When’s the last time you heard news from Iraqi Kurdistan?


The autonomous Kurdish region is a very turbulent area, an contentious buffer between Turkey and Iraq. Relations are tense between the Turkish and the Kurds. A 2007 bombing along the border left 6 Turkish soldiers dead. Turkey reciprocated later that year, by bombing parts of northern Iraq in an attempt to attack the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a militant Kurdish organization, who Turkey believed was behind the bombing.

Yet, despite this inherent conflict, the conflict in the region goes by unnoticed, and the area is not generally talked about in the media (unless Herman Cain was really referring to Kurdistan, when talking about “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan“).

Now, as the pet project of  the Tiziano Project, they are trying to shed a light on this oft-negleced part of the world.

The Tiziano Project, led by executive director Jon Vidar, is slowly expanding. The group’s most recent project, Tiziano 360, trained 12 locals in Iraq in journalism, and had them produce a website that “documents the life, culture, and news in present day Iraqi Kurdistan.”

Now, they have the help of a $200,000 Knight News Challenge grant, they have the possibility of expanding even further.

Yet, the idea of the project remains the same: to use journalism to affect change locally. They just value the unorthodoxy of this new kind of journalism, and see that it has a certain potential.

“There’s three types of content producers now,” Vidar said to the Nieman Journalism Lab. “The professional journalist; the citizen producer — the everyday guy uploading to YouTube; and then there’s the intermediate. They’re not professional journalists, but active commentators, people who use in an in-depth way. We want to elevate the people who are taking cellphone video and posting it to YouTube — elevate them to the next level.”