American University of Beirut

How Journalists cover the Middle East in a Social Media Age: Lessons Learned and a Look Ahead

The Briefing on media coverage of the Middle East included presentations in New York by internationally recognized columnists David Ignatius of the Washington Post and AUB professor and journalist-in-residence Rami G. Khouri. They interacted over a live video-link with a group of faculty and student participants in Beirut that was moderated by AUB Media Studies Chairperson and Professor May Farah.

Khouri and Ignatius discussed the groundbreaking work of the late Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Shadid, who sought to capture the voice of ordinary people living in conflict areas. This approach is rare among international journalists reporting on the Arab world, where headlines still tend to focus on the latest violence by a wide range of local and foreign actors, without providing sufficient context for the causes of the violence.

Khouri, who leads a project at AUB Libraries to analyze Shadid’s personal papers that have been deposited in the archives, noted how Shadid blended hard news and feature reporting by using techniques of narrative writing that captured individual personalities and ordinary yet profound human sentiments; his work allowed the voices of everyday men and women in local communities across the Middle East to speak to the world, without the filters of their own governments or foreign editor.

Read the full text summary of the discussion here. Watch the entire discussion here.

Video Highlights of the Discussion


  • Rami G. Khouri, AUB Professor and Journalist-in-Residence

  • David Ignatius, Washington Post Columnist

  • May Farah, Media Studies Chairperson and Professor at AUB 

  • Nabil Dajani, Professor of Communication and Media Studies at AUB

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