Earlier this week I attended the International Center for Journalists' Awards dinner. The program had plenty of star power: Twitter co-founder Biz Stone and Washington Post columnist (and author of 'spy novels) David Ignatius won awards, Sen. Clinton sent a video greeting and ABC's Jonathan Karl served as the MC. For my part, however, the stars of the evening were'Tosca Santoso and Daniela Arbex, winners of Knight International Journalism Awards. The two reporters, Santoso of Jakarta, Indonesia and Daniela of Juiz de Fora,'Brazil, have a history of breaking important stories under difficult circumstances. Tosca founded KBR68H, Indonesia's first independent radio network in 1999. Daniela is a reporter for the Tribuna de Minas newspaper, where she has won two Esso awards and the'IPYS Award for Best Investigative Journalism in Latin America, for unveiling corruption in the construction industry in Minas Gerais.
I sat next to Tosca at dinner and, as Biz Stone accepted his ICFJ Innovation Award, asked him about the use of Twitter in Indonesia. According to ComScore, more than one-fifth of Indonesia's Internet users used Twitter in June, higher than any other country. Santoso pulled out his blackberry and showed me a Twitter stream focussed on the Mount Merapi eruption. As Biz sat back down, it was hard to remember what our common news experience was like before Twitter.