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Project Updates

As part of our effort to be entirely transparent, we will post all update emails we send to our donors in this section. These emails include our own experiences (and challenges!) of learning how to live, and how to report, in one of the world’s most remote communities.
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Sarah and Emma at Sandy Bay Beach.

Project Update: 15 August 2017

Hello all,

The past few months have been very busy for our project as we have wrapped up our six months on the island. Here are a few major highlights:

  • Emma is now CEO of South Atlantic Media Services (SAMS) after her time as Senior News Editor.
  • Sarah assisted PT Films, SAMS and Longsongs Music Ltd. during her last month.
  • Sarah arrived back home in Colorado Aug. 9 after time on the RMS St. Helena, then in Cape Town, South Africa and Birmingham, England.

We now are working on publishing a short film and hardcover photobook for St. Helena Arts & Crafts which will be sold at their centre at the Canister in Jamestown. We will be abiding to donor rewards and still working toward the initial long-term project goals, as well.

We will have another crowdfunding effort soon to help our communication during this process, as Internet is one of our biggest project costs. We will also do another round of grant applications to work towards finding more support for our project through larger journalism institutions.

We will continue to publish to our website and social media, and we thank you all for your continued support!

Best, Emma & Sarah


Project Update: 09 June 2017

Hello all,

This is just a quick email to say that we have switched to using MailChimp for story emails and project updates. If you haven't been receiving those, check your spam or promotions folders. If you have, you can ignore this email.

We have been very busy this past month and will have a project update coming to you all soon. In the meantime, you can check our website, social media, and MailChimp emails for new stories.

We put together a project update article for the two local papers, The Independent and The Sentinel, and we'd like to share it with all of you before it is published.

Thank you all for the continuous support!

Best, Emma & Sarah


Project Update: 21 April 2017

Hello everyone,

As you know, we have been working on our website so we can publish more of our work.

Our first story is now live at sixmonthsasaint.com/isolation.html and we have new photo galleries up at sixmonthsasaint.com/gallery.html.

Let us know what you think!

Thanks all, Emma & Sarah


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Emma working in The Inkwell cafe in Jamestown.

Project Update: 04 April 2017

Hello everyone,

This past month has been an exciting whirlwind of changes for our lives and our project.

Emma has decided to stay on St. Helena for at least a couple of years, and is beginning to explore job options on the island. As Emma has Saint Helenian status, she luckily doesn't have to extend visas or worry about travel insurance. Sarah, however, will now leave St. Helena July 17 and travel for five days on the RMS St. Helena to Cape Town, where she will spend a week before flying on to England to spend a week conducting interviews with UK sources. She will be back in Colorado on August 9... just in time for camping season!

We put together a project update article for the two local papers, The Independent and The Sentinel, and we'd like to share it with all of you before it is published.

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The first two months independent journalism project Six Months a Saint has been on-island was an unexpected orientation and adjustment period for creator/director Emma Weaver.

Originally, Six Months a Saint’s aim was to fill the information gap in the international media, as true and comprehensive press coverage about St. Helena is lacking. Six Months a Saint therefore focused on freelancing work to international outlets such as bird magazines, travel-focused media and business publications.

However, Weaver and sole team member Sarah Pitts quickly learned that St. Helena wasn’t covered by the mainstream media not only because there weren’t correspondents on the island, but also because outlets didn’t see the value in covering a place so remote.

“I emailed Greenpeace about some environmental issues and achievements on St. Helena, as they are an environmental activist group and publication,” Weaver said. “But I never even got to pitch them stories; they immediately replied by saying they ‘are not focused on this region.’ It seems wrong to me that an organization focused on environmental issues - and which covers the U.K. - would turn down coverage about St. Helena.”

The goal of Six Months a Saint’s freelancing efforts was to help relieve project costs, which had so far been covered by personal savings and crowdfunding. Weaver said tailoring content purely for freelancing was taking too much time and energy away from producing work for the people invested in the reporting, such as individual sponsors and Saint Helenians.

“We refocused our project to better match our mission of producing impactful, independent news,” Weaver said. “Our first step was to redesign our website so it would better cater to self-publication, and it should be up and running by the end of this week.”

The project website, sixmonthsasaint.com, is the hub for project material with sections for stories, photo galleries, business expenses and links to full interview transcripts. According to the site, this is all in an effort to provide transparent, in-depth reporting.

Along with shifting the project’s focus from freelancing to digitally self-publishing, Weaver said Six Months a Saint now aims to produce more material for Saint Helenians through established island media.

“We realize much of the island doesn’t typically get news online, but we don’t currently have the means and funding to print on-island - so for now, we’ll be offering our work to local media free of charge,” Weaver said.

