Tweets from the Revolution (Dateline: Overseas Press Club)

(June 2011) “I was attacked today when I tried to protect some foreigners.” The Facebook message arrived in my inbox early afternoon Pacific time. It was evening in Cairo on Feb. 4, the pivotal “Day of Anger” that would ultimately lead to the downfall of the regime. The young woman who sent the message was a […]

English Lesson: The Moment Has Arrived for Al Jazeera English, Except in the US

[This is a sidebar article to the May/June 2011 cover story, “Breathing Room: Toward a new Arab media,” which you can read here.] Back in November 2008, I skewered Al Jazeera English’s live coverage of election night in the US in an article for CJR.org. “It was a bit like watching a local college TV station try […]

Breathing Room: Toward a New Arab Media (Columbia Journalism Review Cover Story)

(May/June 2011) Before there was Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or even Al Jazeera, there was Hama, Syria. It was 1982 and an anti-government protest was put down with ferocious violence. The Syrian government simply destroyed whole sections of the city, leaving at least ten thousand people dead. But the slaughter went unreported in that closed society. […]

The Al Jazeera Revolution (ForeignPolicy.com)

 (Feb. 2, 2011) As darkness fell on Tahrir Square the night of Feb. 1, a giant makeshift TV screen broadcast Al Jazeera’s live coverage of the Egyptian uprising to the enthusiastic crowd. The channel would later transmit Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s speech, in which he announced that he would not stand for reelection but would […]

Columbia Univ. Dart Center Interview

Columbia Univ. Dart Center Interview For Journalism and Trauma (Feb. 1, 2011) A media scholar explains how Arab news professionals, under siege as governments seek to manage their message, see themselves as agents of change in a turbulent time. Note: A media revolution unleashed 15 years ago with the launch of independent satellite network Al […]

The Opportunity and Peril for the U.S. in Egypt’s Rebirth (The Seattle Times)

(Feb. 4, 2011) “The birth pangs of a new Middle East.” That was how then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice described Israeli bombing of Beirut during the 2006 war with the Shiite militia Hezbollah, which left more than 1,000 dead. Arab television juxtaposed that quote with a photo of a newborn baby, torn from its mother’s womb […]

Arab Media Revolution Spreading Change (CNN.com)

(Jan. 31,2011)  Egyptians have overcome their fear of the police state. It is a seminal moment in the history of the Arab world’s largest and most influential nation. The upheaval underscores a grim reality for authoritarian regimes the world over: The electronic dam has burst and with it, their ability to control the flow of […]