Internews is an international non-profit organization that helps empower people by providing them with the resources to be able to have a voice in their community and in the world. With a budget of about $75 million dollars and a global staff of about 700 employees, Internews is a fairly small international NGO compared to its contractors because it helps with assistance more than acquisition. The organization addresses the issue of information poverty and inequality, which limits freedom of speech and access to quality education. The organization’s plan is to provide access to diverse content, to help people create quality content, to include those who historically haven’t had access information in the flow and creation of news, and to provide more opportunities to engage communities using the media. Because a lot of people in the world don’t have access to a free press or the resources to build a free press, Internews helps to create news stations, online publications, and papers. It also trains local journalists in order to provide places that are in conflict zones, post-conflict zones, extreme poverty, and closed and closing societies to be able to have access to factual, propaganda-free news.
The company’s mission statement is focused on greatly expanding the information and knowledge people have, but it’s no small matter to successfully provide communities with these powerful tools during times of political and social turmoil. Brian Hanley has been the regional director for Internews in Asia since the fall of 2015 and is based out of the office we visited in Bangkok, Thailand. Their biggest programming initiative is in Afghanistan, because “everyone wants to get out of Afghanistan, so we try to give them hope to stay,” Hanley said. Some of the largest roadblocks not only in Afghanistan but the other places they are located (their programs span 5 continents) is the war-torn regions that many citizens live in and the prevention of the free flow of news by the government. Despite the opposition, Internews makes sure to partner with organizations that support content produced by marginalized people, including women, youth, and disabled people.
The success that the organization has had in furthering its mission to provide quality information to people in under-resourced and oppressed areas can be shown from the number of news outlets it has helped build, and but when it comes to analyzing the social impact of the work that Internews is doing it can be difficult because of the few funds the organization is allocated to spend on evaluations. The organization is primarily funded by multilateral donors like USAID and the World Health Organization and is only 5-10% private philanthropy so they focus most of their efforts on maintaining and expanding the current projects. The organization is not responsible for the creation of the content so it doesn’t have the power over the quality or diversity of the content being produced. However, Internews localizes their approaches so as to be more sustainable within a community.
is a junior at the University of Southern California from Berkeley, California studying journalism and human rights. In the past, she has worked for the youth desk of National Public Radio and as both a correspondent and producer for Annenberg Radio News and Anneberg's International desk. Savannah has been traveling internationally since she was 6 months old as most of her family lives abroad (her father being from Jamaica and her mother from England). She enjoys and is focused on reporting on policy reform and politics and is interested in pursuing a career as a foreign correspondent or as a producer of advocacy journalism for a non-profit.