Marie was born in Belgian but has lived in Germany, France, Canada and the UK. After completing a Bachelor’s degree in History (specialization Genocide studies) at Montreal’s Concordia University, Marie volunteered in a clinic for malnourished children in Ghana and then went to Rwanda for two months to work for a local NGOs for post-genocide victims. In 2010, she moved to London, UK, where she completed a Master’s degree in Conflict, Security and Development at King’s College London. Marie wrote her dissertation on the challenges of post-genocide reconciliation in Rwanda.
Currently, Marie works as the Assistant to the Director at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS). She contributes to the Institute’s various projects and manages a team of interns who work on MIGS’ Media Monitoring Project, which is intended to provide early warning of genocide and mass atrocity crimes. Marie also works on MIGS’ Will to Intervene Project, conducting research on genocide prevention and organizing the project’s events. In her spare time, Marie’s enjoys travelling and reading.
What makes a great social media site?
Three words: usability, accessibility and clarity. If the website is not user-friendly, then I can easily give up. The goal is to get to the content fast and easily.
Where do you go for great content online? Why there?
Because I read several newspaper articles (in German, French and English) a day I usually go to my favourite newspaper websites first. I also have several blogs that I visit twice a week or so. If I want the latest news, Twitter is the best platform. It’s also great to get a hold of articles I would never had been aware of I stuck only to my top newspapers.
What’s your favourite type of content (infographics, interviews, thought pieces, studies, etc) and why?
I think they all have their pros. Infographics are a great to visualize data. I do think you have to be careful when analyzing them but they are an effective way to communicate knowledge in a condensed way. The main problem I see is that they are too generic – you do have to dig deeper in order to fully understand an issue.
Thought pieces are probably my favourite type of content because, if the author is good, he/she is going to get the facts right and is going to really analyze an issue and its consequences. I like getting an author’s point of view because I feel like I can agree or disagree, and then make up my own mind. It goes beyond reading an article that is only going to give the facts and you can engage with the content.
Which of your Newsana pitches are you most proud of?
Anything related to mass atrocity prevention, especially in countries that people don’t think about or don’t even know exist. Burma and the Central African Republic would be two of them. Everybody think Burma has embarked on a large range of reforms, which is true, but human rights abuses are also being committed that not a lot of people are aware of. For the Central African Republic, I think the problem is that many people just think of it as another complicated issue in Africa. The situation is worse than chaotic right now but the general public, and many policy makers, are not really engaged.
What’s the best part of Newsana?
The different themes are interesting and somewhat different from other news website. For example, there is a section on the responsibility to protect. The section is still growing but a good way to raise awareness on issues related to mass atrocity prevention. For an Institute like MIGS, it’s good opportunity to raise awareness to our cause.
Because the members themselves create the content, Newsana is a good way to see the issue people are interested in. Often, you’ll read content that cannot necessarily be found in mainstream media. For example, I’ve been reading a lot about LGBT rights, something that you don’t necessarily see everyday on TV or in newspapers. Newsana is a different and innovative way to consume news.
MIGS and Newsana also recently organized a live chat on the conflict in Syria. It’s an excellent way to get practitioners and the general public together. They can debate and discuss, raise awareness on an issue, and learn from each other. Having a news site that allows experts to answer the questions of the general public is something that is crucial I think because they don’t often get the opportunity to interact.