Team 6. Fawra Media / Jean-Claude Boulos

Born during the Lebanese October Revolution, Fawra is an independent media platform dedicated to sharing information from trusted, reliable sources as well as highlight the stories of the people working on a better tomorrow.

Presentation:

Budget for the accelerator:


The full budget for 2020-2021 is available upon request.

How can you help us?
We’re looking for people to help share our content and provide people with the information and voices that motivate, empower and aids in helping Lebanon move forward.

To check out our work, you can find us on:
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Medium and YouTube.

NOTE FROM ACSI TEAM
Thank you for watching the video. We invite you to give feedback to this team by filling the form on this link: https://www.pitchworthy.org/acsi-sprint-demo-day-judging-form

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Here are your questions from demo day, please try to answer them as best as you can. There are some overlapping questions so make sure you read through them all and create broad answers for the different categories

Caroline Isaac-Hamdan: Like the fact that these guys going to ‘trustworthy’ outlets, gives credibility.
Needs a financial plan and monetization
TJ: What is the product is here? I understand that you’re producing content, but it sounds like the product is actually workshops, or consulting, or something? What are you selling?

  • Also, if the problem is fake news, how do you help people understand you as a trustworthy news source? Otherwise you’re just more noise in the wind. I like that you’re trying to solve this problem, but it’s a difficult one to solve. How does your product solve it when others have failed?

Anonymous: What types of events do you organise? How is that related to the content you provide?
Anonymous: how sustainable is the business model from your perspective ?
Mark Dickinson: Media is very noisy. How will you stand out from the crowd? What will be the one thing that makes people turn to you?
Anonymous: How can you define your project objective?
Jad Bejjani: beautiful presentation. Could you elaborate more on your differentiator in the market. As you know FAKENEWS is quite a virus. You need to show the world that you focus on that and won’t fall into the embellishing channels currently airing.
Anonymous: What is your unique value proposition? And how will you reach out to people to break the chain of misinformation?
Anonymous: I think you’re spreading yourselves too thin, offering too many things so that it is really unclear why someone would seek your services, especially since it seems that many on your team are novices themselves, just having taken a workshop from you.
Anonymous: Since the objective is to offer a reliable source of information, how are you going to ensure public trust? would you have an editorial committee?
Alia Nazar-Farhat: Can you please provide more clarity about your revenue model
Can your project sustain beyond the Revolution?
Anonymous: The issue sometimes is not by not the availability of content but people don’t want to search for the right information.
Also consider having less words on your slides.
How can help students or education in Lebanon with your project?
Sandy Fahed: How do you foresee focusing your content and directing it towards the specific audience?
Anonymous: How are you battling fake news & making sure each story is 100% credible?
Azhar: How are you measuring your outreach and engagement? Are you actively thinking about what content has been effective and your process to create relevant content that is needed, high demand.
Rawane Affara: What differentiates Fawra Media from other social media platforms?
Anonymous: How do you evaluate the effectiveness of what you do?

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I would like to start off by saying thank you to everyone who took the time to fill out their comments and feedback! I noticed a lot of overlapping questions; that have already helped me for future presentations and pitches. The most common feedback received was people asking how we stand out from the rest of the media outlets out there and what makes people turn to Fawra instead of the others.

With all the tools out there, anyone can do a media platform and share content on a whole variety of topics. Anyone can distribute an idea or theory that can either be Nobel-worthy or a complete fiasco. So in that, we understand how big of a challenge it is to venture in media in way, shape or form. What makes us stand out though? First of all, we identify ourselves as a media platform instead of a news platform (more on that in a bit) and, as carefully chosen in my above presentation, the problem we’re tackling is false information and not fake news. News is constant updates that a person receives while information can be a misconception, a false lead, a stereotype. ‘The news’ delivers new information constantly but information can be ancient history that has recently been resurfaced.

Fawra doesn’t report on things that happen by the minute; we are a media platform that gives a voice to those who haven’t had the chance to be heard and provides information about relevant topics from experts that are not affiliated with any political or high-powered figure. Our content (video, photo, graphics, audio and written) is empowering: we focus on underdog stories of people who made something out of themselves, of initiatives that started with community support and nothing but, of ideas and information that make people want to get out of their chairs and actually do something. We don’t talk about specific political parties and we try to steer away from the same content on TV and social media. We stand out by the stories we tell and how we tell them and how we deal with delicate matters such as [trigger warning] suicide. We are constantly including the communities that mainstream media (and some independent media) tend to forget. This inspirational plus (that we have been trying to achieve with close to nothing in our pockets) has been so far so successful. We’ve heard things like: “we eagerly wait for your content”, “you’re the only platform I actually put notifications to see their content”, “whenever I feel down, I watch some of your videos”; we’ve also heard stories of how some people decided to do something because of our content or how some initiatives got a huge push because we featured them or provided them with material to introduce themselves with. Now how do we make sure each story is 100% credible? As they say in the media business: ‘we have our sources!’; that and we have a small research team with a big network of people for fact-checking.

