GV Board Elections 2017: Rezwan

I'm honored to have been nominated as a staff representative, and if elected I will do my best to make sure that the voices of the community, especially the staff, are well represented at the Board level. We have a great set of deserving candidates both for staff representation and volunteer representation and I am excited by the campaign messages by the candidates so far. It is no surprise that so many of us care deeply about Global Voices and take steps so that it continues to grow and make impacts.

At BlogFest Asia 2012 in Siem Reap. Image credit Willy Wah.

Me & Global Voices:

I am a Bangladeshi blogger and researcher. My past experiences include being a consultant for UNDP, working for a multinational market research company and editorship in AJ+ and Rising Voices. In the past decade, I have lived in a number of countries and traveled to over 25 countries. I speak three languages fluently and have a working knowledge of three more.

My journey with Global Voices started as a volunteer author in 2005 and since then I have seen the community evolve to the current state. In 2007 I initiated the Global Voices Bangla Lingua community and became the editor. In 2008 I became a staff member as regional editor for South Asia. I participated in all the Global Voices summits since 2006 and have met so many of you in person. Global Voices has become a family for me and I've had the opportunity to experience GV through each of these roles, from volunteer to a staff member. I have a good understanding of how GV operates and have good relation with many of the board members and editors, as well as team members. I regularly engage and contribute to informal conversations on Global Voices Slack, WhatsApp and Instagram channels. I also maintain and operate the social media accounts of the Global Voices South Asia and Global Voices Bangla Lingua sites.

My Teams

The South Asia region is an important region with approximately one-fourth of the World’s population. The different politics, culture, language and religion makes it hard complex for the newsroom to cover the region. My advantage is that from the early days of blogging I have watched the blog networks grow in this region and I am connected with the network of bloggers in many countries in this region.

I also lead a great Lingua team which has published more than 7500 posts over the years and the site has a steady flow of posts each month.

Global Voices South Asia team in Chile, 2010. Image by author.

This is how my newsrooms operate – we do not set agenda vertically, but the volunteer authors or translators can bring up suggestions and steer Global Voices to a direction. In Global Voices management, the community also plays an important role in decision making and defining what we want GV to be. The role of the representatives, both staff and volunteer are important as they act as a bridge between the decision makers (the board) and the community – communicating the needs, ideas, and concerns from the community.

Key Challenges

I think the key challenge of maintaining and keeping the ever-growing community engaging engaged is keeping it well-integrated via communication. The communication is essential between editors of different regions and between the volunteer team members. Over the years we have experimented with different platforms, from Google groups to internal blogs, WhatsApp group or Slack. And different teams had the liberty to chose what works best for them and nothing is set in stone.

Also, I think we should increase our interpersonal relations and the best of it is enhanced over a cup of coffee. When I go to a new city, I wish to meet a Global Voices contributor, more than a relative. That’s how you feel that you belong to a family.

GV Faces. Global Voices Citizen Media Summit Kenya 2012. Check my Flickr album for more faces.

I know the main challenges of the staff members, mainly the editors. The Global Voices community is very fluid. There are newcomers and at the same time, there are many who become inactive all the time. I think as a staff member we should at first respect the volunteer contribution and be sensitive with communication with them. We should be acknowledging the fact that many team members are older than us and possess more experience in journalism and the industry and in fact we can learn from them. Editing is always a two-way process and I admire how our sub-editors do make a good example of how this should be done.

There is also another challenge – how to keep the team motivated at all times. They should be informed about the democracy and transparency of Global Voices and that they have a role in shaping Global Voices’ future.  And I think the main characteristics of many of our contributors is activism. Volunteer authors do not simply contribute because they have to, but because maybe they feel they need to use the Global Voices platform to connect to a wider audience. This is a critical time for the world and it needs Global Voices for more than ever. The volunteers can take this opportunity to advance their causes in Global Voices style.

Happiness in Motion. The Global Voices Family at the Citizen Media Summit in Cebu, Philippines 2015.

GV In The Future

I would like to help close the gap of expectations vs. outcome all around by better understanding of the reality. Here are some of my thoughts and ideas as GV moves towards the future:

1. I think the Global Voices contents think the Global Voices contents can be marketed to a wider audience in many local languages. Our main English and Lingua contents can be shared widely by making more local partnerships and we may need a dedicated team of content marketers.

