Whenever I give my road to Damascus bit, explaining how I got interested in the social change end of the social media sphere, I always begin with <a href="http://globalvoicesonline.org/">Global Voices</a>. It wasn't my first introduction to blogging, or to online notions of social change, but to me it was the purest example of the liveliness and importance of blogging around the world. Co-founders <a href="http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/">Ethan Zuckerman</a> and <a href="http://rconversation.blogs.com/">Rebecca Mackinnon</a> are two of the most articulate thinkers about the state of global journalism and the role of the web in ensuring free, democratic speech and action. Read their blogs, now.

When international storms hit – literally or figuratively – I always turn to GV in addition to the typical wire reports. So last night, when I checked it out to get some ear-to-the-ground reports on Georgia and Russia, I wasn’t disappointed. They had reliably packaged blogger coverage of the South Ossetia crisis, complete with a primer on the region and aggregated and translated posts from regional bloggers, like this one from Georgian blogger Alan Tskhurbaev.

As we at Change.org build our social issue blogs from the ground up (launch in September!), I continue to be fascinated and inspired by GV’s spot-on coverage.

And one crazy, quasi-related thing:

I found out – from Twitter! – that my friend and colleague Noel Hidalgo, who was in China covering the Olympics as a citizen journalist, was deported for livestreaming a protest in Tiananmen Square. He’s safe at home now, but wow what a journey.