show sidebar & content

How digital can save journalism in the Middle East and Arab World

06 Apr 2017 / in AJ+

Not everything that’s digital is online, so why is it so hard for the journalism industry (especially in the Middle East) to realise that not everything that’s online is digital. What’s happening now is a digitalisation of print, and with it there is a digitalisation of business and ownership models of news organisations as well. But it doesn’t work anymore. The rules of the Internet don’t allow for this. Click baits are just natural outcomes of our collective laziness towards this medium. You need traffic to get advertising and ads to make money and money to pay your journalists. If your journalism is not exciting enough, interesting enough or even just not sexy enough to get you the traffic you need, the solution isn’t to dumb down and change your journalism. It’s to change your approach towards the medium not towards the message. Digital can help us strip journalism bare of all the connotations of its previous mediums and bring it back to its core; a value added. Journalism is not the news; it’s putting the news in context, explaining it. The digital medium allows you to explore more complex issues and find innovative, immersive ways to share these issues with your audience. Conduct comprehensive journalistic research and then think how can this best be presented. With that we will also need to re-asses how we define journalists, let go of the notion that journalists need bylines and word limits. A morphing between journalists and artists that will bring about a new hybrid of digital thinkers, who can research, interview, cite, code and create.
Con: Sakhr Al-Makhadhi (Middle East editor AJ+), Fatemah Farag (founder & director Welad Elbalad Media Services), Sana Sbouai (co-founder Inkyfada), Farah Wael (co-founder Medina Media), Farah Wael