June 19, 2009

Why Underreported?

This blog has been long time coming.

It all started when I quit the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get married to a beautiful American woman. We moved to Boston where I pursued a PhD degree in Political Science. Being the news buff that I am, I expected America to have media that are freer, more diverse, more objective and, well, more profound than their Arab counterparts. I was mistaken. When it comes to covering news from the Middle East, U.S. media is often brief in content, shallow in understanding and uniform in perspective. Even worse, it seldom questions many of the assumptions guiding our understanding of the ever-dynamic region.

That was back in the summer of 2007. This spring, I was fortunate enough to intern for the Center for a New American Security, a national security think tank in Washington DC. One of my responsibilities was to compile a daily feed of news from the Middle East, about the Middle East. The CNAS news feed, as well as encouragement from one of my intellectual heroes (Tom Ricks), inspired me to start a blog bearing the title, "Underreported."

Underreported is unique insofar that it does not aim to rehash the news of the day. It actively searches for those articles of news that have fallen somewhere through the cracks, yet bear serious repercussions for both the region and the United States. Those are articles written on regional news website, in Arabic, English or Turkish. The news will usually be accompanied by my analysis, and updated every other day.

Finally, I should thank my co-contributor Oya Yegen, another Boston University comrade, who agreed to lend me a hand with Turkish news. If it is on Turkey, it is Oya's. This is the rule.

Thank you, and I look forward to being enlightened with your incisive comments.

Yasser M. El-Shimy


Abel Djassi said...

I commend you and truly support you on this project of yours. I will be following your posts - particularly because ME is a region that I am a complete ignorant of the issues and because whatever I get is always biased by the media.
Look forward to learn (from an inside perspective) on ME issues.
Good luck!

Yasser M. El-Shimy said...

Thanks, Abel. The ME never disappoints.

Matt said...

I am also a fan of Tom Ricks and, on his recommendation in his FP blog, I look forward to following Underreported.

I must agree that American media coverage of global issues is sub-par (to say the least) and fails to provide us with a true picture of major events abroad. Few properly analyze the ramifications of global issues on the US and the world, nor do they understand how America's actions influence foreign events and determine attitudes towards us.

Best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Your critique of the American media's coverage is valid. At the same time, its not as if the Egyptian or Arab media's coverage of America is any more insightful and does a better job of going beyond stereotypes, etc...