As Digital Eves is celebrating the achievements of pioneering women, a lot of research took place into women’s issues, including global issues about poverty and the environment. First thoughts were to provide some background history. The statistics were bleak:
“According to the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) at the London School of Economics, it would take 150 years for the income gap between the two genders to close up due to discrimination and ineffective government policies.”
If you wish to know more about this, please take a look at the full article published by The Indian Express on Friday 18 July 2006.
The research continued and then – thanks to Google – World Pulse Media Enterprise and PulseWire shone through as a shining examples of positive action. Here are a group of people working together to make sure the tools are available so that everyone can have a voice. I was very keen to get in touch with the founder of World Pulse Media, Jensine Larsen, and discover more about her inspirational journey.
It was obvious that Jensine was a very busy lady and I was really unsure if she’d had enough time to take part in the interviews. But like our other Digital Eves, Judy and Karen, Jensine’s commitment to her work gives her an energy that is totally infectious and it was a very happy moment when I received her reply to my first e-mail. Not only had Jensine happily agreed to share her story, but, by providing extracts from other interviews and pdf documents, Jensine also provided a great insight into a truly innovative project.
An extract from Jensine’s October 2006 mail is below:
“You may be interested to know that I am devoting the bulk of my time to a breakthrough Internet communications tool for the movement to empower women worldwide. It is called PulseWire. PulseWire is an interactive Internet communications tool designed to strengthen grassroots women’s networks globally through the direct exchange of knowledge, working models and resources.
We compare it to a grassroots CNN, meets Craigslist, meets MoveOn.org. It will be a central resource platform that will allow frontline women leaders, many who are just coming online to upload their own multi-media stories/reporting, post their needs, generate movements and share their solutions to a global audience.
It is a pioneering effort designing interactive media technology in service to women by directly testing and dialoging with frontline leaders, many in remote and impoverished regions.”
About Jensine Larsen
At the age of 28, after many years as a freelance journalist reporting on indigenous movements and ethnic cleansing in South America and Southeast Asia, Jensine Larsen was inspired to create a magazine which evolved into an interactive media enterprise and a breakthrough interactive communications tool. She made her dream of broadcasting “the voices and solutions of women worldwide” – a reality.
By empowering herself and inspiring those around her, Jensine and her dedicated and professional team of supporters have provided the tools so people can easily reach out to help each other.
Jensine’s profile (extract from pdf below) provides a brief insight into what motivated her to move from freelance journalist to magazine publishing to interactive media enterprise.
As a young freelance journalist covering indigenous movements and ethnic cleansing in South America and Southeast Asia, Jensine (Yen-See Nah) Larsen had a vision—to use the power of media to unleash the creative human potential of women across the globe. “Through new media we have the power to connect and build a bold global community, to support each other’s dreams, restore our earth, heal society, and care for our children,” Larsen explains.
A few years later, at age 28, Larsen began publishing her flagship project—World Pulse Magazine. Today, with her eye on the future of communications technology in the developing world, Larsen is now building an interactive global media company designed to connect women worldwide.
As a passionate social entrepreneur and leader, Larsen has organized a dedicated staff and team of professional advisors and volunteers, supporting networks of international women’s organizations, leading journalists from around the world as well as endorsements from international luminaries and visionaries.
She has her finger on the global pulse of women’s and youth voices and is increasingly sought after for inspirational keynotes, current affairs lectures, and radio programs. She is featured on GreatWomenSpeakers.com and has appeared on NPR and Air America and presented keynotes at Hewlett Packard, Bioneers, Bennett College, and the Boulder Conference on World Affairs. She is considered one of Portland, Oregon’s up and coming “Young Creatives” according to The Oregonian (2/2/06).
Both a visionary and pioneer, Jensine is the first voice
Graduate to Launch National Media Enterprise
Before discussing the development of World Pulse Media and the PulseWire project it would be interesting to discover more about Jensine’s own journey. Below, Jensine talks about her formative years in this interview with Maggie Ginsberg-Schutz. Extracts from the interview are reproduced with the kind permission of Maggie Ginsberg-Schutz.
Jensine’s remembers her days at Mount Horeb High School, Wisconsin.
“During my time at Mount Horeb High School there was a lot of harsh name calling,” Larsen recalled. “For sexuality, for my views on the Iraq war, for my work with the ecology club. Even though I was very shy my way of dealing with it was going to the school newspaper and publishing letters, starting forums. I really learned to be idealistic in the face of difficult odds.”
Later in the interview Jensine talks more about the great support she had that helped her to find the financial resources needed to create the World Pulse initiative.