Weaver said it became clear in the last two months that there’s also minimal local news about the real issues and achievements on St. Helena. This lack of substantial press coverage means issues, whether environmental, political, social or economic, go unspoken about and unresolved.

But Weaver hopes Six Months a Saint’s coverage will help fill the existing news gaps.

Part of Weaver’s drive to improve news on and about St. Helena is hereditary; her grandfather, Sonny (Frederick) Ward, produced The Voice of the Union from 1961 to 1962 “for a better St. Helena.” St. Helenians like May Young remember the bold political cartoons and social activism that defined Ward’s publication.

Weaver found many of the issues her grandfather wrote about still affect the island today. She said this passage from a 1962 feature about her grandfather in The Spectator still resonates:

“[...] a St. Helenian doing the same job as a European got only a third of the pay; that little or nothing was being done to improve the housing shortage[...] For all his industry and determination, Mr. Ward feels he is achieving almost nothing. There is no sign of plan or purpose for St. Helena. Things are drifting—and so are people.”

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Thank you all so much for your continued support! We are still uploading content to the website, and we will let you know as soon as its up.

Thanks again, Emma & Sarah


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Emma "in-que" at the bank in Jamestown.

Project Update: 02 March 2017

Hello everyone,

We have decided to extend our stay in Saint Helena one month, so we will now officially be on St. Helena six months (before, our travel dates were six months apart, and we were on the island for about five months).

After having been here just over four weeks, we have realized that despite our busy work schedule, some of our goals are going to take longer to accomplish than we thought. We are excited that some of our stories are going to take more digging, as in-depth, investigative journalism is otherwise essentially non-existent on the island.

Some stories we have been working on so far have been environmentally focused, and we have just sent two stories out for publication to three interested outlets. We will keep you updated as soon as we hear back!

As of now, we will return to the States August 20, after a week on Ascension Island and a week in England for additional reporting.

Thank you all so much for your continued support!

Cheers, Emma & Sarah


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Project Update: 19 Febuary 2017

Hello all!

It has been one month since we left the States to begin our adventure on St Helena. We have kept very busy traveling to Cape Town, organizing equipment, getting supplies, filming on the RMS St Helena, settling in on the island, filming, photographing and interviewing.

The Wi-Fi situation has taken some adjusting to (its only free from midnight to 6 a.m., for instance), but we have been working/filming every day. We are now almost finished with our story about the RMS St Helena and will send it to outlets soon. There is also an interesting story about seabirds, which we are pitching to Audubon. Emma will also have some of her photos published in a story, written by a woman we met on the RMS, for Greenberg.

Our airport story is more intriguing and difficult than we imagined - we'll keep you updated! We are consistently filming for the documentary, and will this week begin looking into whale shark research and the recent Wirebird census.

We are doing well here so far, living in Half Tree Hollow. The dog at Old School House (our new home address - very few of the houses here are numbered) is named Rockie, and is great company for us animal-lovers!

All is well and we've been working hard. We'll keep in better touch now we are figuring out our sleep schedules and the internet situation!

Thank you all again so much for your continuous support - we wouldn't be here without you.

Cheers, Emma & Sarah


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Jacob's Ladder; 699 steps to Jamestown.

Project Update: 06 January 2017

Hello all!

We are just two weeks away from our departure from the States! The holiday season was very helpful for our project and we have raised a total of $3,695 through our website and PayPal.

Thank YOU all so much.

We are almost to the halfway mark of our fundraising needs, which is incredible considering we aren't even on the island yet. This has allowed us to buy our transportation, visas, travel medical insurance plans, and equipment.

Our housing situation on the island has been arranged thanks to all of Emma's island relations and connections. We will be living above the valley of Jamestown at the top of Jacob's Ladder.

If you haven't shared our website and social media with family and friends, please help us by doing so. Crowdfunding works best when it reaches more people!

Stay tuned for a few stories we hope to publish soon!

Thank you so much again for making this all possible.

Cheers, Emma & Sarah


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Project Update: 08 December 2017

Hello all,

Thank you so much for supporting Six Months a Saint! This week we were able to purchase our plane tickets using the donations made through our PayPal. We now have ways both on and off the island, which was our biggest challenge.

As of now, our project is funded purely through sponsors like yourselves, making it a truly independent project. We still hope to receive some funding from a journalism grant, but will have better luck once we get to the island and have some work to show.

The rest of what we will need before we leave are equipment items, such as a tripod and microphone. We will do another fundraising push in the upcoming weeks, with the release of the website, in hopes of raising enough to purchase these items.

We will send more updates as the project evolves and please make sure to follow us on social media!

If you think some of your friends, family, co-workers would like to learn about our project, please don't hesitate to share the link to our website, social media or email.

We cannot thank you enough; we wouldn't be able to do this without you!

Cheers, Emma & Sarah