An open source android app, with interactive training guides, point of production guides,

and story templates for users to learn how to produce the best multimedia stories they can. (click to view project)

Mobile Community Zimbabwe

A platform that gives ambitious young Zimbabweans space to share and exchange information through mobile phones, video and social media.  (click to view project)

Media Training & Sat Phone Safety

Our best practices for producing media as well as using a Satellite Phone safely. Boiled down into two PDF guides. Available in English and Arabic. (click to view project)

Alive in Libya

Established in March 2011, Alive in Libya was the earliest source for free and independent news created by Libyan journalists after the revolution. (click to view project)

Alive in Egypt

A focused effort to help bring the voices of Egyptians directly to those who could not understand Arabic. (click to view project)

Alive in Baghdad

Through the work of a team of Americans and Iraqi correspondents on the ground, Alive in Baghdad showed the conflict through the voices of Iraqis. (click to view project)


New Guide Maps Social-First Strategy for Media Organizations

Get the PDF Now It’s no secret that news organizations old and new, large and small, are trying to figure out how to best leverage social media and mobile tools to enhance reporting and build audience. Here is what doesn’t work: a haphazard or tacked-on use of mobile/social based on little more than how we use […]


Mobile Matters in Afghanistan

There are lots of reasons why mobile devices are replacing computers as the primary platform for social media and citizen journalism. Mobiles are portable. They can shoot photo and video. They are cheaper than computers. In Afghanistan there are some additional advantages to mobiles. A computer will get the attention of Taliban at a checkpoint. […]

11 StoryMaker-SMALL

StoryMaker in Sarajevo

When floods gripped the Balkans, Radio Slobodna realized the agency needed a new approach to effectively cover the events. Several reporters lost their recording equipment. Where this wasn’t the case, the tools of radio reporting were just not enough to completely tell the story. Radio could impart how citizens felt, but lacked the kind of […]


Educating Afghans by Radio

Ahead of the Afghan Presidential election, Impassion Afghanistan approached Small World News about creating a citizen journalism curriculum for delivery by radio. Given our previous experience in the country, particularly during the 2009 and 2010 elections, we were excited at the opportunity. The goal was simple, teach Afghan’s to participate in the Paiwandgah citizen journalism […]


UN OCHA Begins StoryMaker Training

When crises strike, the United Nations Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), is consistently among the first institutions to intervene.. On the scene when violence recently re-ignited in the Central African Republic and immediately responsive to devastation caused by the 2012 typhoon that struck Tacloban in the Philippines, OCHA field officers are among few […]

Tattered tents bake in the sun in Ruweishid, Jordan. Many Iraqis became stranded here in 2006 after fleeing violence in neighboring Iraq. shot by Brian Conley

Asynchronous Social Media

I spend a lot of time thinking about how to tell stories better. Everyday emerging technology is altering the way we think of storytelling. Storytelling choices and methods should be rooted in a clear understanding of your goals and specific needs. These goals must also be tempered by your available resources. Finally you want to […]


Affordable StoryMaker Mobile Production Kit: A Review

Getting started with mobile production? Let’s look at the gear you’ll need. Smartphones have become default cameras for a lot of people, especially because “the camera you use is the camera you have.” A new twist is that a data connection and the ability to upload from the field makes a camera live– crucial for […]


A Basic Guide to Using Microphones with Mobiles

Small World News develops educational and training materials to support its core mission of expanding the reach of local storytellers in zones of crisis, conflict, and transition. Our guides are designed to make technology approachable for anyone motivated to capture a story, while providing information that has a demonstrable effect on raising the quality of […]

Medium Shot

Teaching Composition in StoryMaker

When you’re just starting out taking photos or videos, learning proper framing is the first step to making good images. A lot of amateur photo and video is hampered by poor framing choices– bad use of space, a distracting background, an odd placement of subjects will all distract the audience from your intended goal. In […]

Credit: John Smock

Videos from Germa News Brought to You by StoryMaker

In September, Small World News worked with the Germa News Agency in Sebha, Libya to begin integrating StoryMaker into their production workflow. We’re proud to announce that they will be leveraging StoryMaker as their primary tool for multimedia reporting. Combining StoryMaker with affordable, cutting edge android-based devices and entry-level accessories enabled Germa to produce a […]


StoryMaker at Work: Mobile Community Zimbabwe

Earlier this year, Small World News was privileged to participate in an innovative and exciting project to bring stories out of Zimbabwe, a country where citizens are sidelined by a repressive government and a lack of press freedom. A rigged election in July 2013 maintained the rule of Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party, further […]


