New donations to Cuba Connected

Another generous donor has come through with valuable tools for Cuban journalists. Check them out below, and click here to see how you can donate items. Remember that the items don’t have to be new or even functional. If it can’t be used in Cuba, it an be sold to raise money for other hardware.

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CPJ: Cuban journalist exiled to Spain, joins 15 others

From Committee to Protect Journalists:

New York, September 27, 2010–Imprisoned Cuban journalist Miguel Galván Gutierrez was released from jail and flown to Madrid on Saturday as part of a July agreement between the Havana government and the Catholic Church. Sixteen journalists jailed in the 2003 Black Spring crackdown have now been freed and exiled as part of the agreement.

Click here for the whole story.

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To tweet a bit or to tweet a lot?

Fast Company‘s Adam Penenberg (best known for exposing Stephen Glass’ journalistic fraud, which later became the basis for the movie Shattered Glass) recently made headlines when he broke a story about a major verdict against Ford, which had been sued over the death of the New York Mets’ Brian Cole, who died when his Explorer rolled over.

While the Ford story was big news, the groundbreaking thing about it was how Penenberg got the story out. In what he describes as a “Tweetapalooza”, the journalist cranked out a story over a thousand words long… one 140-character-or-less tweet at a time.

While this may seem like a novel project that most journalists would only want to reproduce in some kind of emergency, some journalists—like those in Cuba, for instance—might be able to learn a lot from Penenberg’s tweetathlon. After all, he not only broke the story, but got others in the mainstream media to pay attention and follow his lead.

Caimán Journalism Training is working on ways to frame this as a case study for Cuban journalists to draw from as they look for new, innovative ways to break through—or walk around—the obstacles their government puts in their way. While we all want to see Cubans have access to the tools many of the rest of us take for granted, pioneers like Adam Penenberg demonstrate that there’s plenty Cubans can accomplish with just the phones in their pockets.

—Nicolás A. Jiménez

On a lighter (but still related) note, here is one of my favorite tweets from Penenberg. This one’s directed at his peers, who he obviously felt could have done more to seek out a big story.

You can follow Adam Penenberg’s Twitterings here.

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World Movement for Democracy interview

The World Movement for Democracy just posted this interview with CJT’s Nicolás Jiménez.

Cuban laws, such as Law 88, “Law of Protection of National Independence and the Economy of Cuba,” limit freedom of expression and press. How does CJT encourage journalists in Cuba to contribute to a free and independent press despite these restrictions?

As technology puts more of the power of big media outlets into the pockets of countless Cubans, laws like Law 88—along with much of the rest of the nonsense in Cuba’s Constitution and penal code—is being made largely impossible to enforce with any efficiency. Cubans are beginning to realize that the risks of speaking out are slowly shrinking.

That said, those risks are not disappearing. CJT is conscious of the fact that to speak out in Cuba is to put a lot on the line, including one’s livelihood and physical freedom. The key is to encourage Cuban journalists to minimize the risk in ways that also maximize the potential of their work.

Click here to see the whole interview.

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More items sent our way for Cuba Connected

Here are some more items we’ve had given to us by donors who want to help empower Cuban journalists.

Aquí están algunas de las cosas que han sido donadas por gente que quiere ayudar a los periodistas independientes cubanos.

Click here to learn how you can put valuable tools in the hands of those who are writing Cuba’s history.

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More gadgets from generous donors

The gadgets just keep rolling in. Here are two of the latest donations.

Both of these are extremely useful tools. The Blackberry Bold 9000 has a built-in camera, WiFi and bluetooth capability, and a good mobile web browser. Plus, this particular phone is unlocked, so while it is useful enough without a service plan, it has the potential to connect a journalist who needs to make phone calls and send texts.

The Sony Cybershot might look a bit dated, but 4 megapixels is more than enough for any Cuban journalist with a blog or other online publication. Plus, it’s in great shape.

Just two more examples of the kinds of things we’re looking for. More donation images coming soon.

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Upgrading to the iPhone 4? Let a Cuban journalist use that useless antique 3G…

Seriously, though, the iPhone can open a lot of doors for Cubans on the island. Even without a service plan.

Journalists especially could benefit from the device, as it would give them a machine that gets online, shoots video and stills, records audio, and could even make Skype calls over a WiFi connection (wherever these might happen to be available in Cuba).

If you’re upgrading to the iPhone 4 (or any other smartphone), consider sending your old smartphone our way for the Cuba Connected project. Even if it’s not working, we might be able to swap parts with another phone and send an invaluable resource to a journalist in Cuba.

Here are two iPhones we’ve gotten already:

"I remember back when it took a whole 5 seconds to load videos of skateboarding dogs..."

Note: We can’t make use of ALL phones. We only plan to keep smart phones that would have substantial functionality even without paying for cellular service. However, we will ACCEPT any phone donation. If we find that we can’t use your phone for our purposes, we will pass it along to Raíces de Esperanza for that organization’s Cell Phones For Cuba initiative, which gets phones to the Cuban population more broadly (not just journalists) and with a focus on phone calls and SMS.

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