Media tends to focus on bad news. This is especially true when it comes to Islam and the Muslim world. But in London, a new media startup sets out to change this. Alchemiya, a new video-on-demand platform, will work like Netflix with a catch: it plans to showcase content about Muslim life aimed at urban Muslims. Its founder, British journalist and documentary producer Navid Akhtar, spoke with onMedia’s Jannis Hagmann about how he grew tired of reporting on extremism and what he has learned from his own media project development.
Seasoned reporter Lara Setrakian quit a coverted job as a Middle East correspondent to co-found the online news site, Syria Deeply. The portal is dedicated to a single topic – the conflict in Syria – and has an innovative approach to news gathering. It serves as a landing page for pertinent news on the conflict, combining original reporting from the field with aggregated material. It also includes a plethora of digital storytelling tools from interactive maps and timelines to SoundCloud commentary and tweets.
Setrakian left her cushy TV job (her words) with Bloomberg and ABC News because she felt the mainstream media coverage of the Syria crisis was difficult to follow with chaotic storylines instead of thorough reporting on the war and its humanitarian consequences.
In an interview with onMedia’s Jannis Hagmann, Setrakian talks about how she wants to fuse traditional journalism with startup culture and reform the coverage of global crises.
Irish journalist Mark Little quit his job as a prime time news anchor in late 2009 to found Storyful, a news service with a twist. Like traditional news agencies, Storyful delivers news content to media organizations. The novelty is that this content is culled from social media networks such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. Storyful journalists comb social media networks for interesting or dramatic videos, photos or other items. The information is then verified and put into context before being made available to the company’s subscribers (see here for how Storyful verifies stories from Syria).
Three years since it was founded, Storyful has attracted some major clients, including ABC, Al Jazeera and the New York Times, and generated hundreds of articles about its innovative take on news gathering – though the company has yet to break even. DW Akademie’s Kate Hairsine talks to Mark Little about why he started up a social media news agency in the first place, his belief in journalism and why he thinks journalists can make great entrepreneurs.
However, there are exceptions to the rule. The kublog.ru project in Krasnodar in southern Russia was developed around the idea to build communities interested in the local events. Some three months after its launch, kublog.ru has reached around 1000 unique daily users and has sparked a lot of controversy over its independent critique of the local media, restaurants and art events.