Founded in February of 2014 by three Georgetown undergraduates, The Caravel was a recipient of the 2014 Georgetown International Relations Association’s Global Generations Grant in March, which enabled the project to launch online in October 2014. By December of the same year, Georgetown University recognized The Caravel as an official campus publication. Today, we pride ourselves in a staff of over 100 students, who are dedicated to providing Georgetown University with quality reporting on international affairs.
The Caravel is a weekly publication that engages the undergraduate student body in the entire production process, from research and writing to editing and administration. Our project strives to accomplish three major goals:
- To bring under-reported news into the limelight of international affairs.
- To enhance cross-cultural understanding through a unique emphasis on regional perspective and contextual analysis.
- To nurture regional specialists by providing a platform for undergraduate students to write and accumulate knowledge on specific regions.
1. Highlighting Under-Reported News
In an age of technology, the average reader suffers from an overload of information. As a result, every news agency uses a rubric to selectively report on issues and events. Traditionally, this rubric accounts for the following features: impact, timeliness, conflict, currency, prominence, proximity, and bizarreness.
Too often, though, such a rubric forces major news outlets to over-report international crises, consequently crowding out smaller, yet impactful events. Emphases on proximity and currency carry a cultural effect, providing the western reader with the news most impactful to their own culture. At the same time, concerns on currency and prominence at times force daylong reports on interesting, but at times less impactful occurrences.
The Caravel is not a traditional news agency. Our commitment is to report on every region of the world, every Tuesday at 8:00 AM. Our goal: to highlight under-reported news and allow our readers the virtue of understanding the world at large. While we cannot presume our articles to be above information bias, we train our staff to recognize this bias, while providing them with the resources to address it. Finally, the visual element of journalism prompted us to design our website in a way that exposes our readers to a structured and at-a-glance set of information. In this way, we hope to provide our readers a consistently relevant, if not unique, experience.
2. Enhancing Cross-Cultural Understanding
Furthermore, it is The Caravel’s mission to not only report the news, but to help readers truly gain insights and understanding of the different regions in the world through reading our articles. As such, we pride ourselves in adopting a combined approach of regional perspective and contextual analysis.
Traditional news media tend to choose to report news that are significant to their origin nation. In our newspaper, we try to adopt a grounds-up instead of a top-down approach, aiming to focus on news that are significant to each region, in and of itself. Much indebted to the diverse student population at Georgetown, in creating our project we are able to rely on local-language sources, writers with substantial academic or personal background in the region, and regional editors who have proven themselves familiar with their respective regions. These valuable resources are key to ensuring that we meet our goal.
Moreover, we believe that for readers to understand different regions in full, they must not only be able to know the “what” in a piece of news, but also the “why” and “how” it matters to each region. Therefore, we stress that our articles strike a balance between reporting and analyzing, framing each news event as a coherent story through which even readers who are unfamiliar with a specific region can understand the underlying dynamics of each event. We also aim to steer away from obscure writing, and instead aim to deliver accessible, comprehensive pieces that truly allow readers to digest the news. In these ways, we hope that through reading The Caravel, our readers can gain a deep understanding of a variety of regions.
There is no doubt that these are high ideals, and we are still working hard to meet the standards we have set out for ourselves. What we promise, however, is to constantly strive, and be open to all criticisms that can make us better.
3. Nurturing Regional Specialists
As a campus publication at Georgetown University, The Caravel recognizes its mission spans beyond its product to encompass our staff and on-campus presence. In fact, we designed our organizational structure to foster a culture of growth within each position of The Caravel, be it through academic enrichment, professional development, or personal growth.
We pride ourselves in providing our staff the opportunity to immerse themselves in the region of their choice, and transform their interest into a coherent product. Our researchers, the aspiring specialists, commit to following the news on a weekly basis and summarizing the occurrences in a hard-fact approach. Our writers delve more deeply into each matter, as they learn the trade of journalistic investigation by cross-referencing their sources into a single piece. Finally, our editors engage in storyboarding, merging regional events into a weekly narrative to capture their readers.
On October 11, 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue on la Niña, la Pinta, and la Santa María. Arriving in the West Indies, his voyage was the capstone to the age of discovery undertaken by the Old World, which would include Magellan’s circumnavigation of the world. Key to these discoveries were the lateen-sailed caravels; quick and versatile, the ships could navigate the rough Atlantic seas in a manner previously unknown.
Most importantly, though, the caravel – in its original model – was weaponless. In this sense, the ship was the perfect symbol of discovery: designed to explore the corners of the world without a pretense of imposition, attempting to see the world as it was, before finally mapping and sharing their newfound knowledge.
In this model, The Caravel proposes to see the world as it is and map the world anew from a regional perspective. Our regional perspective is more than a mission; it is our helm – guiding our crew, our voyages, and our product. Above all, though, The Caravel is a work-in-progress – made possible only through the hard work of our crew. As the founders of the project, we have no doubt that our current and future team, with a reliable determination, will take The Caravel to new, deeper horizons, and take part in this new age of discovery