“My first $5000 came from the people I babysat for for ten years,” said Larsen. “They said, ‘if anybody can do this, you can.’ That was crucial, all that support. People in my life were saying ‘we believe in you. You can do this.’”
Jensine’s vision inspired her to grow personally and to understand the project from a business perspective.
“I realized at a certain point that here I was trying to fulfil a very large vision and I was operating on a scarcity model,” said Larsen. “And that if I really believed in the power and the value of these voices as I was saying, then we needed to develop a business model that would live up to it and to ask for what we needed to build the company.”
In the same interview in July 2006, Jensine reviews her vision of herself and the journey she has taken.
“I find myself now, a country farm girl, at the top of a lot of high, tall, glass buildings, with men in business suits, looking out over cities. I am learning how to play in the old boys’ network and transform it from the inside. And that’s a lot of fun.”
“I like how men think big,” she continued. “They are very natural about the amount of resources required to build strong businesses. It’s just not even a question. I knew when I started I would meet these incredible
women, but I did not realize how many incredible men I would meet.”
Jensine travels the USA giving key note speeches and had to conquer her own shyness and fear of public speaking to do this.
“It never goes away,” she said. “But I’ve done it enough now to know that it really impacts people. People are usually very powerfully inspired afterwards and that’s worth it. I try to focus less on what are they thinking of me and more on I have something inside very powerful to express so I’m just going to let it out.”
Jensine concludes the interview with Maggie Ginsberg-Schutz with a brief analysis of the platform that World Pulse has created for thought-leaders who needed a media source to connect and share their innovations with the world.
“Women began writing from all around the world who so desperately wanted to be covered by us because no one else was publishing their voices,” said Larsen. “I tapped into a real, rising, tangible desire of women to connect. They want to hear real stories, they want a media source they trust, they want to hear things that are working. I think women are looking for a media that has soul. And that’s what we are, a media with soul.”
Copyright 2006. Schutz Ink, LLC. Maggie Ginsberg-Schutz
Creating a Craigslist for the global women’s movement
Jensine and the World Pulse team grew and began to diversify.
The article below was published in the Fall/Winter 2006 issue of Oregon Humanities by Mary Rechner. The article is reproduced with the kind permission of Mary Rechner and again, this provides further insight into the momentum of World Pulse and PulseWire.
Fall/Winter 2006: On Principle
Field Work: World Pulse Redux
Creating a Craigslist for the global women’s movement
Hybrids often represent an improvement on earlier models: hybrid cars, efficient and economical, run on a combination of electricity and gasoline; hybrid roses are both beautiful and hardy. Portland-based World Pulse began as a magazine that published in-depth articles about women and children around the world. After three well-received issues (the magazine was nominated for Best International Coverage 2004 and 2005 as well as Best New Title of 2004 by the Utne Independent Press Awards), its founder and editor, Jensine Larsen, is creating a hybrid of her own: something she describes as a for-profit/nonprofit “social media enterprise that can reach millions through print, web, events, radio, and television.” For the corps of “social entrepreneurs” of which Larsen considers herself a member, neither the nonprofit nor the for-profit model meets the need for social change.
As a young reporter covering indigenous and refugee communities in South America and Southeast Asia, Larsen envisioned a publication that “covered world issues from a woman’s point of view.” Back in Portland, at age twenty-eight, she set out to create just such a magazine. She began in 2002 by developing a nonprofit, World Birth Forum, to generate funding. In 2004, the premiere issue of World Pulse magazine was released with a circulation of 10,000. With an impressive editorial guiding council that includes Mariane Pearl, Lisa Ling, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Winona LaDuke, the magazine focuses on the stories of women and children working successfully to repair their war-torn and poverty-damaged worlds. Though the articles often cover grave topics such as human trafficking, female genital mutilation, and orphans in Africa, the magazine is ultimately upbeat and inspiring. It urges readers to go beyond simply being aware of aproblem and participate directly in its resolution by writing letters or e-mails and making donations. Each article concludes with contact information and suggestions about how readers can get involved. The magazine’s Tsunami Action and Synergy departments provide additional information about a huge range of women’s and children’s organizations, from the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (www.awid.org) to Portland’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls (www.girlsrockcamp.org). Though part of the magazine is dedicated to reviews of transglobal books, music, and movies–such as Diana Abu-Jaber’s memoir, The Language of Baklava; Siren’s Echo, an album by hip-hop duo Psalms of the Sirens; and Googoosh: Iran’s Daughter, a film by Farhad Zamani–the focus is on active political and social engagement rather than passive cultural exploration.
