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The GOOD 100: Tehran Bureau

This past summer, as Iran was gripped by street protests and violent government crackdowns, the reporting in the U.S. media left much to be desired.

A Case Study

This past summer, as Iran was gripped by street protests and violent government crackdowns, the reporting in the U.S. media left much to be desired. How do you get news out of a country that barely tolerates reporters? For many, the answer was the Tehran Bureau, a scrappy website run by Kelly Niknejad that published reports from Iran alongside commentary from knowledgeable sources. Soon, the site was being quoted and cited across the news media, traffic was rising-and then the site was mysteriously disabled during the most intense days of postelection conflict (its been back up since). While Iran may have faded somewhat from the forefront of the news, it seems destined to have a key role to play in international events, and we'll need the Tehran Bureau more than ever.


Mission

To be an independent source of news for Iran and Iranians around the world.Vitals About 80,000 readers a month; more than 21,000 Twitter followers.

Accolades

Quoted in The New York Times and on the BBC, ABC, and CNN, among others; now syndicated by Agence Global (Le Monde, The Nation); shut down by hackers, possibly the Iranian government.

Why it works

Most media outlets have scant resources invested in reporting from Iran despite its position as a country that is often in the center of the news. Reporting from within the country is hard to come by due to government control of news and crackdowns on free expression. "Everything we did had an angle nobody else had," says Niknejad. "It had the authenticity of someone based in Tehran." The site publishes many stories without bylines for the safety of its reporters, but has cultivated an impressive network of writers in and outside of Iran, who can both break news and interpret it faster and more accurately than bigger news sources.Plans for the future New contributors; video and audio submissions.

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