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JiCC membership now stands at 501 with a UNICEF worker from New Delhi, Rudrajit Das, joining just this morning - or evening depending on which side of the dateline you live in! Das has deep interest in wide ranging areas of global development.
"Interests: Communication for Development, Social and Behavior Chnage Communication, Advocacy, Capacity Building Experience: Development sector professional with over twelve years of experience in working with organizations such as the UN, international technical support organizations and NGOs as well as leading advertising agencies and corporates in designing, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Multi - Sectoral, Multi - Partner Communication and Advocacy strategies and interventions. Proven skills in the area of conceptualisation, design and development of Communication and Advocacy materials, Mass media and Interpersonal Communication interventions, Documentation, writing for the Public Domain and Capacity Building."
Line honours for the magic 500 number, however, belongs to former DFID consultant, Mary Myers. A freelance consultant since 1996, her background includes work in some 20 countries across Africa. Myers reflects the huge diversity across JiCC membership, worldwide. Says Myers:
"I am a development communications consultant specialising in radio in Africa. I have been freelancing since 1996. I have done a lot of work for the UK aid programme, DFID. My background is in project management with various different NGOs. I have travelled and worked in more than 20 countries in Africa. I work from home, which is in South West England."
Communications practitioners like Myers are to be congratulated for recognising the reality of global journalism crisis, and for expressing their support via membership of JiCC, the Journalism in Crisis Coalition.
Small by world standards, JiCC also remains a relatively low activity group, with, thus far, only two members joining founder Jason Brown in becoming admins on the group here, and over on Facebook. Part of the problem may be the relatively unfamiliar, if not complicated user interface used here on the Development Networks Communications Initiative. Says Brown:
"It took me a good year or so to become even slightly comfortable with the CI interface. There has been talk of a new, simplified interface, and such a move may see greater use by a wider range of JiCC and other DevNet members. While writing this group post for JiCC, I note that the link for "More information about formatting options" leads to a blank page. Similarly, the formatting options for new posts such as bold, indent and image do not appear to work, in any browser. And, despite selecting the rich-text option as my default, new posts keep defaulting to 'messaging plain text.'"
"There is no doubt that the DevNet ComIni has proven itself a popular destination for all manner of development practitioners, including communications specialists like journalists. It is hard however not to compare this site with more recent efforts like the European Journalism Centre, a Ning-based platform, both for its greater simplicity and interaction between members."
"I am sure IT people are perfectly comfortable and even prefer the current DevNet ComIni interface. However, most of us here are not IT people, and are not interested in acquiring the skills necessary to master every single new interpretation that endlessly variant IT sections seem intent on foisting on the rest of us, worldwide. Obviously ComIni is deeply serious about making communications central to development, but the interface here needs to better reflect that. Is it time for DevNet to bite the bullet and adopt an off-the-shelf system like Ning?"
"Like other crises, the Global Journalism Crisis cannot afford to wait months or years for new members to start getting comfy with an interface like that of the DevNet, and nor can the globe itself - like trade, social, environmental and other urgencies demand fewer barriers to communication. A recent survey showed a clear preference for greater social networking tools to be made available to members across the developmental spectrum. This is a clear call to action" suggests Brown.
"This is not a complaint, more an increasingly strong suggestion."
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