World Pulse is still available on the web (www.worldpulsemagazine.com), with PDF versions of past issues, as well as new articles, but Larsen and her team of journalists, designers, translators, and attorneys are preparing for the magazine’s transformation. The plan is to release a new print issue of World Pulse magazine in 2008 to coincide with the launch of the for-profit enterprise World Pulse Media and the non-profit website PulseWire. The new circulation goal for the print magazine is 100,000, which, according to Larsen, will cost $3 million–a capital requirement large enough to be deemed outside the realm of nonprofit fundraising, which necessitated the creation of two legally distinct entities with entirely separate staffs.
World Pulse Media will include an e-newsletter, World Pulse magazine, events, tours, radio and internet video, and sustainable products. PulseWire will be a multimedia web publication and include a resource exchange bulletin board, which Larsen describes as “a craigslist for the global women’s movement.”
Larsen believes that a wider audience tuned to world events will inspire more global awareness and involvement. In the early twentieth century, muckrakers exposed social injustice in popular periodicals. But Larsen isn’t content to confine her message to a magazine. In this new millennium, equipped with new technology, her hybrid may become a blueprint for other media-savvy activists
Published in the Fall/Winter 2006 issue of Oregon Humanities.
© 2006 Oregon Council for the Humanities
PulseWire interactive web portal
Mary Rechner’s article beautifully describes the potential of the World Pulse Media Enterprise and the PulseWire project. It’s clear that the hub of all of this activity is to provide the tools so people can connect via grassroots networks. PulseWire’s focus is clearly described in a pdf file Jensine sent to me in October 2006 as follows:
A Rising Power:
The power to tell her story and solutions to the world.
We are on the brink of a great unleashing of human potential. From Iran to India, Chile, and Saudi Arabia, women’s web publishing is flourishing.
Women front line leaders, entrepreneurs, journalists and activists are beginning to use the web and cell phones to document urgent events, exchange critical knowledge, and develop support networks.
PulseWire connects women from the Global South and the Global North in a network to share stories, resources, and working models – and to build influential movements.
Breaking Through Paralysis
Women in the Global North are often overwhelmed with the magnitude of global problems and busy lives and they don’t know where to begin to make a difference. They seek personal connection.
Women front line leaders in the Global South often lack the access to a platform where they can be heard by audiences that can support them. They often don’t have the luxury of time or resources to surf the web extensively to find the resources and outlets they seek.
•Real-time multi-media reporting
•Resource exchange and networking
PulseWire supports innovations in: HIV/AIDS
A Kenyan HIV/AIDS leader can learn effective prevention curriculum for schoolgirls from other African leaders in the field.
Urgent Event Documentation
A Guatemalan journalist can report on and document police brutality from her cell phone.
Afghan women making baby bouncers out of old bicycle tires can share their business model and find new sources.
A trusted editorial service
Accessibility: PulseWire is accessible with rudimentary technology from cell phones to slow dial ups. A citizen media toolkit will train women to easily blog and upload their own photos, video, and audio. Multi-lingual capacity is planned.
Authenticity: Editorial Curators verify and corroborate featured stories through our trusted editorial network. An editorial seal of approval assures readers that information is from a reliable source.
Diversity: Our Editorial Action Center proactively reaches into remote and impoverished regions through our network to engage voices that are systematically under-heard.
Magnification: We will syndicate story and lead services to mainstream media such as Reuters and BBC to amplify breaking news through women’s eyes.
Technology designed by and for women
•User-centered design and development
•Global grassroots partnerships
•Leading corporate and technology partners
•Strategic brand marketing to leaders of women’s networks and grassroots circles worldwide.
All images from the pdf file supplied by Jensine Larsen.
PulseWire is a 501 © 3 organization and a part of the World Pulse Media Enterprise
The Inspiration behind the World Pulse Media Enterprise
Jensine, thank you so much for agreeing to share the story of your journey and for providing information about your background, the development of the World Pulse Media Enterprise and the PulseWire initiative.
I’m keen to hear more about the progress of the PulseWire project but first could you please talk about the inspiration behind the World Pulse Media Enterprise. You created the World Pulse magazine with no previous publishing experience. The magazine was very impressive and it has now evolved into something truly impressive and far reaching. What was the key event that made you decide you had to start this amazing journey?
