Expanding to a NAWA Newsroom

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When the Check project began in 2014, we worked with partners across the North Africa – West Asia region to foster critical, analytical reporting in times of conflict and uncertainty. Since then, this project has evolved to Check Global, an undertaking spanning three years (2020-22) dedicated to providing open source tools, methodologies, and training resources to a network of independent journalists, students, as well as media and human rights researchers.

What this means is that our work in the NAWA region is expanding. We started a pilot newsroom program in 2017 with students at the Lebanese University and, seeing its success, we are now in the process of expanding this newsroom to one that is regional, collaborative, and intersectional in focus.This is where I come in to make that happen.

My name is Azza El Masri and I am the Pan-Arab Student Newsroom Coordinator.

I joined the BCU/Meedan team mid-December 2019 with the intention to tap into my journalism and media literacy roots to bring together and train a diverse group of students from different Arab countries on verification, fact-checking, and digital media literacy. The current state of Arab media – a decaying landscape of state-controlled, underfunded, and heavily censored outlets – demands that we strengthen and uplift independent, analytical, and radical journalism to take on the most pressing challenge to journalism today: rampant digital d/misinformation.

Prior to joining the Meedan/BCU team, I have held positions in journalism, digital rights and tech advocacy, media literacy training, and media research. I plan to leverage my background to expand NAWA Media to a platform for collaborative and innovative journalism for students who will be equipped with the necessary skills and a critical worldview.