Bombarded by blogs and videos, Twitter feeds and Facebook posts, we are living in dizzying digital times. For journalists, technology-driven transformation has brought new opportunities yet prompted anxieties about everything from readerships to paychecks. Bringing some clarity to a seemingly uncertain future is the aim of our Special Report: Media in the Online Age. Who better to lead the conversation than Arianna Huffington? In our Cairo Review Interview, the New Media mogul talks about the outlook for journalism and her expansion ideas for the Huffington Post—plans that include the launch of HuffPost in Arabic this spring.

Dan Gillmor, founding director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, makes the case for optimism in his lead essay, “The Promise of Digital.” Christopher B. Daly explores the deeper reasons for legacy media’s demise in “Death of the Newsroom?” In “Watchdogs Unleashed,” Brant Houston argues that investigative journalism is making a comeback. R. S. Zaharna opens a window on the world of digital diplomacy in “From Pinstripes to Tweets.”

Among the hazards that today’s Online Age journalists face is the determination of those who would manipulate, control, jail, or even kill writers, reporters, and editors. Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, explains the new challenges and risks facing the profession in “Dangerous Occupation,” an extract from his new book, The New Censorship: Inside the Global Battle for Media Freedom, published by Columbia University Press. In “Tests for Egyptian Journalists,” Naomi Sakr reports on the narrowing prospects for press freedom in the Arab World.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. The French expression about how things remain the same unfortunately applies to the persistence of Arab and Muslim stereotyping by the American television and film industries. In “Hollywood’s Bad Arabs,” Jack G. Shaheen reports on how since the September 11 attacks this stereotyping “has extended its malignant wingspan, casting a shadow of distrust, prejudice, and fear over the lives of many American Arabs.” The essay is adapted from the third edition of Shaheen’s landmark work first published in 2001, Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People, published by Interlink Publishing.

Scott MacLeod
Managing Editor