TJ asked what is the product here, I apologize for any confusion. The product here is the previously described content. Workshops, consulting and media production are the paid services that we want to promote in the near future in order for us to continue producing content. The team consists of professionals in communications and social media strategy, professional in creative writing, professional filmmakers including the co-founders, myself and Bachir Asmar, as well as fresh graduates or students in journalism, filmmaking, and media. These profession-based paid services will be used to sustain content production but it won’t affect the discourse or the direction of the content being produced. We will offer mobile journalism workshops to better educate people on how to be citizen journalists using the equipment available to them, media consultations to NGOs and organizations as well as media production services.

Regarding the types of events we organize and how they relate to our content. To build trust and expand your scope of work, we need to get out of our screens and go out to meet people. So far, we only had the chance to execute one offline event that happened to be right before the spread of COVID-19 in Lebanon; however, we had planned to do storytelling events, screenings followed by a Q&A, discussions, and debates. These events will be the offline version of our content all under the goals of empowering people with knowledge and building a community of likeminded individuals working for a better society.

Media is always a trending subject, the tools differ but the outcome stays the same. Everyone is constantly looking for stories to consume and in parallel, working on making their stories to stand out. We’re always experimenting with new ways to tell a story and we’re also very open to collaborations with likeminded individuals or entities as long as they fall within our political and social beliefs. That being said, it’s true that we were formed in the midst of the revolution and we align with it but that doesn’t mean we’re limited to the revolution. Unlike other media outlets born in the revolution, we have thought about all the details that would make us continue long after the revolution starting with the name itself. Fawra is both phonetically close to the word ‘thawra’ (revolution) and its synonym; however, Fawra also means outburst, a source of ebullition and every day there’s a little outburst (or a big one like the novel virus).

We want to broaden perspectives, shift the focus with a constructive counter-narrative and aid in bringing people together.

Thank you for your feedback! If this has a lot of words, you should see the previous versions of the presentation. Personally I don’t see education limited to a textbook or a school; actually, students talk more about what they see on media than they talk about what they learn at school. School and academia help better understand what’s being shown on media but media is constantly updated with information that isn’t shared in textbooks. Our content is created in a way to make it understandable by everyone of all ages. We started with our short videos (1-2 minutes long) but in the long run, we aim at producing documentary series, more in-depth videos and documentary films that go more in-depth about a certain topic and that is how we can help students and education in Lebanon. On the note of people not searching for the right information, I would like to add that when information is presented in a boring format, people tend to stay away; that being said, I disagree with your comment because everyone’s always googling things all the time and watching YouTube videos to learn about new things.

Ever since we started, we have always made sure to post the content we created on times that are relevant and whenever we post anything, we always evaluate its reach and engagement. We’ve certainly had our ups and downs in reach but with media, I think, it’s always trial and error because you are targetting anyone with a smartphone. Some content got surprisingly picked up and others didn’t get the reach expected. As we go, hopefully, if we manage to get funding, we aim at creating curated content on the different platforms we’re on in order to include all the different types of audiences that follow us.

Currently, we’re relying on the platforms’ analytics to measure the engagement and reach. When we manage to get our funds in order, we will sign up for monitoring tools and third-party analytics tools such as Meltwater and SocialBakers that would provide a more in-depth analysis for us to grow and expand accordingly. Regarding the effectiveness, we saw it on-ground when we were covering the revolution: how people sought us for information directly since we have been public about our involvement in Fawra and especially when initiatives got the help they needed because of our videos.

In my answer above, I mentioned the fact that our team has professionals as well as students. Perhaps I wasn’t clear in my presentation or my loom video but, again, the team is not limited to the people we recruited from the workshops: our team is composed of professionals in filmmaking, social media marketing, creative writing as well as teachers in graphic design and journalism asides from the students and fresh-grads in relevant majors. Fawra is divided into an editorial team, a video team, a writing team, a fact-checking team, a graphic design team, and one developer. Personally, I don’t think we’re spreading ourselves too thin, we have a clear strategy and plan and we’re not aiming at doing everything at one; your feedback is highly appreciated but I would have to disagree with you.

I hope I answered all of your questions. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out either here or on my email: jc@willfilltheblanks.com I’m also willing to do a video call with people looking for further clarity and answers.