Saba Bebawi is a journalism and media researcher who has published on media power and the role of media in democracy-building, in addition to investigative journalism in conflict and post-conflict regions. She is author of Media Power and Global Television News: The role of Al Jazeera English (2016); Investigative Journalism in the Arab World: Issues and Challenges (2016); and co-author with Mark Evans on The Future Foreign Correspondent (2019); in addition to co-editor of Social Media and the Politics of Reportage: The 'Arab Spring' (2014) and Data Journalism in the Global South (2020).
She holds a PhD in International News from the University of Melbourne, an MA research in Media Policy from Queensland University of Technology (QUT), and an MA in Communications from Monash University in Australia.
Bebawi has worked as a journalist since 1995. She was a broadcaster/producer for Radio Jordan English service for four years, and also worked on a contract basis for CNN, World New Events (USA), and Dubai TV. She is a media development and policy consultant, in addition to being a media trainer. She has previously held academic positions at Monash University and Swinburne University in Australia, in addition to Zayed University in the UAE. She was a Scholarly Fellow at the Centre for Media Pluralism and Freedom at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy (June-July 2017); Visiting Fellow at the Middle East Institute (MEI) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) (July 2016); and Digital Journalism Research Fellow at OsloMet (March 2020).
Bebawi is currently an Australian Research Council (ARC) DECRA Fellow (2018-2020) for a project on Developing an Arab Culture of Investigative Journalism. She is also Chief Investigator of an ARC Discovery Project (2018-2020) with Associate Professor Timothy Dwyer (USyd), Professor Derek Wilding (UTS), Dr Jonathon Hutchinson (USyd) and Dr Kari Karppinen (Helsinki), on a project titled Media Pluralism and Online News. Bebawi is founder and project director of the Foreign Correspondent Study Tour (FCST), funded by the Australian government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). She is also co-editor for the book series Palgrave Studies in Journalism and the Global South.
2018 Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA), DE180100428 Developing an Arab Culture of Investigative Journalism, Australian Research Council (ARC), 2018-2020
2018 Discovery Project, DP180100034 Media Pluralism and Online News, Dwyer T, Wilding D, Bebawi S, Hutchinson J, Karppinen K;Australian Research Council (ARC), Discovery Project (DP), 2018-2020
2018 The Foreign Correspondent Study Tour to India and Philippines, New Colombo Plan (NCP), Australian government
2018 The Foreign Correspondent Study Tour to Jordan, Council for Australian Arab Relations (CAAR), Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
2018 The Foreign Correspondent Study Tour to India, Australia-India Council (AIC), Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
2017 The Foreign Correspondent Study Tour to Jordan, Council for Australian Arab Relations (CAAR), Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
2017 Towards Developing a Culture of Investigative Journalism in the Arab World, UTS Early Career Research Grant (ECRG)
2016 The Foreign Correspondent Study Tour to Jordan, Council for Australian Arab Relations (CAAR), Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
2016 Developing a Culture of Investigative Journalism in the Arab World, Faculty Early Career Research (ERC), University of Technology Sydney (UTS)
2014 Early Research Career Scheme, Mapping Investigative Journalism Training and Practice in South East Asia: Stage 2 of the ‘Investigative Journalism in the Global South Project’, Swinburne University of Technology
2014 The Foreign Correspondent Study Tour to UAE and Jordan, Council for Australian Arab Relations (CAAR), Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
2014 Faculty Award for Innovation and Excellence in Learning, Teaching and Assessment, Use of Facebook as a pedagogical platform for developing Investigative Journalism skills, Swinburne University of Technology
2013 International Peace Research Association Foundation (IPRAF), Democracy Building in Post Conflict Regions: Investigative Journalism Training Post ‘Arab Spring’, Washington, U.S.
Can supervise: YES
- Data Journalism
- International news networks
- Media and globalisation
- Investigative journalism
- Media power
- Arab media
- Social media
- Political Communication
Investigative Journalism in the Arab World is the first book to date that looks into the state and role of investigate journalism in the Arab world before, during, and after the protests of the 'Arab Spring'. The fact that the Arab Spring is still happening in parts of the Arab world, such as Syria at the time of writing this book, means that this topic is not only timely but also one that could be ongoing. The necessity of this book lies in the vital role the media could potentially play in informing and empowering society, in order for them to assist in opening up the communicative space in a region where this has previously been taboo. This book, therefore, explores how investigative journalism training and practice can be used to develop and promote deliberative social and political systems in Arab countries.
