CAIRO – Mohamed Abdelfattah, then a young videographer for Al Ahram online, said, “I’m a journalist. Here’s my credential.”
The Egyptian policeman slapped him, and as he pushed him into a police van said, “You’re a journalist and chanting against Mubarak.”
Mai Shams El-Din was working as a news assistant at the Daily News Egypt, when she heard the crowds building in the streets right outside her window and wanted to be out there to see history in the making. But her editor stopped her from joining in and said, “No, you have a job to do here.”
Merrit Kennedy was a graduate student who flew into Cairo to continue her graduate studies in human rights law, but she “arrived to a revolution,” as her friend put it. Almost immediately, she was swept into helping National Public Radio as a translator and fixer and soon found herself covering the story, and has been ever since.
These are just three narratives of 17 talented young Egyptian and American journalists who were asked where they were when the “January 25 Revolution” in Egypt got underway, leading to 18 days of street demonstrations that ultimately ended 30 years of autocratic rule under Hosni Mubarak.
All seventeen of these journalists are here as part of a reporting fellowship titled “Covering a Revolution” which was created by GlobalPost in partnership with the New York-based non-profit organization Open Hands Initiative, which is dedicated to people-to-people understanding around the world.
With a firm belief in the mission of OHI and great gratitude for its support, the idea was for GlobalPost to bring together Egyptian and American journalists to cover a changing Egypt.
We are here as a team to learn from each other and to work together to produce a body of work that we hope will provide the GlobalPost community with a deeper understanding of the dramatic events still unfolding in Egypt as it heads toward the first round of parliamentary elections set for November 28.
I am here in Cairo leading the editorial project for GlobalPost along with colleague Gary Knight, the founder of the VII Photo Agency. GlobalPost staffers Jon Jensen, our Senior Correspondent based in Cairo, and Kevin Grant, Deputy Editor for Special Reports, are here on the ground as well leading the team in the field. We will be working with the group of 17 Egyptian and American ‘reporting fellows’ and one Egyptian ‘editing fellow’ to produce a body of work that will be geared toward telling stories from Cairo that enlighten and inform about the “continuing revolution,” as it is often referred to here.
We will be chronicling our work in a GlobalPost blog titled “Tahrir Square.” And you will see it promoted on the home page of GlobalPost throughout the 10-day fellowship and beyond. We will also be working on a GlobalPost “Special Report” which will be published in November in the run up to the first round of elections.
We hope you will follow us on this extraordinary journey.