Compelled by a news agenda with the attention span of a flea, it is rare enough for journalists to return to stories they have previously covered. But to return to the same African village community every 10 years, as I have since 1985, is more unusual still – especially when there is no ‘news value’ to the story and when the individuals featured are ‘unknown’. I regard this long-term project in Burkina Faso as probably my most significant journalistic achievement in what is now quite a long career – and the New Internationalist’s readiness to publish it perhaps indicates what sets it apart as a magazine.
In 17 pages there is only so much you can show, of course. And for that reason we have made much more use than usual of the extra resources and infinite space that our website affords us. We have created an internet hub that offers many more ‘Then and Now’ photographs than we have been able to include here on the printed page, more detail on particular stories as they developed, as well as a few short video clips. Please do take up our invitation to delve deeper by going to nin.tl/villagehub
We’re also pleased to announce that our web documentary on life after Ebola was highly commended at the AIB broadcasting awards last year. You can still catch it here: nin.tl/backintouch
Finally, with the March edition under way – our 500th – we are working hard behind the scenes on perhaps our most ambitious plan in 44 years of publishing at New Internationalist – a community share issue that will give you the opportunity to co-own us.
In March we’re launching the biggest ever media community share offer and inviting you – our amazing readers – to become our co-owners.
So, what’s a community share offer? It’s when a group of people who believe in something come together to make it happen. You buy community shares, but these are not the same as corporate shares – they’re not driven by profit. You invest in the world you want to live in and in return you become a co-owner of New Internationalist.
This investment, underpinned by a robust business plan, will transform what we do and create an ethical and sustainable media business model for the 21st century.
Want to find out more? Please register your interest online at: nin.tl/own-us
Chris Brazier for the New Internationalist co-operative.
Chris Brazier returns to the village in Burkina Faso that he has visited every 10 years since helping to make a film there in 1985.
There is a new road to Sabtenga and, remarkably, I am travelling along it – gingerly, and with no small danger to the life and limb of those around me – on a motor scooter. In a way the changes in my mode of transport have mirrored developments locally.
When I first came here, in 1985, I was part of a film crew with its hired four-wheel-drive vehicle carrying equipment and fording streams, though once in the village itself I went everywhere on foot. In 1995, on my first solo return, I walked...
How the village has grown - and some facts about how things have changed.
Chris Brazier's full interview with François Moné, the village's latest Chief.