What the Arab Spring taught journalists about social media in 2011
Uprisings in the Middle East forced Arab media to reinvent themselves and proved that citizen journalists provide valuable news coverage.
Here are IJNet's picks for top five media trends from our stories during this tumultuous year:
The balance between traditional and new media has tipped in favor of social media and citizen journalists. No longer can traditional media outlets ignore citizen journalists, “amateur" videos on YouTube or information streaming in from other social media platforms. To wit, more journalism professionals in the region are using social media to engage their audience in new ways.
More social media-friendly content are being produced to cover news and events in the region, thanks in part to HTML5. HTML5 facilitates posting more videos and pictures as well as making them more accessible since videos can be inserted with just a tag on many websites.
Social media have stepped up to defend press freedom as well as more general freedoms. In countries like Morocco, social media have become the fifth estate since traditional media haven’t been able to play its role.
Traditional journalists in Middle East need to gain the public trust, especially since young people "have little time and respect for their press,” asserts Rami G. Khouri, who works at the American University of Beirut.
Social media activism is an arm of revolutionaries. Most Arab countries had very few pro-government social media activists; Bahrain has the most, probably because 90 percent of Internet users there have a broadband Internet connection.