated the importance of taking deep breaths, having confidence in the subject matter, your ability to deliver, and just being sincere; as surefire ways to captivate your audience.

The second highlight of the day, led by Pier Andrea Pirani (Euforic Services), was a session devoted to social media tools for researchers and how and why to use them. It started with a fun, hands-on activity involving a human spectrogram where finalists were asked three questions, relating to their attitudes towards social media, and how beneficial they believe it is in terms of their research, and making it travel.

Having fun during social media session

Needless to say, responses were varied, with some believing in the efficacy of social media as a powerful way to communicate to a wide audience, and others seeing it as a cumbersome, at times useless approach to spreading the message. The session was fun, informative, and helped shed light on the options available to researchers. The choice to use or not to use the tools, remains theirs.

“Will not use them. Cannot use them. Web 2 what?” Why aren’t web 2.0 tools being used more for research collaboration?

GDNet study explores the barriers to adoption of web 2.0 tools for research collaboration in developing countries

By Cheryl Brown

Blogs, wikis, social networking sites and other web 2.0 tools have enormous potential to facilitate collaboration. But to what extent are researchers actually using them to support networking, working with and exchanging knowledge with other researchers online? And how can we explain why some researchers adopt these tools and others do not?

Adoption of web 2.0 by academics in the UK and US has received some attention in recent years, (e.g. funded by the Research Information Network) and even in these countries, adoption is limited. GDNet wanted to establish if the picture was the same in developing countries and get ideas for what it could do to encourage more researchers to use web 2.0 tools for research collaboration and knowledge-sharing.

A study of secondary sources, including GDNet survey data, was commissioned by GDNet to explore the adoption of web 2.0 tools for research collaboration by researchers in developing countries and the reasons for lack of use. The study also looked to see if there are any regional or gender differences and reviewed existing (and failed) online communities for academics to identify any lessons to be learnt.

Web 2.0 study

Web 2.0 study

What did the study find?

For a start, there is little data available on adoption of web 2.0 tools among academics in developing countries – something GDNet plans to address by carrying out follow-up primary research. From the data that exists, levels of take-up among academics are relatively low and there do seem to gender and regional difference both in terms of use and reasons why adoption might not occur.

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