The Swahili word “tutawaza” means “we will think, reflect, imagine.”
The Tutawaza website will publish journalism that focuses on efforts to solve important but seemingly insoluble problems. It will examine innovative proposals and experiments for addressing public needs in the United States and around the world.
Traditional journalism pursues the vital work of reporting news events and investigating the uses and abuses of power. It often dissects problems but does not systematically discuss ideas for solving those problems.
Politicians take partisan stances on the issues. Advocacy groups champion their preferred solutions. Scholars generate ideas that may not reach as wide an audience as needed.
The public can feel overwhelmed by complex problems, irreconcilable positions and partisan sniping. People may doubt whether the political system can meet such challenges as fighting impunity, improving schools, reducing crime and incarceration rates, developing secure and humane immigration policies, making foreign aid more effective, countering corruption, and lowering energy consumption and pollution.
Tutawaza will seek stories about initiatives to tackle such challenges. It will scrutinize the efforts and discuss multiple perspectives on the issues. The goal is to make a wider public aware of such proposals and to encourage public engagement in devising solutions to persistent problems.
Tutawaza was founded by Barbara Borst, who teaches journalism and international affairs at New York University. She worked in South Africa and Kenya for five years and in France for another five. She has reported from Africa, Europe and North America for The Associated Press, The Boston Globe, The Dallas Morning News, The Los Angeles Times, The Denver Post and Inter Press Service, among others. She has written for GlobalPost and is a Huffington Post blogger.