2. We should be available to hear concerns from the community and receive ideas at any time. There have been experiments like Global Voices after-hours chat, a job which the staff and volunteer reps can do wholeheartedly. I also would like to propose a grievance mailbox with the option for anonymous submission to make comments and suggestions/grievances heard to the persons who can step in and resolve.

3. Although our coverages are excellent, we miss many stories that can impact countries globally because of lack of volunteers willing to do it. Perhaps we can conduct a monthly audit of stories missed/ stories covered and brainstorm on how this leakage can be plugged and we can publish more stories.

4. Thanks to Sahar and Lauren we now have comprehensive guides for Global Voices authors. However, some have given feedback that they have not read all of it and need an interpretation of some of the sections. I will work with others to arrange consultations on these techniques and guides for volunteers across the teams.

I would request you to vote for me because I have enough time to give to Global Voices. For the past decade, I have shaped my life around it and I am more comfortable working remotely across different time zones and I am always connected via different social media. So I will be available to the staff members, the community and the board members at all times, considering the time differences.

I believe Global Voices is a wonderful platform steered by some extraordinary people from all over the world and it has all the power to sustain and thrive more and reach to more people. I wish my co-candidates the best of luck. Please let me know via this comment section or my Twitter (@rezwan) if you have any question. Happy Voting!

Global Voices members at GV Summit in Kenya 2012. Image by author.

10 comments

  • A thorough and detailed program! Good luck Rezwan :)

  • Excellent trajectory and presentation. My admiration and respect dear Rezwan.
    A warm hug!

  • All the best, Rezwan

  • Thanks for all the encouragements. If you have any question please let me know.

  • Hi Rezwan – here is a question that I’m posing to all of the candidates, as a way to encourage discussion during the last couple of days of campaigning:

    1.) If you are elected board member, what would be the most critical challenge facing Global Voices that you would make your top priority to help address over the next three years? And why do you feel like addressing this challenge is especially important for our community?

    • Hi Eddie,

      I think the most critical challenge facing Global Voices is finding a constant flow of volunteer authors who will use the Global Voices platform and keep it marching according to its mission. The community members helped Global Voices travel to where it is now and in the face of changing scenarios we need them more than ever. Due to the proliferation of social media tools, especial in local languages, readers are turning away from blogs. So it’s a challenge to keep them motivated to contribute to Global Voices continue creating important and deliver relevant contents in multiple channels (blogpost, photostory, podcast, text-to-speech friendly, explanatory subtitled videos etc.). We need the help of our community members for this to happen. They can ask and inspire potential contributors around them and request them to join us. We can only grow and thrive with more and more contributors.

      Thanks & regards,

      Rezwan

  • Hi Rezwan,

    Love the details in your post! Inspired by Eddie, I’m asking all the candidates a question too.

    Do you have any thoughts on how Global Voices can scale the trust we’ve built internally in our community to larger audiences outside of our community, so we can make more of the world look like GV?

    I don’t think there are any right or wrong answers to this question. In fact, I’m not sure I have answers myself (!), but would love to hear any thoughts that it inspires.

    Good luck in the election! So many inspiring friends representing, it’s going to be a difficult choice for all of us.

    Best,
    Sahar

    • Thanks Sahar for your kind words.

      Here is the answer to your question:

      We can make efforts to make Global Voices known to larger communities, especially local and non-English. We have the Lingua community who can make a bridge. They can post the translations of GV English posts in the local language communities and engage there. Our community members can go to local social media events and make presentations about GV and what we do, why we do it.

      Also, we can inspire GV style local communities in local languages who will curate and publish the conversation in their community for the readers who matter to them. Later we can highlight important conversations in the main GV platform from there.

      Please let me know if you have more questions.

      Thanks & regards,

      Rezwan

  • Laura Vidal

    What a great presentation of ideas. I agree with you at every point, Rezwan. I think the idea of working with volunteers that have different rhythms and learning how to recognize and make the best of them is really important. There’s a bit of work I think should be done to connect the different groups and regions while respecting their particularities. All the best for you!

  • Thanks a lot Laura for your nice words. Yes, connecting different groups and regions is a huge task which we are trying to solve by using tools like WhatsApp and Slack.

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