Morocco World News
Morocco World News
Casablanca, March 23, 2012
The English department of the faculty of Letters and Humanities, in collaboration with Morocco World News, organized last Thursday a conference under the theme: “The Rise of Digital Journalism: Morocco World News success story.”
The conference took place in Driss Chraibi Auditorium in Ain Chok Faculty of Letters and Humanities. Ms Loubna Flah, Morocco World News’ correspondent in Casablanca, opened the conference with an overview of the major changes triggered by the emergence of online journalism with a special focus on the impact of technology on information sharing.
“Online news outlets make use of a myriad of delivery platforms and networking technologies that allow for mass distribution of news ranging from web 2.0 tools, wikis to video sharing websites like YouTube and Slideshare,” Ms Flah highlighted during her presentation.
As pointed out by Ms Flah, the massive use of these platforms has shaped the way information is accessed, retrieved and shared within the internet community. It has also provoked a shift in paradigms related to journalism. Thus, online journalism is characterized by a great capacity to reach larger online based readerships. It is also credited for lowering the entry barriers for users and contributors, in addition to the instantaneous interactivity with the reader, which remains highly restricted in print journalism.
Ms. Flah established a contrast between print and online journalism by delineating the major differences between the two. In this regard, she pointed out that online journalism still capitalizes on traditional styles of investigation, reporting and photojournalism. She provided examples showcasing successful collaboration opportunities between online journalists, activists and traditional journalism. A case in point is Wikileaks, an online organization that submitted a number of top secret leaked documents to mainstream newspapers to be published namely by the Guardian and Der Spiegel.
Mr. Samir Bennis, co-founder and editor-in-chief of MWN, shared with the audience the story behind the creation of Morocco World News. Being a strong advocate of Morocco’s territorial integrity, especially regarding the Sahara region, Mr. Bennis decided along with his brother, Mr. Adnane Bennis, to set up a new platform that would provide international public opinion with a more balanced and nuanced vision on the Sahara issue.
MWN has played a pivotal role in the media landscape both at the domestic and the international levels, especially in the United States. It has indeed lifted the veil of silence over deficiencies in defending Moroccan interests before the international community.
Mr. Bennis listed a number of crucial events that have traits with Morocco’s sovereignty over the Sahara region exclusively covered by the MWN team. He referred to the omission of the Sahara region from the documents submitted by the Morocco Mall architecture company. In addition, MWN was the first news outlet to address the lack of coverage by Moroccan media of the Security Council sessions in New York where the Sahara conflict is debated. In this regard, Mr. Bennis had sent an open letter to the minister of communication Mr. Khalfi. He seized the opportunity to call for reform of the media sector in regard to national interests. The same issue was raised during an MWN interview with Mr. Choubani, minister in charge of relations with parliament and civil society.
Mr. Bennis shared with the audience the long term goals of MWN. Indeed, MWN founders envision building an influential news outlet that will rival with major international news outlets.
He highlighted that MWN emerged as a groundbreaking English speaking news outlet that provides insight to both local and international news in total alignment with Moroccan identity and supreme national interests. He added that the appeal of MWN is going crescendo, pointing out that readers from an average of 90 countries visit the website every day. “The number of visitors has increased significantly and reached on several occasions seven thousand visits per day,” he said. He also highlighted that, unlike other news outlets in Arabic or French whose reach is limited, MWN has further reach commensurate to the global reach of the English language.
Online journalism is still at the embryonic stage. Yet, this new trend seems to be a bottomless reservoir of unexplored possibilities. MWN ambitious team is resolute to expand its outreach among Moroccan and international readership by maintaining high standards and, most importantly, by being faithful to the national identity.
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