Doing indie media: what it is

While waiting this Saturday morning for a source to Skype from Haiti, I figured I’d review DH’s last two weeks.  My first grant application’s off.  I want that money so that I can bring on more reporters and another editor who I want to be based out of Miami and Haiti.  Gathering and verifying news and going places to talk to folks-in-the-know and take pictures is expensive so I need my people to be compensated.

The jobs listings get the most hits.  Makes sense: I usually email a Haitian hometown association list (thank you, Fonkoze) after I post the listings and Kiskeácity Tweets some of DH’s posts.  I’m still trying to figure out viewer’s habits, best way to present content, when I can find time to pull together the content, etc.  That’s cool though. DH is less than two weeks old and a work in progress. I’ll figure it out.  A young woman volunteered to help me last week, as did another who’s in Haiti, so I think I’m on the right track.

I have two main audiences for this site and I’m going after the hardest, first: engaged Haitian-Americans whose fingers aren’t attached to devices 24/7 like my generation’s are.  They use the Internet but I have to figure out how and when.  I’m holding off on Twitter for the moment although I’ll have a Facebook page up soon.  I consider Twitter a steady pool; I can dip into it whenever I like and pretty much constantly receive the same enthusiastic burst of response each time.  No rush, there.  FB–and I must admit, my family’s Internet habits guide me–will be more helpful right now than Twitter in reaching my Haitian-American target audience, including the older generation.  And then there’s radio… the most important of all.  I’ll get there soon, though.

Time. That’s my scarcest resource.  I’m doing DH on top of freelancing (which doesn’t pay bills), pulling in side gigs (which does pay bills), looking for stable work (which, hopefully includes health insurance) and finishing my master’s coursework.  I sleep like a rock these days, I’m pretty exhausted.  Honestly, that’s what’ll determine the life of DH… how my stress and health hold out in the long-run.  It’s my nature to obsess over my passion but I’m trying to adopt my mum’s voice in my head, too: go the gym, go out dancing, etc.  I’ve been invited to Miami, to read great books about Haiti, to fundraisers, to join important groups, to watch The Agronomist, to keep working on DH, to try Barbancourt. But this Bajan is still waiting for somebody to invite me to a Haitian fête.  Imagine that.

Speaking of books, I just finished Danticat’s, Farming of the Bones.  I’m a fan of historical fiction; it tells the truth far truer than newspapers or history books ever could.  I’ve been told to next check out The Black Jacobins (which I read when I was, like, 13** so I can’t remember much), Damming the Flood and Why the Cocks Fight.

Of the above, which should I read first?  Feel free to recommend more, especially fiction.  I don’t speak French or Kreyol yet but I can read Spanish if there’s an important Latin American perspective on Haiti or the Caribbean that I should also read.

** I was at a white prep school. Before I hit 9th grade I’d read The Black Jacobins, The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Kaffir Boy.  What can I say, I felt like I needed them, then. (I’m smiling)

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