(aka The Helping Instapundit Project) Last week, the U.N. issued its annual top 10 list of under-reported stories. As might be expected, U.S. media have ignored the list.

I have a proposition for you: Let’s cover all 10, every day, for the next 10 days. Sign up as a story author. More below, including the story list sign-up status:
At the United Nations Web site — “Ten Stories The World Should Hear More About” — in the right column, you’ll find links to each story. Select one that interests you or about which you have some expertise. (However, I like picking stories about which I’m pretty ignorant, because then I learn something new.)

Choose a story and share below, or send me an e-mail at susanhu at earthlink dot net.

More on the stories from IPS, one of the few agencies to cover the U.N.’s list:

The solution: “Shoot him.” The problem:

The late Tarzie Vittachi, a former deputy executive director of the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF, once recounted the story of an African official who walked into his office for friendly advice on how to get Western media to cover stories having a profound effect on the continent.

”My prime minister is going to address the U.N. General Assembly on major social and economic issues crucial to the survival of Africa. How can I get the story in to the New York Times,” Vittachi recalled the man said.

”Shoot him, and you will get a front-page story,” replied Vittachi, a onetime columnist for ‘Newsweek’ magazine and legendary newspaper editor in his home country of Sri Lanka.

Vittachi’s had long argued that most Western media rarely provided in-depth coverage of issues such as poverty, hunger, maternal mortality, and debilitating diseases plaguing more than two-thirds of the U.N.’s 191 member states. These issues just weren’t ”sexy” enough for most newsrooms, he said. …

The stories:

the stories included: progress towards peace in Somalia; the horrendous problem of obstetric fistula, a tragic blind spot in health care services for women; the humanitarian crisis in northern Uganda; the disarming of former combatants in Sierra Leone; and growth in the number of human rights institutions, with the emergence of more than 100 in recent years.

Also overlooked, he said, were: the scant chances for small farmers in Cameroon and other poor countries to get a fair price for their produce; Grenada’s struggles to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Ivan, a story forgotten in the wake of the Asian tsunami; continuing violence against women; using development as an effective alternative to warfare to curb illicit drugs; and saving the environment to preserve potential cures for a catalogue of diseases.

Issues for the media — and this is one we face at Booman too. What will “sell”? What will you read? How can we make it interesting?

”The mainstream media ignore or downplay certain stories for specific reasons,” Tharoor told IPS. ”One, because, in the opinion of editors, they don’t sell; two, because they seem too remote to the concerns of the readership, viewership, or listenership; and three, because they aren’t news — i.e., they aren’t sufficiently in the ‘man bites dog’ or ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ categories.”

”Our counter-argument would be that the audience will become interested if the stories are written in a persuasive way that showcases their relevance,” Tharoor added.

What sells is highly debatable, he argued, as is the notion that only violence and scandal make for news.

”Why should the Asian tsunami be more newsworthy than the victims of Hurricane Ivan in Grenada? Why isn’t the horror of fistula caused by childbirth of interest to every woman in the world — and every man, too, since we are all produced by childbirth?” he asked.

Update [2005-5-9 14:3:31 by susanhbu]:
Story list so far:

Tuesday: Sirocco on Uganda

Wed: Susanhbu on Cameroon

Thurs: ?

Fri: ?

Sat: Ask on Somalia

Sun: ?

Mon: ?

Tues: ?

Wed.: Nanette for women’s health

Thurs: ?

(that’s 10 stories, if I can count)

PLEASE SIGN UP BELOW! Here’s the U.N.’s list of stories from which you can choose. Pick the one that suits you, if it hasn’t been taken.

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