Pitch an investigation idea to our Community Civic Media Observatory

The Civic Media Observatory (CMO), a research branch of Global Voices, has worked since 2019 to investigate how narratives are constructed in our media ecosystems. Thanks to the local knowledge of researchers from over 30 countries, we have contributed to the civic debate as well as the mitigation of harm caused by media narratives. 

Today, we are excited to broaden our scope and announce the launch of the Community Civic Media Observatory. The observatory will maintain the same methodological structure as previous CMOs and help foster the Global Voices community at large by bringing in more people who want to collaborate with us.

At the Community CMO, we want to give space for authors to pitch their ideas, use the observatory’s tools, and publish their findings. Once authors are onboard, they may also be commissioned work by the CMO team. 

How to get involved

The Community CMO employs an innovative methodology to analyze local media ecosystems, for which our community’s insights are invaluable. Researchers will be trained in that methodology, research, and publish their findings in stories on Global Voices and the CMO’s newsletter, Undertones. A team of editors will support researchers along the way. 

This project will provide a unique perspective on media landscapes from around the world, and help to promote informed and engaged citizens. Researchers will be compensated for their research and published work.

There are two main ways to get involved: 

1. Participate in one of the CMO’s open trainings 

Trainings will happen once every two weeks. The CMO team will introduce the methodology and goals to you on a one-hour-long call onZoom. No pitch is necessary at this point, trainings are open to anyone interested in what we do at the Civic Media Observatory. 

Here are the dates of our next trainings: 

2. You can use our pitch form and send us one of your research ideas. Here are some examples of stories we’ve published that illustrate what we are looking for: 

Pitch us an idea based on the narratives you see forming in the media ecosystem in the country you want to cover.  

To spot a narrative, you might ask yourself: How are people talking about this topic? Who are the groups or individuals benefiting from this idea? How is this narrative spreading? What are the possible harms or benefits for society around this idea?

After an internal review process, we will get in touch with you to start your research training. Eventually, your pitch can become a Global Voices story and/or the next Undertones newsletter!

You will be asked to join the editors in a call to agree on a rate and deliverables. 

At the moment, our main working language is English. However, if you would like to send us your pitch in another language, please email us and we will discuss the feasibility of working in that language. 

About the Civic Media Observatory 

The CMO is at the crossroads between a research lab and a newsroom. Over the past three years, we have launched investigations on media narratives about Taiwan’s 2020 elections, COVID-19, Ethiopia’s civil conflict, China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and digital authoritarianism, among many country-specific analyses. Undertones, the CMO’s newsletter, provides a biweekly digest of our researchers’ findings.

You can learn more about the CMO in this interview with Giovana Fleck, the CMO’s project lead. 

We are excited to embark on this new project with the Global Voices community. We encourage all interested authors to submit their pitches here or contact Giovana Fleck for any questions.

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