“I was working as a free-lance journalist along the Burma-Thailand border covering the stories of women refugees who had fled ethnic cleansing inside of Burma. When I interviewed these women, instead of being filled with despair, I was filled with courage and hope. They had flames of determination in their eyes, strong visions for their country’s future, and they were building road maps together, locally and globally, to realize those visions. Even in the face of unimaginable odds, with no resources and no homeland under their feet, they were finding a way to do what they could to create a better life for their children and families. Again and again they told me that they yearned for the rest of the world to hear their stories and ideas.
At the time, I dreamed of a magazine that could broadcast the voices and solutions of women worldwide. I realized that women’s global leadership was rising everywhere, from remote villages to international courts and corporate boardrooms, and that these thought-leaders would need a media source to connect and share their innovations with the world.
However, as a young 23-year-old woman, I pushed my vision to the back of my mind because I didn’t believe that I was the one to do it. Although I could travel into isolated nations ruled by brutal dictatorships without fear, I was terrified to start a business. I was shy, had no financial resources and no publishing experience whatsoever. But the voices of my beloved friends from Burma, kept returning to me over the years. I knew they continued to risk their lives to free their country from repression and fear.
At 28, in 2002, I realized that I could no longer deny my passion for this vision, and that the risk was tiny compared to the bravery of my friends from Burma. I began to speak about my vision for World Pulse and I found that many other people shared my dream and they came forward to help.”
Due to travelling and schedules there was a short break in our correspondence between December 2006 – March 2007. It was great to catch up with the World Pulse Media Enterprise’s latest progress with the PulseWire initiative and to gain an insight into Jensine’s own personal inspiration with the closing questions of the interview.
2007 and beyond
Jensine, I can see that you’ve been very busy since we last exchanged mails in December 2006 and the PulseWire web portal is now at beta test phase. Exciting and positive progress. What are the next steps for 2007?
“We recently completed our prototype of PulseWire with a very small, dedicated team that worked long hours to develop our concept. We sometimes joke that this core team is like the “camels that carried the jewel across the desert.” Now, we have a full, experienced team and we are about to embark on our beta phase, where we will test PulseWire with networks that are building solutions to the top 3 greatest threats to women and girls in the world: HIV/AIDS, human trafficking, and environmental destruction.
We are all excited and scared because of the enormity of the task and the potential, creating a tool that crosses so many political, cultural and economic divides. We are all aware that we will learn a tremendous amount through a process of deep listening to the real needs of women on the ground. We may have to completely redesign our concept, but we are prepared mentally for this and we will be adaptable and agile in service to our mission.
Once we complete our beta, we plan to open the site to our wider community in a soft launch in the fall of 2007.”
Role Models and Personal Inspiration
Jensine, this hugely exciting and again, many thanks for providing some space in your very busy days to take part in the Digital Eves interviews and sharing your personal story and the story of the World Pulse Media Enterprise with us. For the final closing questions it would be good to hear any words of inspiration you have for others.
Who were/are your role models?
“Aung San Suu Kyi, for her unwavering commitment to freedom from fear for the people of Burma. She lights my path, and for millions in Burma and the world.
Eleanor Rooseveltfor single handedly opening journalism as an serious opportunity for women in this country by hosting briefings with only women journalists, which pressed newsrooms to hire women reporters.
All the women globally who advance their visions in the face of incredible odds.”
Are there any particular books, films or songs that inspire you?
“Music is a part of my soul. I wouldn’t be able to continue with the challenges with building World Pulse if I weren’t able to put on my headphones and run and dance. I particularly love the bold voices of Angelique Kidjo, Cesaria Evora, Shusheela Ramen, Joan Armatrading, Kate Bush, Susie Suh, and Lisa Gerrard.
As for books, there are too many to mention in my lifetime. For now, I don’t have time to read and my editorial team chooses their favourites to recommend to the World Pulse audience. I trust them implicitly.”
Can you define any pivotal moments? – i.e. moments that told you that you were on the right track in terms of the work you’ve undertaken and the choices you’ve made during your career.
“Every time I speak and a woman, man or girl comes up to me with tears in their eyes telling me that they want to be a part of this worldwide movement of possibility and transformation. At that moment I am always reminded that I am on the right path.”
Jensine, thank you again for sharing the motivation and vision that is the World Pulse Media Enterprise and PulseWire. It has been wonderful to share your inspiration and energy.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the authors. Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in this work neither the author, contributors, employees or advisers are able to accept any legal liability for any consequential loss or damage, however caused, arising as a result of any actions taken on the basis of the information contained in this work. All third-party brands and trademarks belong to their respective owners. Please note this notice is to protect the source research material. Please feel free to link and quote with references back to this page. Thank you. Copyright : Maggie Baldry