Trainee Profile: Mustafa from Ghat

Author: John Smock Photographer: John Smock Sometimes during trainings you get participants who arrive with solid skills and a developed drive to be better journalists. It’s great when it happens. More often you get participants with little experience, an opaque idea of what journalism is and a stifling lack of confidence. The single most rewarding […]


StoryMaker Downloads Surpass 5,000

Small World News can announce today that its StoryMaker app has been downloaded more than 5,000 times by Android users in the U.S., Europe, Africa and the Middle East. In April 2013 SWN released the beta version of StoryMaker, an open-source Android app that helps anyone create great video, photo, and audio stories using their […]

Credit: John Smock

Gearing up the Germa in Sebha, Libya

Author: Brian Coney Photographer: John Smock The Germa or Garama people lived in the Fezzan region of southern Libya starting from approximately 3000 years ago. The Germa News Agency, based in Sebha, takes its name from this ancient civilization. I am currently in Sebha, Libya, with my co-trainers, John Smock and Mohamed Nasri. Germa, launched by IWPR […]

Credit: John Smock

Accelerating Journalism in Remote Southern Libya

Author: John Smock Photographer: John Smock September 23, 2013– We arrived in Sebha, a wind-swept Saharan town about 400 miles south of Tripoli, almost a week ago. Originally built around a hilltop fort, Sebha for centuries worked as a crossroads through the desert. Today it’s a military town and the regional hub for agriculture and […]

Free Libya Graffiti

Libya, Two Years Later

by Jonathan Pednault Squeezed between the sea and the walls of the old city, the Corinthia hotel once droned with swarms of squatting journalists and activists that anxiously awaited the capture of colonel Gaddafi, drinking pitch-dark Nescafés on tables coated with ashes and unwashed plates of half-eaten meals. Nowadays, the luxurious building has reverted to […]

Istanbul Blog Post

Working With Syrians in Istanbul

This account of SWN’s workshop for Syrian media producers in partnership with IWPR was written by Mark Rendeiro, whose work can be seen at A podcast featuring students from the workshop can be heard here. This past April, Louis Abelman and myself went to Istanbul to give a video story telling workshop specifically for […]


Taking Training Further

This week I’m in Berlin for an event organized by Tactical Tech, meeting with various trainers in the digital security space. The big question on the table is how to improve materials available to trainers. The bulk of materials in this space are written as informational material for end-users. If you want to increase the […]


4 Ted Talks Worth Watching

The International Center for Journalists’ IJNet and Mashable recently recommended Brian Conley’s Tedx talk as one of “4 Ted Talks Worth Watching.” You can check out Brian’s talk below, and then see the others on Margaret Looney’s original article. Citizen Journalism is Reshaping the World

Tunisia Road Trip

Testing on the Road in Tunisia

We are fast approaching the release date of our multimedia storytelling app. In recognition of this, Steve and I have been doing some field testing with local colleagues, to work out any last minute kinks and get an overall sense of the functionality and reliability of the framework we’ve prepared. One of our primary angles […]


Shoot 24 Shots

In the last few weeks I’ve been watching even more news then I normally do, and watching the same clips over and over again to better understand the skeleton that makes up a story. I began recording the packages and breaking them down afterwards. I’ve started with Al Jazeera first, and I have only done it […]


Finding Formulas in Filmmaking

As part of our forthcoming multimedia storytelling app, we are working on simplifying video composition. One of the app’s primary features is to provide training to the users. Each user will be able to improve her multimedia production skills as she learns to use the app. In order to ensure the app provides the greatest […]


Friends Kidnapped in Libya

One week ago, today, two video journalists from the city of Misurata were kidnapped while covering Libya’s historic national elections. I had the pleasure to meet and work with these men during my recent trip there with my colleague and co-trainer Louis Abelman in May 2012. Abdelqadr Fassouk and Yusuf Badi worked together as part […]


Shooting Environmental Portraits

This one-day workshop harnessed two powerful resources for rebuilding Libya: students and photojournalism. Small World News partnered with 1Libya, a Tripoli-based NGO working on civil society, communications and media development, to host the workshop. The 12 university student participants brought loads of enthusiasm and creative energy. This generation of Libyan has grown up on the […]


Tempering Enthusiasm with Professionalism

The Misrata trainees have so far done justice to their town’s reputation as a hard-working, can-do kind of place, and are well on their way to fulfilling the mission we set out: to produce four videos in four days. They seemed to be satisfied with our second day spent covering production basics, as many of […]

click to download the guide.

Satellite Phone Safety Guide

This week we released our latest guide. The new guide is an attempt to assist those who are forced to rely on satellite phones for communication, particularly in conflict areas and repressive states. Satellite phones are all closed source technology, making them an incredibly risky tool to rely on in life threatening situations. Because satellite […]