Our Story


Our Story

For ten years Small World News has been dedicated to supporting journalists and activists in under-served communities around the world. We specialize in mobile media tools and how to use them to tell quality, compelling stories. Our core team of trainers and our network of regional partners have worked in Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Rwanda, Libya, Serbia and beyond.

We believe that journalism and storytelling are an essential part of strong civil society. Today mobile technology allows people living in crisis areas to engage internationally as never before. From simple SMS/IVR projects to advance video storytelling, Small World news has provided training and resources to organizations and individuals globally with the mission of helping them make their voice heard.

Small World News was started in 2005 with ‘Alive in Baghdad,’ a weekly news video blog that employed Iraqi journalists to produce stories on daily life in Iraq following the Second Gulf War. Alive in Baghdad was the first of several similar projects including Alive in Mexico, Alive in Gaza, Alive in Tehran and Alive in Afghanistan. Today we also offers media training, a series of guidebooks and consulting services.

Small Word News is currently a key partner in the development of StoryMaker, a free Android-based app that provides users an all-in-one platform to produce and share video, audio and photo stories. StoryMaker offers a built-in package of learning guides and templates to help users make their stories great.


Our Team

Our Team

John Smock

interim Director


John Smock is a journalist and trainer who is an instructor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and CUNY Graduate School of Journalism with over 15 years of experience.  He has trained journalists in several former Soviet Republics, the Middle East, Cambodia and Afghanistan.  He is familiar with election reporting skills in particular having conducted training in election reporting in Egypt, Cambodia and Afghanistan.  In 2005, he was awarded the prestigious Knight International Press Fellowship to provide training in election coverage and in newsroom development at three of the largest publications in Egypt along with newsroom and multimedia development for leading publications in Jordan.




Regional Coordinator 

Fluent in English, Arabic, French and German, Mohammed is an incredible asset to our team. Outside of supporting our translation, he has helped run multiple trainings throughout the Middle East.



Mark Rendeiro

Training & curriculum author

Mark has been an independent journalist with articles from local sources to The Guardian. His work with Small World News specializes in outreach to local Communities.




Web & it

Kevin has 10 years experience in web development and IT infrastructure. He is responsible for the implementation of SWN’s online projects and leads the technical implementation of projects.



Involved in media literacy and media democracy work for more than fifteen years and has trained journalists and citizen media makers in a dozen countries. Brian designed the program and training for India Unheard, a national community news service comprised of Indian community activists from all over the country, and led Small World News’ work assisting Pajhwok Afghan News to develop a video service and expand the capacity of their provincial journalists to produce quality multimedia journalism. He has also designed an array of projects leveraging new and innovating technology to support journalists and community media in conflict areas.

Steve Wyshywaniuk.jpg



Steve Wyshywaniuk is a product director and filmmaker with ten years of experience directing, shooting, and editing video. He is currently interested in exploring how mobile technology influences story creation. His training expertise focuses on producing video and audio, editing, storytelling, content management, distribution, and workflow management. He has also overseen the design development of the Small World News Training Materials.


Louis Abelman

Project coordinator

Louis is a journalist and trainer with media development experience in Afghanistan, Iraq, DRC Congo, Libya and Rwanda. He was instrumental in establishing Alive in Libya in Benghazi in March 2011 and has experience in the development and management of visual storytelling training programs in Congo, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan.

Jesse Hambley


Jesse Hambley is a graphic/web designer and avid photographer living in Portland, OR. With a background in action sports, education, art communities and non-profits, his primary focus is producing work in the non-profit and awareness field.

Omar Abdullah

Producer & in country operations

Omar worked as a translator and fixer after the invasion of Iraq. Before coming to Alive in Baghdad, Omar worked primarily with the Christian Peacemaker Teams. He is working now with Small World News because it gives him a great hope to help Iraqis and to show some truth to the world about life in MENA.

Lauren Galanter


Lauren is a filmmaker, photographer and video editor/multimedia designer from the Philadelphia area. She has worked on many independent media projects including; Videohouse Live, Rock School, Love Conjure/Blues, and Will You�. She has had her short films shown in film festivals and public television, and has exhibited photos in local galleries.



Rob has over 10 years experience supporting humanitarian organizations further their goals through the effective use of technology. He designs for sustainability and impact, focusing on applications that perform in low-tech environments and providing user trainings for successful long-term implementation. Rob�s recent work includes projects in Uganda, Iraq, Afghanistan and Haiti.

Josh Mull

community manager

Josh is a journalist working on Small World News projects since 2008. Previously he was Afghanistan Blogging Fellow for Brave New Foundation, as well as a contributor to The Uptake, EA Worldview, Huffington Post, and Firedoglake.

Sarah Szalavitz


Sarah founded 7 Stories, which produces stories across all platforms, as well as a variety of other online, film and television projects. Prior to her current adventures, she served as a Development Executive for Brooklyn Films and briefly practiced law. She attended the University of Southern California, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Harvard Law School, and she has worked in the fields of technology, film-making, law, and politics.

Matt Danzico


Matt is part writer and part video producer with a taste for interactive web and a keen interest in science and technology. He has worked as a video producer for Discovery Channel and a freelance journalist and media consultant, and currently works as a staff journalist for the BBC News in Washington DC.