Iran Election Guide

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1          What is EA Worldview?

In November 2008, a group of journalists and academics in Birmingham launched a blog called “Enduring America”, dedicated to providing thoughtful analysis of US foreign policy and what "America" means in the world of the 21st century.

Within weeks that approach had changed. We still were offering evaluation of the American approach, but --- beginning with the experience of covering the Gaza War of 2008/9 --- we saw a need to provide news as well as analysis of critical areas in the world, areas where stories were not necessarily making it to the mainstream media.

That belief was furthered as we decided to cover the post-election protests in Iran in 2009, and the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa. By September 2010, "Enduring America" had become "EA Worldview" to reflect our changed perception that we were not starting from the US and looking out, but starting from the "local" situation, from Tehran to Cairo to Manama to Damascus.

We are now dedicated to providing fast-paced, incisive updates on developing events with analysis on what they mean --- in Iran, across the Middle East and North Africa, and in other areas of global concern. Our live reporting typically runs for 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, and during major events the team strives for 24-hour coverage.

EA WorldView's commentary and analysis still considers America, but it does so alongside Iran, Syria, Bahrain, Turkey, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Israel, Palestine, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, with the hope of more to come. As such, the “EA” now represents “Expert Analysis” on some of the most pressing concerns facing the 21st century.

EA WorldView is still run by a very small team on a voluntary basis, with some staff working full-time.

2          Where does EA get its funding?

Right now, all of EA's funding comes from the advertising that is visible on the website, and from donations from readers like you.

3          How can EA produce this much content when EA’s staff works on a voluntary basis? 

To be honest, a lot of belief in the importance of bringing out the news, a lot of help from our sources and readers, and more than a little craziness.

It's a challenge. We want not only to continue our current level of coverage but to expand the range of countries where we provided specialise live news and analysis.

So we are seeking investment to turn EA WorldView into a long-term, sustainable venture at the forefront of international journalism. In the interim period, we are asking our readers to help with a short-term influx of funds so our content is not scaled back.

4          Why does EA rely heavily on the reports from activists or social-media sources?

Whenever possible, EA relies on tried-and-true sources, traditional media, or independent fact-finding agencies. However, EA has become successful because there are limitations imposed on those outlets, In places like Syria, Iran, and Bahrain, free and independent media do not exist. Elsewhere, traditional media may not have resources in place to report on a developing story.

So we think it is necessary to turn to eyewitness and activist accounts to figure out what is happening on the other side of the world. These non-traditional sources, eyewitnesses, and social media do not replace our other sources but complement them, ensuring we get out news, even in the most different countries to provide coverage.

5          How does EA know that the alternative sources it uses are reliable?

We combine, assess, and verify information from multiple sources such as social media, activist networks, video-analysis specialists, and field correspondents. We analyse this through the lenses of journalists, academics, and area experts. This means we can triangulate and cross-verify claimed information.

What does that mean in plain English? We check YouTube videos to check to see if footage has been edited, tampered with, at the same time as we assess whether it has information to pinpoint when and where it was taken. We map geographical areas where activists claim events have taken place to look for patterns, and we compare this data with reports from journalists or direct sources.

There are lots of ways to verify information, but the time-proven way is to have an objective witness. When this is not available, we do the best we can.

EA is also dedicated to making sure that the reader understands how much we trust each report we post. We try not to post rumour or unverified news, but sometimes we feel the need to do so. Sometimes, for instance, we post news of a potentially dangerous situation, a rumour that is widespread on various social media or news outlets, or news that we're trying to "crowd-source". Whenever we do this, we warn the reader that the report is unconfirmed or potentially unreliable.

EA's writers have built strong relationships with contacts inside the countries that we cover, sources that have proven themselves reliable.

Who are these sources? Sometimes they are friends, colleagues, or acquaintances. Sometimes they are activists, eyewitnesses, or other anonymous sources who have proven their credibility. Even the longest-running sources, however, are constantly tested against other available evidence.

6          What is EA's track record? How reliable has their news proven to be?

We think we have proven time and time again to be a fast, reliable, and cutting-edge news and analysis service. Our coverage has been influential in some cases, cited by media organisations such as Time magazine, Al Jazeera, NPR, The Daily Beast, The Atlantic, the BBC, Der Spiegel, The New York Times, Il Tiempo, Reuters, and The Guardian, among others. And in other cases, such as Iran or Bahrain, it is more than citation; in the front line of bringing out news and evaluating it.

7          Why does EA only cover a few areas of the world?

EA Worldview is run by a small team. So we focus on the stories about which we have specialist knowledge and where we have something to add. Some important stories get lots of coverage, so we are not sure that we can carve out a space for our contribution. On some important stories, we may not have the ability to devote adequate resources at this point to provide the best coverage.

On Iran, however, we already had expertise and experience of the country before the disputed Presidential elections of 2009, so we felt that we could make a difference with Live Coverage and analysis. And when we saw the protest in Iran in 2009 develop in the different context of Tunisia in December 2010, we made the decision to devote Live Coverage to that country and, eventually, all the areas of the "Arab Spring".

There are more stories we are hoping to cover. With your support, we may get there.

8          Can I make a donation to EA?

Absolutely. While we are seeking a long-term platform for expanded coverage, we are currently operating on an all-volunteer basis. We hope that you might be able to help us out with a small donation in that quest to sustain quality content, every day of the week.

Thanks to all of you for your support.

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