These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
Nieman Journalism Lab
From Nieman Reports: How social media has challenged old media in the Middle East 
“In the wake of the Arab Spring, a vigorous debate is taking shape. While Facebook and Twitter are recognized broadly for playing a pivotal role in broadcasting information from inside the demonstrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and elsewhere, views differ on the fit they will — or should — have in territory that has been the traditional reserve of journalists.
Throughout the Arab region, web forums — general and themed — have long served as hosts for civic discussion. These online spaces held the place of social media before global sites like Facebook and Twitter came along. From 2004 to 2007, when I lived in Morocco, Facebook was nascent, still closed off to users outside certain networks, and Twitter, launched in 2006, had not yet emerged. Blogs were still new, so much so that the Moroccan blogosphere, now a force to be reckoned with, consisted of just a handful of largely disconnected writers posting in diary style, dipping briefly into politics or sports. It was Yabiladi, Bladi, and others — Morocco’s forums — that were sources of unreported news, discussion and social commentary.” READ MORE 
“Over 40 people attended a presentation of The Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media, by the International Women’s Media Foundation. The free flow of information is an essential ingredient of open and democratic societies, and this includes an equal voice for women in the gathering and dissemination of news. Based on interviews with 500 companies in almost 60 countries around the world, the report explores the role of women in determining and shaping the news agenda. It examines whether media companies are currently organized to promote gender equity within their organizations or to accommodate women’s voices as well as men’s perspectives in coverage. The discussion will feature the report’s research and findings, conducted over a two-year period, on women’s status globally in news media ownership, publishing, editing, and production, among other media jobs. Panelists will comment on the study and offer their perspectives on gender barriers in the news business.” READ MORE 
“The total number of global mobile connections are going to go past the six billion mark by the end of 2011 according to a forecast from Wireless Intelligence, the research arm of the trade group, GSMA. Wireless Intelligence is forecasting about 6.07 billion connections at the close of the year. Just for context the global population will nudge past seven billion people by the end of October 2011.” READ MORE 
“In college we studied the so-called “resource curse:” the tragic observation that countries well-endowed with natural resources tend to have slower economic growth and poorer development than those without. I remember, very clearly, that we studied this concept as though it were a truism—a common and (mostly) irreversible reality that just was . This theory has, in fact, been demonstrated very strongly in quantitative terms. According to an analysis of developing countries by Jeffrey Sachs and Andrew Warner, the more an economy relies on mineral wealth, the lower its growth rate.
Of course, in my classes, we also studied the drivers behind this phenomenon. In economics, we learned about the decline in the competitiveness of other sectors precipitated by resource endowments and volatility of revenues caused by natural market fluctuations in the prices of these goods. In political science, our professors taught us about other causes, like government mismanagement and weak, ineffectual institutions.” READ MORE 
“In the age of Twitter, the blogosphere, iPhones and Androids, it is often difficult for people in more developed nations to imagine what it is like to have no voice. Yet for populations not served by broadband Internet and WiFi connections, exclusion from national dialogue and debate continues, leaving many communities and people out of the conversation on social and political issues.” READ MORE