During the 12 years I spent training journalists in developing democracies, I wrote occasional letters to friends and family to give them an idea of what I was up to. Most of the countries in which I worked were sensitive to anyone putting information critical to their regimes on the Internet. In some countries, like Burma, an ill-executed phrase online could have gotten me deported and put my national colleagues in danger of arrest. Thus, this blog site has primarily been a pretty boring place – not much more than an online CV, really. I do apologize for that.
Now that I am not working in the field any longer, I can post those letters home in the hope that some of you might find them entertaining or possibly even instructive. The world of journalism training is a thrilling place, filled with courageous reporters and despots with their minions who do not hesitate to jail them for life for the smallest offense. In every place I’ve worked, the purpose of journalism has always been to inform the public accurately and fairly so that they may make good decisions for themselves and their families. For this simple goal, so many risk so much. I have not edited the letters significantly, so many of the names remained changed to protect the journalists.
The letters, spanning 2002-2013, are from, chronologically, Romania, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Azerbaijan, Maldives, Botswana, East Timor, Bosnia-Herzogovina, Myanmar and South Sudan. You can find photos from all of these place in the Photo Log on this site. I hope you find something here that will make you smile, and perhaps even wonder.
All the best, Doug Cosper
Nederland, Colorado, USA