Middle East and North Africa

Announcing the Omphalos Middle East Journalism Program

By Benjamin Wittes
Friday, August 14, 2015, 7:21 AM

I'm delighted to announce a new experiment we are undertaking, along with our friends at Academic Exchange: We want to sponsor some Middle East journalism. Lawfare has done some experiements in regional journalism already. We ran, for example, Laura Dean's Cairo Diary and we are currently running a series of Kyiv Dispatches by Stephanie Leutert. These forays seem to me to point to the reality that there are a lot of great voices out there with significant regional expertise or ongoing experiences in important regions—or both. There are also journalists back home who have very deep knowledge of and experience in the region and fabulous ideas for reporting trips or projects that would be of interest to Lawfare readers.

So here's our idea: Send us a proposal for a great reporting project on the Middle East.

We are intentionally creating this in an open-ended format with relatively little guidance as to what we're looking for, on the theory that prospective rules are limiting. There really are only a few important parameters:

  • We are primarily interested in streams of content, not individual articles.
  • Conversely, though we are now able to fund creative, ambitious work, we are not in a position to hire a reporting staff, so these content streams will need to take place over defined periods of time.
  • We are looking for exciting proposals related to Omphalos's theme of "Middle East Conflict in Perspective." We are willing to think broadly about what subject matters fit within this broad theme, both regionally and in terms of subject matter.
  • We are more interested in deep reporting than we are in opinion writing.
  • Proposals should include a budget and as detailed a sense of the expected outputs as possible.

Within these parameters, we're willing to be very open minded. Indeed, we're looking to have our minds expanded.

So if you're a regional journalist with a great project to unload upon the world, get in touch. If you're stateside but have a reporting trip you've been aching to take, let us know. If you're living in a place that the world should know more about, let's talk.