NOVEMBER 8, 2023

Challenging the Norm

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Overcoming challenges which many companies in the western world would not even contemplate has been a hallmark of the Rudaw Media Network in Kurdistan. But now, twelve years after launch, they are continuing to expand.

In the new episode of the Making the Media Podcast, Hejar Berenji, the CTO of the Rudaw Media Network, which is based in Irbil in Iraq, has spoken of how they stayed on air in the face of power cuts, the fight against ISIS, recruiting and training staff to deliver high quality news, and remaining fiercely independent.

Hejar says that any difficulties which CTOs in Europe or the Americas may have faced were multiplied by a factor of ten when it came to establishing the channel, with issues around power, transportation, and communications. But he says what was key was ensuring staff remained true to a simple guide of principles.

He says that during the training for the channel’s journalist, they were asked a key question, “Who is important to you, to the journalist? Who is important? Is that the government? Is that the political parties? Is that the investor? Is that the general manager? Is that the other friend, the head of the department? Or is that the people? And the clear answer was people. People are the most important part of that news organization. Whatever is important to people, this is what's important to Rudaw.”

Hejar has doubts about the cost effectiveness of cloud workflows, plus he highlights other barriers around connectivity which limit their ability to be confident in the cloud to deliver for them, while recognizing that for others it may prove valuable.

One area that they are focused on is the potential for AI, but he says it is critical that it is used appropriately to assist journalists do their job. Hejar tells podcast host, Craig Wilson, that there are many opportunities for companies like Avid to incorporate AI into their products, adding, “AI is here and we have to adapt to it. We need to know how to use it, and we need to be very, very, very careful in my opinion. So that AI is not used in the wrong way.”

Find out more on the next episode of the Making the Media podcast, available on all major podcast platforms on Friday, November 10.

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  • Craig Wilson headshot

    Craig Wilson is a newsroom specialist with over thirty years of experience in the broadcast industry. Craig has held various roles with Avid and is now the Global Media and Cloud Product Evangelist and host of the Making the Media podcast.

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