Last summer, The Correspondent began signing up ambassadors for its crowdfunding campaign, which aimed to raise $2.5 million in just a month's time. These ambassadors would be tasked with promoting the expansion of Dutch publication De Correspondent into the U.S. and English and explaining the reasons to support it.
One of the people recruiting ambassadors was The Correspondent's first U.S. employee, Zainab Shah, and one of the people she reached out to was Mariam Durrani, an anthropologist who teaches at Hamilton College and whose research focuses on Muslim youth.
Durrani tentatively agreed. One of the topics she studies is the growth of Islamophobia, something certain news organizations have played a role in. "I'm interested in news media that tries to challenge some of the status quo discourse," she told me. But before she would commit fully, she said, she wanted more information about what The Correspondent would actually be, beyond a set of appealing principles.
"I was still waiting to hear more substantively about what it was going to do in the U.S.," she said. "They have no record in the U.S. And as the campaign developed, I thought at some point there would be a teaser, a preview: 'Here are some of the kinds of stories we've been talking to people about.'"
But that substance never came. For Durrani, the organization wasn't being transparent enough about what it would publish in the U.S. She decided she didn't have enough information to be a U.S. ambassador, and declined.
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