The Kathmandu Valley, or for that matter the Valley of Nepal, or the country itself is also fertile enough to deliver its share in creative explorations on technology and media!
“Gufa” in Nepali language refers to a cave, which is symbolic of the wisdom of the sages, a place for contemplation. The event seeks to refresh the craft of reporting and writing, to engage professionals with new tools and approaches in the changing media environment, and to reconnect them with the communities that need their services.
It started in 2012, as a research cum professional project to examine the scope and prospects of new media as accessible, reliable and credible tools of reporting in Nepal.
There are two strands of the Gufa event, the urban and the rural. In the first event, participants are kept in seclusion for several days from everything but computers or hand-held devices with uninterrupted access to the internet. The mission behind the closed door on the internet: find out the actual value of new media and their content in the development of news stories on issues that matter to the everyday lives of ordinary citizens in a developing country. Thus the project attempts to add to the globally growing body of work focusing on the implications of internet/new media/social media for the future of journalism and communication practices.
In the rural event, a naturalistic reporting challenge, participants are challenged to live in the rural setting and report on stories of vital importance to the local community, following a rigorous approach to sourcing, verification and attribution. All forms of new technologies, such as the mobile phones, internet and social media are banned throughout the 72-hour event. The project thus seeks to promote rural reporting by challenging professionals to live in a village and to write stories relevant to their lives, based on story ideas suggested by the villagers themselves.
In both cases, a team of researchers monitors, observes and records the event. The lessons and findings along with the stories are compiled with the objective to enrich the professonal expereince. The event is organized by Media Foundation- Nepal with support coming from a number of like-minded organizatons and individual enterpreneurs.
The event was conceived and is directed by Dharma Adhikari, a co-initiator of MF-N. Rajneesh Bhandari is the coordinator. Arun Rai is the outreach officer, and Prabhat Kiran Koirala is the logistics officer.
Although the idea started with an individual, many people and organizations have contributed to make the idea a reality. They have offered professional expertise, logistical and financial support as well as volunteered their time and skills. Media Gufa is essentially a volunteer-driven event. We are are always looking for more supporters (donors, volunteers, sponsors etc) to continue to organize the event in the future and thus benefit more professonals, especially from rural areas of Nepal. We love to hear from you. Please drop us a line and let us know.
Anybody can nominate at least 3 names of journalists or tech-savvy media professionals to participate in the Media Gufa event. However, nominations received only via email or social media channels will be considered.
An open call for nominations is usually made in August.