In this consideration of media practice in the Arab region, Mohammad Ayish and Noha Mellor explore the changing status and function of journalists and journalism given the new realities of reporting in the digital age. The authors draw on focus group discussions, interviews, and social media traffic surveys to examine how social and new media have been integrated into Arab and pan-Arab newsroom operations and harnessed to enhance engagement with an empowered audience. Efforts to engage with audiences in social space, Ayish and Mellor argue, are part of a broad and long-waged information war aimed at winning hearts and minds in the MENA region. Social platforms present excellent opportunities to engage with audiences, but the extent to which such opportunities can be realized are hamstrung by limits on free expression and online access-and vary significantly from country to country and from media channel to media channel. Overall, Reporting in the MENA Region paints a comprehensive and contemporary picture of how today’s Arab journalists perceive and use digital media.
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