Let’s face it, the Gulf doesn’t win many awards for quality investigative journalism. There’s some outstanding journalists out there, but in a region where most/all of the news outlets are underfunded and owned by bodies or individuals who don’t have a media background we’re left with a lack of quality reporting.
Three people, journalists with experience of global media outlets such as the BBC, the Wall Street Journal, and Al Jazeera, took it upon themselves to take on Qatar’s media scene and create a news portal that would deliver news in real time. The result was Doha News, a news service that began its life on Twitter as @dohanews and then developed into a daily news blog.
The stated aim of Doha News is “to educate, inform, and stimulate positive change in the community.” What the three people behind the project – Shabina Khatri, Omar Chatriwala, and Tory Scott – have essentially done is to create a community site where the public can send in their content, be it images or news stories, and have that content edited and displayed for the rest of the community to see and comment upon.
Doha News hasn’t just become another news website; the portal has frequently beaten other media channels to breaking stories. Similarly, the quality and accuracy of the site’s news has been commended. No other Doha-based media outlet has covered the Villaggio Mall fire tragedy as comprehensively as Doha News. The site’s team went so far as to produce a 57-page e-book on the anniversary of the disaster which won praise for its coverage of what went wrong on the day of the Villaggio Mall fire and the ensuring events including the trial and steps taken by the Authorities and Mall owners to ensure a similar incident never happens again.
Below is a selection of items from the site including a news piece and pictures from users of the site. If you’re looking for news on Qatar or simply want to understand more about digital journalism in the Gulf Doha News is definitely worth a visit or three. Let’s hope others take up the mantle and create similar news portals for the rest of the region.