20 June 2015 @ 9:00am - 7:00pm
George Mason University
Sponsored by the Arab Studies Institute & George Mason University's Middle East Studies Program
We have held a unique workshop on 20 June 2015 entitled "Journalism Against the Grain: Covering a Divided Middle East.” It highlighted a number of serious shortcoming in reporting on the Middle East, across the board. While there have been many a conference on topics related to journalism and media on the region, few have attempted to bring together reporters and practitioners with scholars and academics to evaluate the discursive dilemmas and narrative complexities that underpin coverage of the Middle East and North Africa. Our intention is not simply to reflect on these conditions but rather to "identify exemplars, examine shortcomings, and chart the possible paths towards a critical revolutionary journalistic practice." We also hope to infuse intellectual debates on the region within the academy with the weight of exceptional reportage and media production.
This first workshop served as the nucleus of a major initiative which will bring to fruition three significant contributions to debates surrounding the representation of the region. The first is a comprehensive report about the state of reporting on the greater Middle East. The second is the production of pedagogical tools that render exemplary reporting from the region an indispensable component of instruction on the Middle East and North Africa. Lastly, and most importantly, we hope to build a long-term network of journalists, media critics, commentators, scholars, editorialists, etc with the purpose of attempting to reflect on and shift the priorities of coverage towards more succinct, elaborate, insightful, and nuanced discussions of the region.
We are currently working simultaneous on these goals and looking forward to our first publication based on this workshop.
Forum on Muslim and Arab Affairs
FAMA is the research arm of the Arab Studies Institute.