El Khabar, one of Algeria’s very first daily papers
Founded in 1990, a time of political openness in which private media was allowed, El Khabar – meaning “news” in Arabic – is one of the country’s oldest newspapers. But this media outlet is also very modern in the digital tools it has been using for some years now.
By joining forces with the French-language Algerian newspaper El Watan, El Khabar was able to obtain rotary machines and become one of the very few private newspapers with their own printing press, achieving a record circulation of 600,000 copies in 2006. The outlet focuses on several themes: politics, sport, health and society, with coverage of social protests: Farouk Ghedir, Editor-in-Chief of the daily’s website commented that “We provide the raw information based on surveys.”
For the last six years, the newspaper has been undergoing a major digital transition, with a website that picks up just a few of the articles from the print edition. The remaining content is mainly created specifically for the website. Group journalists are also encouraged to take MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) in online journalism and other training courses, such as the one run by CFI as part of the 4M "Transition to online for Arabic-language newspapers" project, focused on writing for the Internet and social media management.
Ultimately, the group envisages setting up a dedicated multimedia studio equipped with cameras, and is thinking about opting for a subscription system for its print version, although ads via Google are its biggest revenue stream.
People think social networks and citizens’ initiatives will lead to journalism being wiped out. Yet there will always be a need for qualified, well-trained, professional journalists to report the news impartially.”
According to Ghedir, “just like everywhere else, Algerians have less trust in their press, particularly since the birth of so-called citizen media.” In his view, this mistrust can be explained by “the race for scoops and the lack of work of substance from current journalists in Algeria.” However, he believes that, against this backdrop, El Khabar has managed to retain the credibility gained over the years, whilst avoiding sensationalism.
Through the testimonies, portraits of journalists and the human adventures of our series Aswat Jadida ("New Voices", in Arabic), discover ten years of support for media development in the Arab world.