October Feature: Munir Nasser


munirNaserDr. Munir Nasser was one of the founders of Birzeit Universitys Media Development Center (MDC) in 1996. Nasser was born in Birzeit  and has worked as a Palestinian-American journalist with more  than 30 years of experience as an author, editor, trainer, reporter and Washington correspondent for a number of Arabic newspapers and magazines. In August he was back in Palestine to teach a workshop on internet journalism at Birzeit University.

Why did you decide to become a journalist?
My interest in journalism and reading news dates back to my high school years, after which I chose to become a reporter for local newspapers in Jerusalem in the 1950s. My passion drove me thereafter to specialize in the field, graduating with a BA in journalism from the American University in Cairo (Egypt), and an MA from the University of South Carolina and a PhD from the University of Missouri (USA).  My doctoral research focused on the Egyptian government's control of the press and its effects on the country, and resulted in the publication of a book in 1979 titled "Press, Politics and Power: Egypt's Heikal and Al-Ahram.

What do you do?
Beside my academic involvement both in the USA and Middle-East , I have helped develop the academic program for the Journalism Department at BZU and taught classes in writing, editing, theory of journalism and media & society in the mid 90s.  I also designed and implemented training programs in various aspects of journalism, including news writing and editing workshops for Arab journalists in Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Sweden and the USA.

What are your goals for the future?
In recent years, my interests focused on Internet journalism in Palestine and presented a training workshop at the MDC at BZU to enhance the skills of local journalists and students in this field.  I hope  that this kind of training will make a difference in the way journalists cover news for Palestinian websites. 

My future plans include a few projects of research and writing, including a new book on  the role of social media in the Arab revolutions. I would also like to do some research and writing on the development of the Palestinian press and the concept of self censorship among reporters and editors. 

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