By Nelson Graves
News-Decoder was born two years ago. We’ve learned a lot, but like most toddlers, we’re not looking back and instead are focused on our next steps.
Our readers know us mainly for our website, where we’ve published just under 500 articles since mid-2015, about half by our correspondents and the other half by young adults in our global network.
All the articles are original material — no aggregation or curation at News-Decoder — and the topics vary widely but always relate to major international issues, the thorniest problems that the millennial generation will tackle in years to come as they assume leadership roles around the world.
Much of what we do is behind the scenes with academic institutions that are our partners as we build an international community of young people and experts interested in big global problems.
We’re finishing up a two-year pilot program with 16 schools and universities in nine countries. The pilot has taught us a lot about what works and what does not, and it has paved the way for a more robust program that will start later this year.
We’ll soon be offering three new services.
So what do we do with students that does not appear on this website?
We organize webinars — online discussions — on major topics. In the past two years, we’ve examined human rights, climate change, the Middle East, populism, Syria’s civil war, the European Union, fake news, the Panama Papers, defense and security, the international economy and Islam.
Our webinars bring experts and young people together on a common platform. In some cases, the students plan, organize and execute the sessions entirely themselves. You can get a taste of some of our webinars here.
Starting in the third quarter of this year, we will be offering three new services to academic partners:
- A private discussion board for the exchange of information and perspectives on major international issues;
- Courses, both online and in-person, on writing and interviewing — crucial skills for young people as they take on academic or job challenges;
- Mentoring by News-Decoder correspondents of select students in our network.
Do you know a school or university that should be a N-D partner?
The plan is to build a not-for-profit community of academic institutions committed to broadening their students’ horizons, to engaging with schools, universities and experts in other parts of the world and to questioning conventional wisdom and preconceived notions.
News-Decoder offers students a chance to put their best foot forward, to push the envelope, to confront different viewpoints and to work with professional correspondents. The best students make use of our platform to make their voices heard.
Academic institutions can raise their international profile with News-Decoder and add a real-world, real-time dimension to their curriculum.
We’re signing up schools and universities for 2017-18 and will start planning our webinar series in weeks to come. Perhaps you know a school or university that could benefit from collaborating with News-Decoder. If so, don’t be shy — drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When I started working on News-Decoder three years ago, there was no assurance it would succeed. There is still no guarantee. But we’ve accomplished quite a bit in that time, and we have a modest but loyal and growing community of supporters who give me hope as we look to the future.
I hope you’ll continue to engage with us, calling us out if we err, encouraging our contributors to do their best, proposing topics and submitting articles. After all, you, too, are part of the News-Decoder community.