In search of the integrity of the image: Mada’s video practice in 2017
A review of Mada Masr's video production

Over the past few years, as much of our news has migrated from print media to the expansive digital world, image and video have became integral tools for journalists. However, at Mada Masr — even though we are well into our fourth year — we only started toying around seriously with video in the beginning of 2017.

This delay was not due to a lack of interest in the moving image, or because we thought the shift was not important. It was rather an attempt to resist the idea that we had to produce videos just because we’re an online platform.

We knew we wanted to find a particular voice and a language for our video content, just as we have done with our text-based pieces. We needed to work out what Mada would look like if it shifted more toward visual content, and how we could maintain the integrity of these images, so that they could tell stories that go beyond the accompanying interviews and soundbites.

Perhaps what spurred us to produce videos this year was blocking of our website in May. Being forced into an invisible sphere gave birth to a desire to work on becoming more visible. There seemed to be an urgent need to use video as a counter-narrative to this forced sense of invisibility, an urgent need to move forward while maintaining our criticality, curiosity and the quality of our content, particularly given the goldfish-like attention span that dominates the digital sphere.

We launched two series this year: the first is starring Mada co-founder and cartoonist Andeel as his alter-ego, satirically offering solutions to Egypt’s problems. The second series, which has a single contributor so far, journalist Mostafa Darwish, peeks into the backdoor of production at labor-intensive workshops in Egypt.

Sometimes we succeeded, sometimes we were unhappy with what we produced and occasionally we produced the kind of stories we were hoping to avoid at the onset of our journey. But ultimately, we opted to uncover our language through a series of experimentations and a process of trial and error.

Below is a snippet of what we produced in 2017:

Rowan El Shimi 
Culture journalist