When humanitarians, tech and media join forces: discovering CDAC

Can you fall in love with an organisation? I think I’m smitten by the CDAC network. I can’t quite remember how I stumbled across them but I became aware of their work just days before they put on the Media and Tech Fair at Google’s London HQ last week.

For those who couldn’t make it to the event the proceedings were streamed live online. Honestly it was amazing to be able to tune in to such relevant, insightful and thought-provoking discussions.

Pretty much all of the panellist were conversing on exactly the issues that I’ve been musing over in the course of my studies –

1)      ways to make aid genuinely more accountable to the people it is supposed to serve

2)      why humanitarianism needs to take on some of the values more commonly associated with development

3)      how to make use of the diaspora in emergencies

4)      where to strike the most efficient balance in the use of technology  in responding to crises

5)      how to ensure that online data is enabling yet challenge people’s right to privacy or worse still fall into the wrong hands…

I only managed to catch a couple of hours on the first day but I’m waiting in eager anticipation for them to upload the rest of the material from the sessions that took place over two days. For anyone interested in positive, innovative approaches to humanitarianism this is must-watch information and a must-follow organisation.

Financial crisis = televisual crack

Here is another one of those “no shit Sherlock” reports.  A report commissioned by Sky News reports that television reports about the banking crisis having had the biggest impact on British viewers of any news story in the last 20 years.

Isn’t it slightly disingenuous to report this as news? Anyone working in a TV newsroom in Britain has known since that collapse of Northern Rock, if not slightly before that (if they were paying attention), there was nothing to grab the viewing public’s attention like the power of nightmares heading straight for their bank balance.

It was like the worst reality show you could imagine. The mighty tumbled, the unexpected became reality and further still each twist and turn directly impacted upon the life of you, the viewer. We couldn’t have asked for a better story.

And in the sharpest twist of fate the story which we peddled, stoking the flames on the fire of fear, has now bitten us in the tail. UK media has been hit so hard by the advertising downturn bought on by the financial crisis brought on by the credit crunch that we so snappily through into the common vernacular.

Who could have asked for a better story with a better arc?

More than 2,000 people were asked which stories had most interested them and their families and 50 per cent nominated the ongoing financial crisis.

The November 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York came second with 29 per cent.

Other events nominated include the 1997 election and the death of Princess Diana.

But when people were asked which news story had the biggest impact on the world the November 11 attacks came out on top.

The You Gov poll of 2,338 adults was commissioned to mark 20 years of Sky News.

A Sky News spokeswoman said: “The survey shows that there is a clear distinction between what people see as the biggest stories to the outside world, and what directly impacts them and their loved ones the most.

“9/11 was indisputably one of the biggest stories of the last 20 years, but when it comes to what has impacted Britons the most, the current financial crisis clearly has had the biggest impact as it directly affects their way of life and future prospects.”

Even online advertising is doomed

In the second quarter of 2008, the online revenue of the Newspaper Association of America was down 2.4 per cent compared with last year, to $777 million.

This is the first year-over-year drop since the group began measuring online revenue in 2003.

Maybe it’s time to bail on the media game in the UK and start farming cocoa and nutmeg with my grandfather in the Caribbean!