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Where’s online journalism headed?
Online journalism is evolving, but as Samar Fatany, a Saudi radio journalist, asks is the Gulf ready to accept developments in information technologies.
June 15, 2009 10:37 by Dana El Baltaji
Conversely, mainstream editors and journalists were critical of the unethical behavior of many bloggers and asserted that bloggers should be held accountable for spreading inaccurate information and face libel and defamation prosecutions if they do not conform to information laws. Professionals in the field stressed that the contents of blogs and online forums should be monitored and regulated to protect the public interest.
One of the highlights of the workshops was a commentary by a senior news editor from Huffington Post who shared the experience of the popular Internet newspaper. The editor outlined the site’s impact on broader media community during the 2008 US elections and demonstrated how citizens supported the Obama campaign electronically. The Huffington Post represents a futuristic model of leadership in citizen journalism, mobilizing hundreds of citizen journalists to report on the 2008 elections through its “Off the Bus” program.
The site recently announced it intends to launch the Huffington Post Investigative Fund that would fund 10 staff journalists to work exclusively on investigative reporting. The Huffington Post won the 2006 and 2008 Webby Awards for the Best Political Blog, and was recently named one of the Top 25 blogs by Time Magazine.
The workshop on online writers and journalism in the Gulf also provided an opportunity for young bloggers to network and exchange views with editors of mainstream media.
Bloggers from Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia were eager to learn and adopt new forms of media technologies to influence change and instigate reforms.
In the final session of the workshop and after a long, heated discussion, participants concluded that only time will tell how the information technologies will develop and what the future holds for bloggers and mainstream media. Significantly, however, online editors and journalists recognized that citizen journalists could help them upgrade information services and provide better news content.
But will citizen journalism in the Gulf succeed in serving the public interest?
First seen in Arab News.
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