The Blackboard Blogger

Blackboard Blogger

Alfred Sirleaf is an analog blogger. He take runs the “Daily News”, a news hut by the side of a major road in the middle of Monrovia. He started it a number of years ago, stating that he wanted to get news into the hands of those who couldn’t afford newspapers, in the language that they could understand.

Alfred serves as a reminder to the rest of us, that simple is often better, just because it works. The lack of electricity never throws him off. The lack of funding means he’s creative in ways that he recruits people from around the city and country to report news to him. He uses his cell phone as the major point of connection between him and the 10,000 (he says) that read his blackboard daily.

Simple, practical, easy ways to get a message out.

2 Replies to “The Blackboard Blogger”

  1. This was first published on NYT a few years ago, what’s so striking is how mobile phones have enabled him to be connected, but, like a good blogger, he duty shares the most relevant daily knowledge with a growing tribe of followers.

  2. From NY Times:

    “Mr. Sirleaf is something of an information evangelist, fervent in his belief that a well-informed citizenry is the key to the rebirth of his homeland, ravaged by 14 years of civil war. As the nation slowly comes back from the brink of annihilation, he said, he wants to make sure every Liberian can keep up with the news and play a part in the country’s young democratic government.

    For those who can read, Mr. Sirleaf writes up his succinct reports on the panels of his blackboard in a meticulous hand. “I try to write it really clear and simple so people can read it far away, even if they are driving by,” he explained.

    On July 25, the day before Liberia’s Independence Day, he wrote in bold letters above the day’s story: “CAMPAIGN TRUST BETRAY?” The story dealt with the promise made by Liberia’s new president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, perhaps a distant relative of his, to provide electrical power to at least part of the city by Independence Day and to restore at least part of the water system that was destroyed in the war. Monrovia has not had electricity, aside from that supplied by private generators, for more than 14 years. “

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