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The Press in the Arab World

Spring 2010

Prof. Greg Perreault


Class Time: TR 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Office hours: W: 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., TR: 12 p.m.-4 p.m.

I. COURSE DESCRIPTION

The Press in the Arab World (3 credits)

While in America the press is going through a violent restructuring, the press in the Arab world
is vibrant and rapidly gaining influence. The emphasis on the class will be on the lessons to be
learned from the interaction of state, culture and religion on the shape of the press in multiple
Arab countries. The class will stress that the Arab world is not a monolith, but lessons learned
from individual countries and regions can be of value to understanding the role of the press in
public discourse. Students will also be required to “regional report” on stories relating to the
Arab world from America. Guest lecturers will discuss the obstacles the press faces in the Arab
world, the rise of transnational Arab press and other selected topics.

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II. REQUIRED READINGS

(a) William Rugh, Arab Mass Media: Newspapers, Radio and Television in Arab
Politics. Praeger: Westport, Conn. 2004.
(b) Mellor, Noha. The Making of Arab News. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.:
Lanham, MD. 2005
(c) Arab Media and Political Renewal: Community, Legitimacy and Public Life. Ed.
Naomi Sakr. I.B. Tauris: New York, NY. 2009.
(d) Arab Media: Power and Weakness. Ed. Kai Hafez. Continuum: New York, NY.
2008.
(e) Hammond, Andrew. Popular Culture in the Arab World. The American University in
Cairo Press: Cairo, Egypt. 2007.
(f) Selected readings, available via BlackBoard.

III. LEARNING OUTCOMES

Students in this three-credit-hour course will:

(1) Demonstrate regional reporting skills by gain sources and developing stories that
relate to majority Arab countries. Have an opportunity to publish clips for the United Press
International wire service via UPIU’s citizen journalism website.

(2) Demonstrate an understanding of the governmental powers, culture, and religion that
shapes the press in majority Arab countries.

(3) Demonstrate their consideration of the rights and responsibilities of journalists in the
Arab press. What does it mean to be a journalist in the Arab world? What news values shape
story judgments?

IV. EVALUATION

* 30 percent -- Students will prepare, turn in, edit and revise two news stories on the
Arab world. Final versions of these stories will be submitted to UPIU for possible publication.
The onus is on the student to find events to report on that will be of interest to an Arab audience.

Story grades will be based on newsroom values. In newsroom terms, try to think of
individual grades this way. Individual journalistic stories will be graded as follows: An "A"
means that a story is almost ready to print, while a "B" will require 10-15 minutes of work by an
editor. With a "C" story, the work will require additional research and major revision while, with
a "D," the reporter must start the story over. Finally, "F" means that a story will not meet
minimum standards in a newsroom.

* 20 percent – First-Person Integrative on the journalism of the Arab World. This course
will integrate course readings and experiences from regional reporting. 4-5 pages.

“Press in the Arab World” Syllabus Spring 2010

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* 25 percent – Research Paper that demonstrates a knowledge of the struggles, triumphs
and obstacles of the Arab Press and journalists in Arab majority countries. MLA, APA, Chicago
and parenthetical documentation are all acceptable. 12-15 pages.

* 25 percent – Participation in class discussions, demonstrated understanding of course


readings and integration into research.

Overall evaluation of student work is based on many factors. A final "C" grade indicates
adequate performance, a "B" indicates competent and complete work, and an "A" indicates
excellent, creative and integrative work.

V. COURSE OUTLINE

The Arab World, The Arab Press


Week 1: January 12 and 14: What is the “Arab World?”
-Andrew Hammond, Pop Culture in the Arab World
Chapter One- Culture and Politics in the Arab World Today.

Week 2: January 19 and 21: Rugh’s Typology


-Rugh, Introduction and Chapter One: Arab Information Media

Week 3: January 26 and 28: The Obstacles of the Press


-Andrew Hammond, Pop Culture in the Arab World
Chapter Nine- The Trials and Tribulations of the Arabic Press.
-Hafez, Introduction.
-Freedom House Articles on Press Freedom in Arab Countries. On Blackboard.
* Jan. 28, Story One Due. File at UPIU and email to professor.

