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<nettime> From the brave new world
Heiko Recktenwald on Sat, 28 Jan 2012 18:19:49 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> From the brave new world

    From the brave new world

Fatemah Farag <http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/1079>

I am in Dubai. At the Atlantis Hotel, to be precise, where top Arab
media professionals are meeting over aquamarine and orange carpets,
under sea-shell motif chandeliers at the invitation of the Dubai Press
Club. The occasiona is the Ninth Arab Media Forum.

It is in many ways a surreal experience: sky scrapers break through the
arid landscape, the Gulf waters are placid, shrouded in what seems to be
a constant layer of steam; the still night air always carries hints of
sound that reminds one of Dubai's round-the-clock construction.

Within the ballrooms where the conference is taking place, the theme is
"Shifting Mediascape: Inspiring content, expanding reach." We kicked off
this morning with three workshops and those who weren't too interested
in the development of Kuwaiti media or the coverage of natural disasters
found themselves in the crowds that filled the "Citizen Journalism:
Challenging the unnamed source" session with me.

Anwar el-Hawary, chief editor of Al Ahram Al Iqtisadi magazine, heated
up the session by describing citizen journalism as a fad railroading the
media industry---almost as a threat that needed to be pushed back. One
Saudi journalist retorted that in fact the credibility of "traditional"
media who were feeding their audience fabricated news was the threat to
the profession that needed to be pushed back.

Throughout the session, I could not help but be surprised that
"traditional" meant state-controlled mass media, whereas
"non-traditional" meant blogs and citizen journalism. Participants acted
as though these divides have not, in the last few years, been constantly
reworked within international journalism.

"Traditional" print media has moved to the internet. Its main
competitors are now bloggers and social networks. It only follows that
to compete, "traditional" journalism must adapt the tools of the trade.
This is not just about using Twitter, iPhones and other technical
aspects of the revolution that has taken our business over. It is about
reconceptualizing how we work, what formats we use--like my blogging
now--and what sources we can incorporate into our coverage.

The hope is that this is a more democratic and, consequently, more
informative format. And those media organizations that are serious about
embracing this brave new world must put time, effort, thought, and
resources into developing sophisticated guidelines to incorporating user
generated content, training citizen journalists, and adapting the trades
of our profession.

But in all of this we must never lose sight of the essential rules of
high quality journalism should never be compromised: honesty, balance,
research, credibility, and ethics. These are the hallmarks of our
profession at its best and they should never be compromised. Herein lies
the true nature of the challenge.



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