The Middle East has been a particular focus of global crisis reporting. Yet, international coverage of these conflicts has historically been presented through a 'Western' perspective. The absence of Arab voices in the global public sphere has created a discursive gap between the Middle East and the rest of the world. The arrival of Al Jazeera English might, therefore, be regarded as an attempt to bridge this gap by broadcasting discourses from and about the Arab world. Using a framing analysis of selected news reports by Al Jazeera English before and after the so-called 'Arab Spring' protests, this book considers Al Jazeera English's position in the global news environment and identifies the extent to which it addresses this gap between the Arab and global spheres.
Specifically, this book focuses on the journalistic challenges, issues and opportunities that have arisen as a result of social media increasingly being used as a form of crisis reporting.
Mutsvairo, B, Data Journalism in the Global South, Springer Nature.
Mutsvairo, B & Bebawi, S 2019, 'Journalism Educators, Regulatory Realities, and Pedagogical Predicaments of the ‘Fake News’ Era: A Comparative Perspective on the Middle East and Africa', Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, vol. 74, no. 2, pp. 143-157.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Wright, K, Zamith, R & Bebawi, S 2019, 'Data Journalism beyond Majority World Countries: Challenges and Opportunities', Digital Journalism, vol. 7, no. 9, pp. 1295-1302.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This commentary reflects on the state of research on data journalism and discusses future directions for this line of work. Drawing on theory in international development and postcolonial studies, we discuss three critical pitfalls that we encourage future scholarship in this area to avoid. These include using a linear model of progress, in which journalists in Majority World nations struggle to ‘catch up’ to their Minority World counterparts because of the ‘obstacles’ they face; reproducing a simplistic split between the ‘West and the Rest’, thus missing the complex interaction of structures operating at different levels; and failing to examine journalistic agency due to an overemphasis on the technical structuring of the ‘tools’ used in data journalism. We also encourage scholars to engage in more comparative work rather than single case studies; increase dialogic communication between scholarship produced in, or about, different parts of the world; and incorporate more diverse methodologies with the aim of building theory. More broadly, we advocate for greater critical reflection upon—if not the challenging of—our dominant modes of thought in order to build more nuanced frameworks for explaining the complex causes, and potentially mixed effects, of data journalism around the world.
Bebawi, S 2018, 'Challenges facing the Development of Arab Investigative Journalism', Centre for Media Pluralism and Freedom.
While there is much research to describe journalists’ use of social media to source and disseminate news about major events and interact with global audiences, there are few studies that focus on journalists’ use of social media within everyday news practices. This article uses qualitative surveys to provide a preliminary understanding of how journalists in Australia are utilising social media content in everyday news sourcing and reportage. The purpose of this study is, first, to understand journalists’ perceptions of how and why they use social media to source news and information and, second, to understand the organisational and professional implications for news sourcing in social media-enabled environments.
Plaskow, J & West, T 2014, 'Introduction', JOURNAL OF FEMINIST STUDIES IN RELIGION, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 1-3.
Bossio, D & Bebawi, S 2012, 'Reaping and Sowing the News from an Arab Spring: the politicised interaction between traditional and alternative journalistic practitioners', Global Media Journal: Australian Edition, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 1-13.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The ‘Arab Spring’ has been discussed in the mainstream media as a ‘social media revolution’; a seismic shift
away from the traditional news correspondence towards an era of citizen journalism and social media
reporting. This paper reports on a preliminary analysis of the ways in which mainstream and alternative
modes of journalistic practice in particular, interacted during the initial months of protest in Egypt and Libya
in 2011. Using both quantitative and qualitative forms of analysis of mainstream news reports as well as
social media and blogging, the paper compares the ways in which the two modes of journalistic practice
collaborated to disseminate news and information about the protests. The preliminary analysis indicates that
productive interactions did occur and led to changes in traditional journalistic practice, though true
collaboration was hindered by the organisational constraints posed by the reporting practices of each group.
Bebawi, S 2010, 'How Al Jazeera English Reports Local Crises to the Global Citizen', International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR).
Bebawi, S 2008, 'Global Citizens and Issues of Access: The use of television satellite dishes in the developing world', Urbanistica, no. 48.
Bebawi, S 2008, 'The NWICO Debates Revisited: A contra-flow from the Arab world', The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences.
Bebawi, S 2007, 'Sustaining the Democratic Medium: Philanthropy and Community Radio in Australia', Global Media Journal: Australian Edition, vol. 1, no. 1.
