I am currently working on a journal article which draws on our experience of working on the Check project – in its earlier forms and now in Check Global. In academia, there is a current and very valid discourse that we should understand aim to carry out funded research that is ‘impactful’ beyond the university and its associated networks. This impact has always been a key concern of our Check work, how the the training and technology helps develop journalism in the MENA region at an individual practitioner level, with organisations, through the journalism industry, and then reaching audiences.
However, in addition to the core activity areas of such projects, writing is a valuable process for those scholars involved. In the first instance, it is helping me to consolidate and contextualise our work, tracking back to the hopes and expectations of the 2011 MENA uprisings, and exploring the literature that supports, or otherwise, any assumptions that those countries are in a better situation today as a result. I have been able to focus on the role of mainstream and alternative media in that context, and this gives us the setting for our Check work. The paper’s key findings explore how projects such as Check, and other NGOs, might address such situations most effectively with training, networks, and technology development, and where they can be most impactful. In our project evaluation reports, we are often reflecting on similar themes, but those aren’t intended for a wider audience – communicating the contribution to knowledge in an article like this really helps pin down the key challenges and value of the work we’re undertaking.
This article is a work in progress at the moment, we’ll post again once it is published.