Lina Atallah is editor-in-chief of Mada Masr, an independent Egyptian online newspaper in Arabic and English, launched on 30 June 2013 by former journalists of the English-language newspaper Egypt Independent following the shutting down of its editorial operations in April 2013, due to pressure from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
She has been in journalism for a little more than a decade with reporting work from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Gaza and more. She thinks of technology in relation to social change through her work with Arab Techies, of which she is a co-founder and her research affiliation to the Access to Knowledge for Development Centre at the American University in Cairo.
In the first article published, the editorial team of Mada Masr described the planning process for the launch: "We decided we want to publish in Arabic as well as English, that we want to see more data-based reports, more investigative journalism. We want to experiment with different ways of storytelling. And very importantly, develop a business model and deploy a visionary commercial team that helps make our work sustainable."
The article also described how the editorial team arrived at the name: "It needed a name. An Arabic name that was easy to say in English, but one that also reflected our practice of independent, progressive journalism. After a long process, we came to Mada. It is the Arabic word for range, scope or span, but it's also the spot where a stone is placed on a ring, a symbol of taking a position."
The article concluded with: "Today Mada Masr is born amid many challenges and uncertainties. But it's also born out of inevitability. It is the inevitability of rebuilding a home for our team and our practice, the inevitability of a different form of journalism, the inevitability of experimentation and adventure as the only gateway for our imagination to strive."