News brief for those interested in information communication technology and cultural diplomacy. A recent story on NPR’s Day to Day highlighted a college’s attempt to reachout and communicate directly with Iraqis.
War News Radio uses Skype and Yahoo messenging, and their respective directory systems, to contact English-speaking Iraqis. This type of grassroots outreach demonstrates more than journalism adapting to technology and barriers to interview (another story on NPR’s Morning Edition interviewed a reporter who no longer interviews the "person on the street" due to security problems). Technology may enable the so-called CNN Effect, but it also facilitates this type of peer to peer grassroots communication.
The online awareness and recruiting the led to the "Battle in Seattle", cultural diplomacy outreach could be advantaged by leveraging these technologies at the individual level. The Cold War United States Information Service facilities, vast (and less micromanaged) VOA broadcasts, and other cultural reachouts (thanks to the Honorable Helms) may be past relics, but these technology options may fill an important niche in the modern security-challenged era.
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