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Contribute to the strengthening of the skills of the media and the search for a viable business model
Create a network of new media stakeholders and put them in touch with potential finance partners
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The Mashreq has seen rapid growth in the area of the online media and has a strong development potential. The new media, particularly in the wake of the Arab Spring, are proving to be the most effective vector of free speech in this region. Independent pure players, journalists, activists and bloggers offer a wealth of varied information which is immediately picked up and discussed by users themselves.
However, they are faced with a number of problems shared by the region as a whole, problems which the 4M Mashreq project sets out to tackle. Paving the way in this fledgling industry, the journalists working for new media often lack training: some are still unfamiliar with web technologies, while others, although very comfortable on social networks, have scant training in basic journalism and management skills. Lastly, without a long-term strategic vision or a guarantee of financial independence these media cannot create a viable economic environment. The weak advertising market and lack of online payment systems are among the obstacles they face.
The 4M Mashreq project thus aims to support ten media with a high development potential, helping to strengthen their skills and promote exchanges with other media, to share experiences, as well as with potential investors.
“By devising the 4M Mashreq programme and then steering it for the best part of a year, I decided to start (again) by getting back to basics, with the task of taking a group of news media organisations yearning for independence, at crest of the digital wave, in a region in constant turmoil, and putting them on the path to a sustainable future.”
Julien Le Bot, educational coordinator for the project
Ten new media from Lebanon (6), Syria (1), Palestine (2) and Iraq (1) selected following a call for applications.
Sophie Le Bars
1.Identification of structures and strengthening of their skills
Selected following a call for applications from online news projects, the 10 beneficiaries of 4M Mashreq fulfil criteria in terms of quality, ability, innovation and development potential. Hosted by Alt City (Beirut, Lebanon), five training sessions were held to support participants in the development of their project. The three residential sessions take different forms (collective workshops, peer learning, involving the sharing of experiences and practices between participants, and personalised assistance for each project) and cover all aspects of the project: editorial, user experience, marketing, business model, development strategy, fundraising.
Beneficiaries pay the registration fees and set themselves goals between sessions, during which time they stay in contact with the educational coordinators of 4M Mashreq to encourage progress.
4M Cairo Forum: How new media are shaping journalism and the news in the Middle East?
4M Masherq, a guidance initiative for new media providers
December 3, 2013
On 6 December 2013, 4M Mashreq will be officially launched in Beirut. Its aim is to provide tailored guidance to new, independent and innovative online media providers with significant potential for development.
In December 2013, CFI launched its call for applications for the 4M Mashreqprogramme, whichaims to support emerging online news media organisations showing significant potential for development in the Mashreq region, consisting of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Iraq.
2.Presentation of projects incubated to potential investors
At the end of 4M Mashreq, each project is pitched to potential investors. Individual meetings are then scheduled between the project developers and interested investors. The purpose of these meetings is to serve as a means of introduction and, ultimately, to obtain funding.
4M Mashreq: first incubator session in Beirut
April 18, 2014
The leaders of the 10 projects selected after the call for applications launched in December 2013 are getting together in Beirut from 21 to 26 April 2014 for a first incubator meeting devoted to editorial content.
3.Sharing of experiences and networking among new media (4M Beirut forum)
The 4M Beirut Forum, held in October 2014, attended by more than 150 participants, focused on themes specific to the regional context. Its aim was to encourage the sharing of experiences, pass on innovations and encourage networking between those in the industry who often have very different professional backgrounds. The 10 projects that were selected for the 4M Mashreq incubation project were presented and validated at this forum.
4M Beirut Forum 2014 | ONLINE MEDIA AND JOURNALISM IN THE ARAB WORLD: risks, practices and economies
October 10, 2014
17, 18 and 19 October 2014
How are online media changing the very foundations of news production and broadcasting in the Arab world?
What impact are they having on the public debate?
Nearly a year after it was launched, the 4M Mashreq project – which aims to support the development of ten online media in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine and Syria – will come to an end at the fifth and final "incubator session" held from 13 to 16 October 2014 in Beirut.