Bebawi, S 2005, 'A Balancing Act: Entrepreneurship in Community Media', 3CMedia: Journal of Community, Citizen's and Third Sector Media and Communication, no. 1.
Bebawi, S 2005, 'Citizen's Media and the Future: A case of Melbourne ethnic community radio', Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities.
Bebawi, S 2005, 'The Future Role of Community Radio as Registered Training Organisations', Radio in the World: Radio Conference.
Bebawi, S 2005, 'The United Nations’ role in Arab media: A voice for the community?', Journal of International Communication: UN at 60, vol. 11, no. 2.
Bebawi, S 2020, 'Data Journalism and Investigative Reporting in the Arab World: From Emotive to Evidence-Based Journalism' in Mutsvairo, B, Bebawi, S & Borges-Rey, E (eds), Data Journalism in the Global South, Springer Nature.
CHAPTER 11 Data Journalism and Investigative Reporting in the Arab World:
From Emotive to Evidence-Based Journalism Saba Bebawi INTRODUCTION
Data-driven journalism is still somewhat new in the Arab world, and despite some
Bebawi, S 2019, 'Al Jazeera and Global News: Stages of Operation' in Kern, R & Mishra, S (eds), Transnational Media: Concepts and Cases.
Bebawi, S 2017, 'The Cultural Imperative: News Production and Soft Power' in Chitty, N, Hayden, C, Ji, L, Rawnsley, G & Simons, J (eds), The Routledge Handbook of Soft Power, Routledge, pp. 157-165.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The Routledge Handbook of Soft Power is the first volume to offer a comprehensive and detailed picture of soft power and associated forms of public diplomacy.
Bebawi, S 2017, 'The Digital Public Sphere: Social Media as Social and Political Participation' in De Abreu, B, Mihailidis, P, Lee, AY, Melki, J & McDougall, J (eds), International Handbook of Media Literacy Education, Routledge, New York, pp. 380-389.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Social media users play a fundamental role in reporting social issues and political conflict within the digital public sphere, particularly at times when journalists do not have access to events on the ground. This, in turn, has marked a shift in media power whereby traditional media have had to rely on social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs for the coverage of events. This chapter discusses how social media users have, therefore, become equipped with the digital media literacy required to become active participants in political reporting and social change within the digital public sphere. Media literacy is defined as 'the ability to "reach" and understand visual, aural and digital messages. It means having the skills to understand and interact with the media analytically, critically and knowledgeably'(Burton,2005: 95). Sonia Livingstone provides a definition of media literacy within an online context where it is defined as 'the ability to access, analyse, evaluate and create messages across a variety of contexts' (Livingstone, 2004: 3). Livingstone suggests that media literacy expands to include other literacies, such as digital literacies in correlation to digital media practices. To this effect, she states that the concept of literacy is pan-media in that it covers the interpretation of all complex, mediated symbolic texts broadcast or published on electronic communications networks' (Livingstone,2004:5). However, Livingstone is wary on focusing solely on a skills-based approach to conceptualising media literacy as a result of the interactive nature of digital media. Such a focus could potentially lead to neglecting the historical and cultural contingency of both media and the social knowledge processes that interpret them' (Livingstone, 2004: 8).
Bebawi, S 2017, 'Voices Online: The case of ‘The Uprising of Women in the Arab World' in Mahadin, E & Mahadin, S (eds), Arab Feminist Media Studies, Brill Publishers.
Aayeshah, W & Bebawi, S 2015, 'The use of facebook as a pedagogical platform for developing investigative journalism skills' in Gamification: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications, IGI Global, USA, pp. 1506-1522.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2015, IGI Global. All rights reserved. This chapter evaluates the extent to which Facebook could be used as a training and learning tool for investigative journalism students. This study is based on the deployment of Facebook as a pedagogical tool for an "Investigative Journalism" unit at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia. This chapter, accordingly, outlines the challenges, issues, and benefits of using Social Networking Services (SNS) as pedagogical tools for the training of future investigative journalists, which could in turn assist other instructors to make use of such online social platforms for media training. By conducting an observation of student usage of Facebook and interviewing students and tutors on their experiences from this activity, this chapter concludes that Facebook can serve as a useful online collaborative platform for investigative journalism students and as a progress monitoring tool for their instructors.
