The Social Media Revolution: The Arab Spring and the Transformation of Journalism

Photo courtesy: Omar Robert Hamilton

With professor Alfred Hermida

As the Arab Spring erupted across the Middle East, many citizens in the region turned to social media to express their desire for social change and to document their experiences. By sending instant updates to Twitter or uploading videos to YouTube, theirs was a story often told without the aid of traditional news outlets. Join the Couchiching Institute in a conversation about the phenomenon of "ambient journalism". The instant communication of fragments of news and information through social media is changing the nature of journalism at a time when the most trusted name in news may be a veteran TV news anchor or a twenty-something graduate tweeting from Tahrir Square. Twitter has given journalists a new tool to gather and source news, but it has also led to challenges identifying authoritative sources in an increasingly noisy social media sphere. Discover how social media shaped the news coming from the Middle East and how it marks a shift in the ability of citizens in repressive societies to shape the news.



About Alfred Hermida

Alfred Hermida is an award-winning associate professor at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of British Columbia. His research focuses on changes in journalistic practices, social media and emerging genres of journalism, and has been published in Journalism Studies and Journalism Practice. An online news pioneer, he was a founding news editor of and was a BBC correspondent in the Middle East for four years. He co-authored Participatory Journalism: Guarding Open Gates at Online Newspapers and is currently writing a book on the impact of social media on the news. A regular commentator in the media, his work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, PBS, and the Nieman Journalism Lab. Read more about Alfred’s work on his award-winning blog,

Presented in partnership with Samara

Limited seating, please RSVP: or call 416-494-1440, ext. 225.

Photo courtesy: Omar Robert Hamilton

Free event with limited seating, so please register.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Location: Samara, 33 Prince Arthur Avenue, Toronto

Time: 6:00 - 8:00 pm

Admission: Free

Light snacks will be served

RSVP: or call: 416-494-1440 Ext. 225


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