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Aida Alami

Aida Alami

Posted: February 15, 2011 05:38 PM

I have always been terrified of the idea of reporting in Tunisia. Living and working in
Morocco, where press freedoms are pretty restricted, I couldn't imagine what is was like
for reporters there. I just knew it was worse. Over the years, I heard countless horror
stories about the situation for reporters there: prison, torture, all sorts of harassment and
deportation for the foreign journalists.

And then, finally, the dictator fell. Tunisia became free enough for people to speak their
minds and for reporters to tell their stories. And then Egypt happened, and most of the
world's media shifted their attention away again.

They call it Tunisia's "Year One," the date on which the country starts from scratch.
It is fitting. And with that are so many stories to be told, so many things to discover,
illuminate.

That is what led me, along with Berlin-based reporter Jabeen Bhatti, to go to Tunisia, go
to ground, so to speak, spend some days driving around Tunisia, talking to people and
figuring out what is really going on, then telling those stories.

Still, we felt a lack of interest and Jabeen and I quickly realized that we would have a
hard time financing our reporting trip. But as it felt like something we had to do, we
decided to try something new - we created a project on the crowd-sourcing platform
Kickstarter to help fund it.

We are both so new to this type of alternative funding as we both have worked for legacy
media. Although it feels strange to ask for donations to do our job, we thought we
would give it try anyway -- every little bit helps.

We wondered about ethics concerns, too and even reached out to former bosses and
professors to gauge their opinion. In the end, we couldn't figure out what the problem
would be: just because people support our stories doesn't mean any improper influence
on our coverage.

Now it seems like we are embarking on two adventures: one in Tunisia to discover and
tell stories and another, finding our way through an untraditional method to fund that
endeavor.

To see our project, click here.

And, of course, we welcome your support and help in spreading the word if you like what
you see.