July 2009


I’m tickled to announce that the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations has agreed to take over the interactive Worker Browser site that Homelands created as part of the WORKING series.

The ILR School is the world’s leading college focused on work, employment and labor issues. Faculty, students and staff members there hope to use the Worker Browser as a teaching tool, and to link it to impressive digital resources such as daily and weekly labor news services, research databases, etc. They’re also interested in making the site more user-friendly and attracting a wider range of visitors.

The Worker Browser was developed by Thiago Demello Bueno of MadeOfPeople.org in close collaboration with yours truly. We’re proud of it, and glad that it has found a home now that the WORKING project is history.

Jon

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The profile of Kenyan marathon runner Salina Kosgei is the 29th and final feature in the WORKING series. Kenya is the 25th country we’ve visited.

It’s hard to believe that the series is coming to an end. We set out two and a half years ago to create a sort of group portrait of the working world. The best place to see if we succeeded is here. Click on the “Listen” button or the “Radio Stories” tab. You can hear the audio, see photos, and read reporters’ notebooks for each profile. You can also check out the Worker Browser, a spiffy web tool we created for this project.

As we have reported in this space, WORKING won the 2008 Sigma Delta Chi Award for Radio Feature Reporting from the Society for Professional Journalists. Also, Gregory Warner’s portrait of a miner from the Democratic Republic of Congo won a New York Festivals Silver World Medal in the “human interest” category. The series as a whole was a finalist under “community profiles.”

A huge thank-you to the many fine people who have made this project possible, and especially to our friends at Marketplace. It’s been a lovely run!

Salina Kosgei was the 10th and youngest child of poor farmers in the highlands of western Kenya. The family home had no electricity or plumbing; Salina got her first shoes at age 14. As a kid, she used to run 10 kilometers to school, barefoot, just for the fun of it. Twenty years later, she’s still running, not for kicks but for a living. It’s been a long slog, with plenty of ups and downs. Then this year she found herself elbow to elbow with the defending champ in the most prestigious marathon in the world, with the finish line in sight.

Jon Miller’s profile is scheduled to air on Marketplace on Thursday, July 16. To hear it, read more about Salina, and see 23 terrific photos by Kenyan photographer Stevie Mann, click here. The story will be posted around showtime.

What a relief to hear that Iason Athanasiadis is in Dubai, confirmedly free! We are anxious to hear what happened from Iason himself. We know that Roxana Saberi, another colleague who was held in Iran, endured much during her detention, physically and psychologically. Chilling to note that many other journalists, all Iranian, are still being held. Our thoughts are with them.

Rather than rewrite yesterday’s post (is that even allowed?) we thought we’d say that news of Iason’s release, which has been widely reported, is still at the “Iranian foreign ministry officials confirmed” level of certainty. As of this hour, we haven’t seen proof that Iason is out of custody. We’ll either confirm the news when we hear it or sneak back and delete this post (surely that is allowed – you may not be able to rewrite history, but you can always erase it!). Still, feeling hopeful.

Great news today from Tehran. Colleague Iason Athanasiadis, who was detained by Iranian authorities after reporting on the disputed elections last month, was released after more than two weeks in detention. The government of Greece and officials of the Greek Orthodox Church had been pushing hard for this. According to today’s news reports, Iason was the only non-Iranian journalist being held. Things in Iran are clearly in turmoil after yesterday’s announcement by leading clerics that the election results were invalid and the government crackdown unjustifiable. Anyway, welcome back Iason!