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Political Provocateurs Expose Kenya’s “MaVultures”

A new website linking corruption and other scandals to high-ranking Kenyan politicians, created by a team of political provocateurs, has become one of the most-visited web pages in the country.

MaVulture.com, which means “many vultures” in Swahili, aims to collect, condense, and air the past wrongdoings of Kenya’s political class. Going live on Nov. 13, the site is the latest project from activist Boniface Mwangi, known for his political graffiti murals around Nairobi and his photographic exhibitions that documented the violent aftermath of the 2007 presidential elections.

Read the rest of this story by Mike Elkin with additional reporting by me, in Inter Press Service news agency: [html] [pdf]

Boniface Mwangi. Photo: Mike Elkin

Nairobi photographer inspires political action

Nairobi photographer Boniface Mwangi is fed up with his country’s politicians. To raise awareness, he’s taking an in-your-face approach with a graffiti campaign, political art show and online newspaper.

This audio package first appeared in Deutsche Welle’s Generation Change podcast and blog: [mp3] [html].

Photos and additional reporting by Mike Elkin

 

 

Alternative Research Metrics

Most scientific researchers know the agony of waiting to hear about the status of a submitted manuscript. They are eager to change the phrase “manuscript submitted” on a grant application or curriculum vitae to “in press” in advance of some crucial deadline. Publications in prestigious journals—not necessarily the articles themselves but the fact of their existence—are the established and universal, albeit imperfect, way of claiming credit for the scientific work you’ve done, and there’s always a delay.

But when sociologist Margarita Mooney of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, recently applied for a grant, she was able to take instant credit for one aspect of her work: the readership of her blog, as documented by Google Analytics. When she told the review committee that her team blog, Black, White and Gray, had 15,000 page views in its first month, rising to 20,000 views in later months, they were impressed, she recalls. Blog readership is not a traditional measure of scholarship, but the committee, which was also evaluating public impact, rewarded her for it. She won the grant.

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