Media08: Al Jazeera and new media

Mohamed Nanabhay, head of new media Al Jazeera Network. I missed the first part of Mohamed’s presentation because I was doing an interview. I came in as he was talking Al Jazeera’s focus on newsgathering. He said that while CNN showed the missiles taking off, Al Jazeera showed where the missiles landed.

It’s not about mobile TV. It’s about shift in media.

  1. The ability for anyone to create and share media. This is a cultural shift. People try to ignore, and we’re still trying to figure out how to deal with this shift. Public and private lives blurred Incredible choice. Shift in trust.
  2. We have a shift in how we deal with technology and media consumption. He tells his 4-year-old daughter to ask Uncle Google if he doesn’t know. What they of TV and media has shifted. We consume media totally different.

How do we deal with new engaged audience? We used to talk about coffee shop culture. Kids are now sitting forward.

Industry issues

  • TV and newspaper are losing audience to new platforms
  • Content is going online whether we like it or not
  • internal resistance to change
  • undefined business models

Al Jazeera’s response

  • Don’t fret over new platforms. Engage people wherever they are.
  • Content is going online. Al Jazeera is making our content online while everyone is taking it down.
  • Intternal resistance. Evangelise, experiment and empower. Win over people, and they will evangelise for you.
  • Undefined business models. Quick, low cost, experimental projects and see what works.

He talked about a distributed distributed model. It doesn’t mean that TV is broken or throw out your TV.

They added an Al Jazeera English channel. 1.6 million people were introduced to Aljazeera English. People have put up 4700 videos online, and there have been 20 million views of those video.

They put up five of their most popular programmes. They are full 40 minute episodes. They allow people to embed the videos on their sites and blogs.

We have been talking about empowering people in Gaza to do video. People took out their phones into Gaza to provide video. People took the initiative.

Benefits of these models. People are discovering their content. They compliment the programming with new voices and new context. We create a sense of community around our content and are trying to be a part of the conversation.

He told the tragic story of an Al Jazeera correspondent being killed, but it was great to hear him talk about the channel’s commitment to journalism even under difficult situations.

As Ammar, in the comments below, and Mohamed, on his blog, point out, his presentation has been posted at Slideshare.

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