Week 4: February 2 and 4: History of the Politics and Media in the Arab World
-Sakr, Chapter One- Approaches to Exploring Media-Politics Connections in the Arab World.
-Mellor, Chapter One and Chapter Two

Arab News Values


Week 5: February 9 and 11: Journalist’s Values
-Mellor, Chapter Four and Chapter Seven
-Hafez, Chapter Eight and Nine

Week 6: February 16 and 18: Cultural Values and Media Law


-Hafez, Chapter Twelve and Thirteen
*Feb. 18, Story Two Due. File at UPIU and email to professor.

The Arab Audience


Week 7: February 23 and 25: Participation in the Arab Media
Hafez, Chapter Five- From Activity to Interactivity: The Arab Audience

Week 8: March 2 and 4: The Arabic Language(s) and Pop Religion(s)


Hammond, Chapter Two and Three.

Spring Break

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Broadcast and Radio Media
Week 9: March 16 and 18: Broadcast News and Radio News History in the Arab World
Rugh, Chapter Nine and Ten
*March 18, First-Person Integrative Due.

Week 10: March 23 and 25: Case Studies of Broadcast and Radio News
Hafez, Chapter Seven and Fourteen

Transnational Media
Week 11: March 30 and April 1: Transnational Media
(Watch Doha Debates: This House believes the Arab Press needs no lessons in Journalism from
the Western Press…)
Rugh, Chapter Eight

Week 12: April 6 and 8: Hybridity


Selections from Modern Arab Journalism. On Blackboard.

Week 13: April 13 and 15: Hybridity II


Selections from the Press in the Arab Middle East. On Blackboard.

New Media in the Arab World


Week 14: April 20 and 22: The Rise of the Arab Digital Sphere
-Sakr, Chapter Five- Arab Internet Use.
-Jon Alterman, New Media, New Politics? White Paper. On Blackboard.
Final Thoughts
Week 15: April 27: Rugh’s Typology Revisited
-Mellor, Chapter Three
-Iskandar, Lines In The Sand. On Blackboard.

Final Paper Due: May 4, 2 p.m.

VI. ACADEMIC DISHONESTY

American journalism has, in recent years, been rocked by a series of scandals that were
rooted in fundamental issues of professional dishonesty. A journalist who steals the work of
another is not a journalist and the same goes for people who can't get their facts straight. Thus,
please note the following statement all students sign at Georgetown University:

“In the pursuit of the high ideals and rigorous standards of academic life, I commit myself to
respect and uphold the Georgetown University Honor System:
• To be honest in any academic endeavor, and
• To conduct myself honorably, as a responsible member of the Georgetown community,
as we live and work together.”

For the specific discussion on plagiarism, the use of electronic media and citations, please visit
the Georgetown Honor System Webpage at http://bulletin.georgetown.edu/regulations6.html

VII. ATTENDANCE

Students are expected to attend all class sessions. Excused absences must be cleared with

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professors in advance -- in writing. This normally means email, received before the class session
begins. Cellular telephone calls do not count. If there are any questions, the professor will
evaluate emergency absences and award excused absences as fit.

VIII. WEBLIOGRAPHY
(a) The Freedom House holds statistics and up-to-date information on the state of press
freedom. http://www.freedomhouse.org
(b) The Freedom Forum is one of the top think tanks on the First Amendment and its role
in freedom of the press and freedom of religion: http://www.freedomforum.org
(c) The Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla. The motto of this site is ³Everything you
need to be a better journalist. This site -- http://www.poynter.org/ -- includes Jim Romenesko¹s
famous media news and gossip site, the digital water cooler of American journalism.
(d) The National Press Club: http://www.nationalpressclub.com
(e) The American Journalism Review: http://www.AJR.org
(f) The Columbia Journalism Review: http://www.cjr.org/
(g) The Pew Center for the People and the Press: http://people-press.org/ A wide range of
research materials are stored here, including ongoing efforts to judge the public's attitudes
toward the pews.
(h) A Journalist's Guide to the Internet: http://reporter.umd.edu/
(i) George Gilder, The Technology & Democracy Project:
http://www.discovery.org/technology/gilder.php
(j) Dr. Jay Rosen's PRESSthink site, dedicated to "the ghost of democracy in the media
machine." http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/
(k) The global Media Channel press freedom project: http://www.mediachannel.org/
(l) The Project for Excellence in Journalism: http://www.journalism.org/

Contact: Greg Perreault: 202-546-8713, ext. 402.

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“Press in the Arab World” Syllabus Spring 2010