Michael Wolfe: New Media Give New Voice to Muslims


Editor's note: Michael Wolfe is co-founder of Unity Productions Foundation, a nonprofit organization that has produced six documentary films for national broadcast. He edited the Wilbur-award-winning book "Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim their Faith," and his television work has been nominated for Peabody and Emmy awards.

(CNN) -- "The media is dying." It's the title of a Twitter page and a prime topic of conversation among reporters.

Enter a room full of journalists, and you'll hear constant anxious chatter about dying newspapers and massive layoffs at print publications.

Just one example: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer recently became the first major newspaper to cease its print edition and go exclusively online, after more than 150 years of chronicling the city's history.

As a writer who's been in the game for years -- over 30 and counting -- I'm challenged by all there is to learn and at times overwhelmed as I watch old media gradually head toward extinction. Yet, as a Muslim writer, I am excited by the world of new possibilities. Why? Because I recognize that mastering the online world can unleash a great force to promote understanding among people.

With all the focus on Islam and Muslims in the news, the voices of American Muslim civic leaders, or even ordinary Muslims going about their daily business, are too often missing in stories about their own communities here and abroad. Why is it we so often hear what this or that expert thinks about Muslims yet so rarely hear what Muslims themselves think?

Into this fray steps the Web.

The soaring dominance of new media is an extremely important moment in the history of relations between Muslims and their neighbors. For the first time, ordinary Muslims can speak directly to their non-Muslim neighbors -- and share their views on just about anything -- without the mainstream media as intermediaries selecting their talking heads, pundits and experts.

Muslims should seize this golden opportunity to communicate their stories and views directly to the world. (More)

 


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