Egyptian journalist and media entrepreneur Lina Attalah was a special guest at 'Storyology' in 2016, an annual conference hosted by the Walkley Foundation that explored and discussed changes to the global media landscape.
Lina is the co-founder and former chief editor of the Cairo-based news website 'Mada Masr', and has worked as a journalist in Egypt, covering her own country and parts of the Middle East, for several news outlets. Before Mada Masr, Lina was Chief Editor of 'Egypt Independent', a major English language publication. When that newspaper closed, Lina started her own outlet, reporting independent news in English and Arabic.
At Storyology, Lina spoke about the difficult situation for journalists in the Arab region and shared her journey with Mada Masr during an impactful keynote presentation. Lina spoke about her experiments with innovative funding models to fund and sustain an independent digital media outlet, something that has significance for the media landscape in Australia.
Lina also gave a public talk hosted by Monash University in Melbourne, and a public talk at Sydney's Seymour Centre, hosted by Sydney Ideas. In addition to these public appearances, she gave numerous interviews, and held meetings to foster a greater mutual understanding between Australia and Egypt.
'Bringing Lina to Australia helped us facilitate connections and conversations between Australian journalists and this powerful voice from the Arab world,' says The Walkley Foundation's Program Manager, Clare Fletcher. Clare also spoke about the benefits of working with the Council for Arab-Australian Relations (CAAR), which sponsored Lina's visit to Australia.
'Working with the Council of Australian Arab Relations has led us at the Walkleys to foster more relationships with other community and industry leaders with Arab backgrounds – like Maher Mughrabi, the Fairfax journalist who interviewed Lina at her public talk in Melbourne, and [CAAR Board Member] Yassmin Abdel Magied, who also spoke at Storyology, opening up these dialogues helps us better educate Australian journalists on issues in the Arab region, and giving Australian journalists the opportunity to make personal connections with people like Lina will facilitate future stories and relationships.'
The CAAR's annual grant round is currently open for application. Funding is provided to projects that deepen connections between Australia and the Middle East.