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Tuesday, July 28 • 14:46 - 16:15
"Pan-Arab Media Engagement in Social Space"

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Author: Mohammad Ayish

The advent of social media to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region seems to have brought both Arab professional journalists and mass audiences face to face in a new journalistic environment thriving on greater critical inquiries, pluralistic representations and audience engagements. In significant ways, social media have been viewed as both opportunities and challenges for transnational Arabic communications with varying cultural, political and professional orientations. As much as social platforms have enhanced pan-Arab media communications with significant regional populations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), they have also presented them with challenges pertaining to how they engage with those audiences. 

This study, part of an a broader ongoing book project on pan-Arab media use of social media to optimize audience engagement, covers 10 regional Arabic media outlets and 26 professional pan-Arab journalists with social media presence. It uses social media analytics to investigate outbound pan-Arab media and journalists’ Facebook and Twitter traffic as well as audience engagement. The author uses Simply Measured data analytics to identify engagement features in outbound and inbound Facebook and Twitter traffic associated with pan-Arab media outlets and journalists. 

The study reveals that while pan-Arab media outlets vary in their engagement levels with audiences, they all demonstrate serious commitment to building up credible audience engagement with audiences. As for journalists, significant variations were found among their engagement levels with those of Al Jazeera taking the lead as influencers in cyberspace. The study concludes that audience engagement by pan-Arab media organizations and journalists may not be only a function of their social media investments as much as of other factors like freedom of speech and social media diffusion in the MENA region. 

avatar for Mohammad Ayish

Mohammad Ayish

Head of Mass Communication Dept., American University of Sharjah
Hi.. I am a media scholar based in the United Arab Emirates. I hold a doctoral degree from the University of Minnesota, Twin-cities (1986) in international communication and a Bachelor in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia (1979). My research interests... Read More →

Tuesday July 28, 2015 14:46 - 16:15
(9th Floor) TRS 3-176 (Ted Rogers School of Management) 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5G 2C3

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