Nawaat Media: Project Design & Implementation

1- More Qualitative Specialized coverage

a- Context

The emergence of many new media outlets that we have witnessed during the last three years since the fall of Ben Ali regime has boosted the competitiveness and rivalry between media actors and initiatives making it hard for each one of them to establish itself as a major source of news and analysis. Our competitive advantage remains in our ability to deliver high standard of news coverage, distinguishing ourselves from the rest by a combination of “quality, diversity and exclusivity” of our production, from articles to video coverage and from leaks to data and investigative journalism. We avoided thus the concept of Desk news and day-by-day reporting which is done by tens of other websites, radios, TV channels and even popular facebook pages. In order to provide a unique perspective about the situation, we opted for the quality at the expenses of the quantity. As many news websites and mainstream media outlets opt for short breaking news format, they are publishing higher quantity of news for consumption without a significant added value in terms of analysis or investigation.

During the last 2 years we featured tens of story addressing a wide range of topics: environmental, gender, economic, natural resources, police abuses, security reform, terrorism, Constituent Assembly, civil society activities and so on. Every monday, our newsroom team meet with the editor in chief to discuss and prepare the content of the week.This reporting, which wasn’t structured in some aspects needs to be addresses by the establishment of more semi-independent sections to work and focus on the most important topics, such as Economic & Natural Resources Section, Environmental Section, Gender, Rights, Investigative and Data Journalism Section.

b- adapting our newsroom to the new context of online journalism

Inspired by the most recent trends and innovations witnessed within major Media newsrooms, we are working to meet the challenges of a technologically empowered newsroom by deploying new features, visualization techniques, data analysis, attractive and engaging multimedia storytelling.

We aim to produce a modern, interactive, accurate and sophisticated media environment that allows collaborative units to work together in order to provide a new digital experience for our readership.

c- Specialized coverage & reach User-Experience

We are already in the process of dividing our team in several sections of specialized reporting based on our skills, knowledge and networks. We think that a specialized content production will provide, on the long term, a strong and rich archive of articles, news and opinions related to tens of specific topics. These topics and sections are reflected on the technical site-map of our website under the “categories” navigation menu. Each category (Politics, Rights, Economy, Society, Media, Culture, Environment, World, Opinions, Investigations, Regions) features tens of stories aggregated on the basis of their unifying topics.

On the other hand, the filters options that we recently deployed provides our readership with the possibility to visualize the website in any given available languages (Arabic, French and English), formats (Images, videos and text) and types (Investigations, leaks, analysis, news, alerts and Opinions). After improving the user experience on nawaat website, it became much more easier now for our readership to filter the browsing of the content based on their own preferences and interests.

We have also refined the archiving of our content based on “Regions” and “Persons”, next to the already existing filters of categories and keywords. It is now possible to brows in a matter of one single click all articles that mention certain persons or regions.

d- Implementation

Practically, the newsroom tasks is dived in two main big areas:

  1. a timely and diversified coverage of the most important news affecting the political, social, economic and environmental situation. This includes video, multimedia content, textual content, interviews, in-depth stories, and alerts, all produced by Nawaat’s own team.
  2. time-consuming investigative and data journalism that requires the integration and deployment of new form of storytelling. It also requires a collaborative woking between our team members and coders to deliver the best technical and graphic environment that suits the investigation. As learned from our experience, investigative reporting relies often on leaked documents that help expose corruption, wrong-doings, and behind-the-scene details.

2- Free Contributions Vs Team production

a- Context

As a collective blog since 2004, nawaat content has been always dominated by the articles and contributions published by our community of bloggers, specialists and human rights advocates and politicans. The end of the Online censorship that followed the revolution helped nawaat in reaching the local audience which was barred from accessing our website. This fortunate opening has strengthened that very position of Nawaat as one of the most influential open space for Opinions and free contributions.

However, and since the launch of our dedicted Media Project, we have noticed a major shift in the balance between the numbers of articles produced by our team and those contributed by our community of volunteers – this shift is clearly displayed in the following graph.

NAWAAT-Free-Contributions-Team-production

The great work that our team members produced coupled with our focus on our own content production has contributed to distract our attention from the valuable free contributions that were at the heart of nawaat collective blog.

Starting from May 2012, the number of articles produced by our team has surpassed for the first time in Nawaat’s history the number of articles contributed by our large community of contributors.

Although this trend can be interpreted positively due to efforts and excellent work of our team, the current situation needs to be balanced in order to give back our space to more contributions and restore nawaat as A Collective Blog free from any centralized Editorial control and guidance.

b- Solution

We think that finding the right balance between Nawaat’s own production and the content submitted by our community of free contributors is the best guarantee to provide a decentralized content that is not controlled entirely by nawaat own editorial team and staff members. Free contributions guarantee to nawaat audience other opinions that challenge nawaat own positions on many issues. It is the proof that our citizen media platform is as diversified as the people who are using it, with their different and conflicting political and ideological views.

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