New Web site aims to fill gap in coverage of region

OliveTreeNews.com aggregates news from 100 sources in attempt to show ‘the full story.’

By ZUZANA BARAK
September 6, 2010 02:26
2 minute read.
OliveTreeNews.com

olivetreenews 311. (photo credit: OliveTreeNews.com)

 
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A new Web site purports to cover the Middle East from a wide variety of perspectives, claiming to be “the fastest gateway to knowing about the latest developments in the Middle East.”

OliveTreeNews.com collects items from news agencies across the region and around the world. Israeli, Egyptian, Jordanian, Lebanese, Qatari and Iranian sources work for the site and are all volunteers. Most prefer to stay anonymous.

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“Multiple times a day, Olive- TreeNews aggregates breaking stories, highlights controversies and showcases op-eds from approximately 100 different news sources worldwide,” the Web site boasts. “[It] is the ideal networking and research tool for decision-makers and empowered leaders alike.”

Brian Blondy, a co-creator and the director of communications for the site, said the portal sought to fill a gap in the coverage of the region.

“For us, the most important thing is to create media transparency and objectivity,” Blondy told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. “"As citizens of the Middle East, we want to comment on the events happening around us in their wider context, and also see their repercussions in their wider context. Being country-centric is no longer enough; people want to know the full story.”

Established in March 2009, the site was modeled on the aggregated format of the American Drudge Report site, and promises to provide an overview of current affairs via news stories, editorials, interviews from key opinion-makers and analyses free of political or religious bias.

Blondy and his two partners are, for now, financing the site from their own pockets, but they aim to expand the project and are looking for investors.



www.olivetreenews.com already has over 40,000 viewers from more than 70 countries, he said.

Blondy said the site would succeed because many government-owned media outlets across the region were slowly breaking away from the status quo.

“We felt that it is either now or never,” he said. “The Middle East is at the center of the world’s attention; it will never be devoid of news. The question is how do you report on news that can at times be so sensitive and controversial? “It is time for Arabs themselves to report on Arab issues, and for Israelis to take their reports seriously and vice versa.

All we ask of our readers is for them to access our site with an open mind and to evaluate the news provided purely on the basis of its content rather than its origin.”

The site’s content can be accessed via Twitter, Facebook, the OliveTreeNews.com blog and YouTube.

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