Syria Deeply, an open-licensed news aggregator about Syria

For those who think that news reports on Syria lack context and historical background, Syria Deeply might be the solution. It is an amazingly well-done news aggregator, a great combination betwee journalism and technology. And it is also open-licensed., using the most flexible Creative Commons license, CC BY. 

Read my post on Creative Commons blog:


Syria Deeply: CC-Licensed News Aggregator

Donatella Della Ratta, December 21st, 2012

In January 2009, Al Jazeera launched a pioneering initiative: the first news repository licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license. At the time, restrictions imposed by the Israeli military in Gaza prevented international news outlets from reaching the Strip and reporting from within. Al Jazeera, which had the advantage of being the only news outlet with a correspondent on the ground, came up with a creative solution by making its exclusive footage available to be used, remixed, translated and re-broadcasted by everybody, including competitors.

Three years later, a similar situation is happening with Syria. Shortage of news is dramatic and reports from within the country are rare and often require that journalists’ lives are put at risk in order to gather information. This is why it is key to have initiatives such as Syria Deeply, a news aggregator launched two weeks ago by a team of journalists and technologists headed by seasoned reporter Lara Setrakian.

Syria Deeply is a news platform that aims to redesign the user experience of the Syria story, for greater understanding and engagement around a complex global issue.‬ The platform is part news aggregator, part interactive backgrounder, part original reporting and feature stories. And the great news is that the content on the site is entirely CC BY–licensed, in order to encourage sharing and viral distribution.

This is a major step in crisis reporting and will allow a wider audience to become more aware of the dramatic situation in Syria, fostering a better understanding of a complex issue by adding context and historical information to the headlines.

“I believe technology is the key to getting more and better news to a broader audience,” says Setrakian. Open licensing can support this process and spread more and better understanding on Syria-related issues.

Discussing the analysis of media production in Syria: musalsalat and news websites

Thanks to the interest and the kind invitation of Yves Gonzalez-Quijano on the 26th of January the French Institute of Damascus IFPO is hosting the seminar “Discussing the analysis of media production in Syria: TV drama and news websites“.

I am going to present my PHD research on Syrian musalsalat with a particular focus on the methodological aspect of doing media studies in Syria. My Italian colleague Enrico de Angelis is studying Syrian news websites with respect to their links to a broader Internet culture and the challenges they present to traditional news-making in Syria. Our talks start at 6pm and are going to be in English (no translation).

On the same day, but starting at 2.30 till 5 pm, IFPO will host an interesting round table with Syrian journalists from news websites (in Arabic only).

Speakers are: Nabil Saleh (Al Jamal), Mohamed Abdel Rahim (Sham News), Firas Adra (DPress) and Mazen Bilal (Suryia al Ghad). The round table is organized by Enrico De Angelis and moderated by Yves Gonzalez-Quijano.