Stories from Helmand, Afghanistan – report or no report?

Global for me Tickerjust in…


UPDATE: This story pitch was supported by users and produced by freelancer Jerome Starkey. The videos – “At the tip of the surge” and “Helmand’s Little America” – can be seen in our Exclusives section.

Morning, bloggers!

Kim here, with today’s possible story update from Global for me.

Consider this a fast-forming habit: on a weekly or even daily basis (pending on how news flies), GFM will look ahead and uncover story possibilities using our own resources.

Remember, GFM is an offshoot of freelance news agency, Global Radio News. And since our GRN parent manages 600 freelance correspondents throughout the world, occasionally a neat story may come up from where you least expect.

It’s all about connecting to the reporter behind the news desk – or in this case, the reporter working in the field.

So here’s something from one of our correspondents in Afghanistan…


Afghanistan correspondent Jerome Starkey

Stories from Helmand, Afghanistan

by Freelancer Jerome Starkey

HELMAND, Afghanistan – Exclusive report from the heart of Helmand, by freelancer Jerome Starkey, pictured right.

What do ordinary people in Afghanistan think about western troops, the Taliban and the renewed American military surge? A look into the politics and anxieties of wartime.

In the personal scope, how are displaced or separated families? What of those that have lost relatives since the bombs fell in 2001? How is life eight years later? A look into the human cost of war, on a local scale.

Also: a bizarre result of the 20th century. Afghans are quick to remind British troops of their three bloody defeats under the Raj decades ago, but bizarrely, in Lashkar Gah, locals have fond memories of the Americans. The town was largely built on US aid dollars in the 1950s as Moscow and Washington competed for influence. It used to be called “Little America.” There are rows of 1950s-style houses built for American development staff.

Today, that same aid infrastructure is used to irrigate the poppy fields, which often leads to money in Taliban pockets. It remains to be seen if American dollars can wean Afghani people off poppies and the Taliban.

From Jerome’s e-mail:

Sent: 21 June 12:48
Subject: Story Ideas: Lashkar Gah

A trips come together very last minute. I am heading down to Lashkar Gah tomorrow (from Kabul) on the first commercial air service in 30 years. I’m desperate to find a video buyer for a few complete packages.

As far as I know it will be the first time there’s been a British journalist in Lash, without the military, for a year – so it’s virgin territory in terms of access and stories.

GFM brings light to this story on the day of a new US troop surge under President Barack Obama, the first of his presidency. Read the full pitch on our main website here.


What’s next?

To get this story told, GFM needs both user interest and donations to pay for this correspondent’s work.

In this case, the donated money goes to freelancer Jerome Starkey, for working hard in the field and bringing this story to you.

Think of it as simply paying for a story you can’t find anywhere else.

Think on it, consider it. Share your ideas with us by e-mail or in the comment box below.

If you’re already interested in making this story happen, let us know straight away!

See you!

Kim

–GFM Team


E-mail your story ideas to  

GFM would like to thank Flickr user shuttermonkey for the light bulb graphic used in this post.

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