In response to the impact of the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, media organizations are joining forces to lend a hand to the nation’s newspapers, the American Society of Newspaper Editors announced today.
The ASNE — in conjunction with the Inter American Press Association, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the National Association of Black Journalists, Poder Magazine, the Poynter Institute and Unity: Journalists of Color — has raised seed money and recruited former Miami Herald editorial page editor Joe Oglesby to head up the project. Participants will work to give tents to journalists who became homeless as a result of the quake and furnish them with equipment and training.
A preliminary report by Miami Herald reporters Trenton Daniel and Martin Merzer found that Haiti’s two main newspapers, Le Nouvelliste and Le Matin — both published in French and read by roughly 10 percent of the population — served an outsized function in pre-quake Haitian public affairs. The papers served as seminal sources of news that typically is rebroadcast on radio.
Both newspapers sustained significant staff losses, mostly through attrition rather than death and injury.
While the Haiti News Project will focus on helping Haitian print journalism, the Inter News Network has begun work with the radio industry, the dominant source of news for Haitians.