Meet Alfred J. Sirleaf And His Chalkboard Blog
I love this. There’s a man in Monrovia, Liberia who has figured out a way to get news and current events out to his fellow countrymen. Many people in the tiny West African nation cannot afford to buy a daily newspaper let alone have internet access. So in 2000—in the middle of Liberia’s second civil war—Alfred J. Sirleaf decided to start a “blackboard newspaper” known as ‘The Daily Talk’.
He sets up shop in the middle of town where anyone who walks by can read the latest news. Alfred updates everyday. His set-up consists of a small shack—which he refers to as the ‘newsroom’—attached to the back of a series of hinged chalkboards. Each day, Alfred goes to the local internet café to scour the latest headlines. He buys a few newspapers and goes into his newsroom. From there he decides what he wants to post about and writes neatly on the blackboards. Then, he turns the hinged boards around so they face out and everyone can read his writing.
He includes ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ news and often writes in the vernacular of the area. For those who struggle to read, Alfred incorporates symbols such as a bottle of colored water to signify gasoline prices and a white handkerchief to symbolize President Obama.
Alfred is dedicated to getting out the truth. In 2000, Alfred posted news that was critical of then President (and war criminal) Charles Taylor. He was jailed and briefly exiled, but was able to return to the country and rebuild ‘The Daily Talk’ in time for the 2005 elections. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (no relation) was elected.
Alfred believes that keeping his fellow countrymen well-informed is the key to rebuilding his country.
Jump in to watch a video from Monocle where Alfred shows us how he updates everyday.