Bebawi, S 2014, 'A Shift in Media Power: The Mediated Public Sphere During the ‘Arab Spring’' in Bebawi, S & Bossio, D (eds), Social Media and the Politics of Reportage, Palgrave Macmillan, UK, pp. 123-138.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The Arab Spring protests, as have been discussed in this book, have
provided examples of the complex power relations between traditional
and new methods of crisis reporting. This chapter aims to conceptualise
these relations of power within the mediated public sphere
and in turn discuss future implications of these interrelations. Historically,
global crisis reporting has been mainly controlled by mainstream
journalists, where audiences around the world receive their
knowledge of political happenings through dominant media players,
such as CNN and BBC World. Yet the wave of political unrest in
the Arab world has somehow tipped the power that such dominant
news networks hold and left them struggling to ‘control’ the flow of
information. The Arab Spring, therefore, has brought about a shift in
power where alternative media ‘reporters’ on the streets have risen
to play a prominent role in the coverage of these political events.
This has been made possible through social media technologies which
have allowed alternative reporters, activists and protesters to disseminate
information globally. It is therefore necessary to theoretically
understand relations of power that have emerged from the interactions
between established media and alternative media practitioners,
within the mediated public sphere. I have discussed elsewhere
(ElGhul-Bebawi, 2009) the interrelationship between alternative and
mainstream media more generally, where I have argued that alternative
media seek to challenge the power of dominant media; however,
there is a need to better theoretically understand the specific nature of power relations between mainstream and social media during the
reporting of the Arab Spring.
Sabahat, W & Bebawi, S 2014, 'The Use of Facebook as a Pedagogical Platform for Developing Investigative Journalism Skills' in Mallia, G (ed), The Social Classroom: Integrating Social Network Use in Education Integrating Social Network Use in Education, IGI Global, USA, pp. 83-99.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This chapter evaluates the extent to which Facebook could be used as a training and learning tool for investigative journalism students. This study is based on the deployment of Facebook as a pedagogical tool for an “Investigative Journalism” unit at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia. This chapter, accordingly, outlines the challenges, issues, and benefits of using Social Networking Services (SNS) as pedagogical tools for the training of future investigative journalists, which could in turn assist other instructors to make use of such online social platforms for media training. By conducting an observation of student usage of Facebook and interviewing students and tutors on their experiences from this activity, this chapter concludes that Facebook can serve as a useful online collaborative platform for investigative journalism students and as a progress monitoring tool for their instructors.
Bossio, D & Bebawi, S 2013, 'War of Worlds? Alternative and Mainstream Journalists Practices in Coverage of the "Arab Spring" Protests' in Hayes, JE, Battles, K & Hilton-Morrow, W (eds), War of the Worlds to Social Media: Mediated Communication in Times of Crisis, Peter Lang Publishing, USA, pp. 189-209.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
ln- this chapter, Bossio and Bebawi offer a comparative case study
of online coverage of pro-democracy demonstrations in Egypt and
Libya on six separate days in early 2011. They identify tensions
between "old" and "rìew" journalistic coverage of the crisis similar
to those shaping reactions to the War of the Worlds broadcast
event. Despite these tensions, however, Bossio and Bebowi orgue
thot shored interest in the struggle for democracy and the welfare of
innocent people spurred cooperation between professional and
citizen journalists during the crises.
Bebawi, S 2009, 'The Relationship between Mainstream and Alternative Media: A blurring of the edges?' in Gordon, J (ed), Notions of Community: A Collection of Community Media Debates and Dilemmas, Peter Lang.
Bossio, D & Bebawi, S 2012, 'A Shift in Media Power: The role of alternative journalism during the 'Arab Spring'', 22nd World Congress of Political Science (IPSA) - Reshaping Power, Shifting Boundaries, IPSA World Congress of Political Science, IPSA, Madrid, Spain, pp. 1-7.
Traditionally global crisis reporting has been controlled by mainstream
journalists, however the recent wave of protests in the Middle East, termed
the ‘Arab Spring’, have witnessed a shift in power where alternative media
‘journalists’ on the streets have risen to play a notable role in the coverage of
these political events. This has been facilitated through digital and social
media which have allowed alternative reporters, activists and protesters to
share information globally. This paper seeks to discuss both the new and
traditional media production frameworks that have informed the interaction
between those who have witnessed and those who have reported on the
events of the ‘Arab Spring’. Particularly, this study aims to illustrate relations
of power that emerge from the interactions between established media and
social media practitioners. Focusing on Egypt and Libya on six politically
important days during the protests, this paper will suggest some of the
political and cultural ramifications of these new interactions for global