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					A study in how an old issue received new treatment in a
                         variety of new media platforms.

                                 By Dilshad D. Ali. U.S.
                                  WISE 2009, 07/17/09
Background: The Hijab Story
   What are the stories/issues about Muslims
    that persistently receive media attention?

     Is Islam a religion that promotes violence?
     Do women have a subservient role in the faith?
     What does the faith teach about tolerance
      towards non-Muslims?
     What’s the deal with how Muslim women dress?

      ○ All issues we’ve addressed at Beliefnet

      ○ Challenge: Is it enough?
Background: The Hijab Story
   What are the new media platforms
    Beliefnet can offer?

     Story pages (for articles, interviews, essays)
     Gallery pages (for slideshows)
     Blog posts
     Social Networking
     Videos
Background: The Hijab Story
   Choosing a topic that would lend itself to
    content across all media platforms

     The Hijab issue lent itself well to this. Why?

      ○ Many facets to this story
      ○ Many sub-issues
      ○ Hijab story is “evergreen”
      ○ Hijab story reaches across countries
Background: The Hijab Story
   How to address this topic – audience

     Do you create content for a Muslim or non-
     Muslim audience?

     Should it be explanatory, or should it go in
     depth by further exploration of various
     questions about the hijab?
Background: About Beliefnet
   About Beliefnet

    Site’s mission is to help people like you find, and
    walk, a spiritual path that will bring comfort, hope,
    clarity, strength, and happiness.

   What is Beliefnet’s audience?
     68% female, 32% male
     5.8 million unique monthly visitors across site and
      newsletters*
     9 million name e-mail list
     Mainly Christian readership, mid-age range
Approach: The Hijab Story
 Create a (slideshow) the hijab
 Publish hijab essays
 Create a hijab FAQ
 Foster hijab-oriented discussions on our
  social networking section
 Blog about the hijab
 Produce hijab video
Approach: Creating the Hijab
Gallery (Published in 07/2008)
                                Different types
                                   of Muslim
                                     dress



          Quick
       Explanations
        (the more
                                                            “What is it?”
       succinct, the
        more well-
           read)




                                                   How, Why,
                     Any
                                                  and When is t
                 Controversy?
                                                     Worn?
Approach: Types of dress and issues
addressed in Beliefnet’s Hijab Gallery
   Hijab
   The Shayla, Al-Amira, and Khimer
   Abaya and Jilbab
   The Chador
   Niqab (Face Veil)
   Burqa (or Burka)
   Burkini
   Hijab and Fashion
   Hijab and Sports
   Islam, Men, and Modest Dress
Approach: Sample page from Beliefnet’s Hijab Gallery




     The Hijab (Headscarf)
  
     What is it?
      In Arabic, hijab means "barrier" or "cover." For non-Muslims, it's synonymous with the
      headscarf, but it can be used to describe total modesty. Those who cover up do so
      because of passages in the Qur'an and other Muslim scripture. A woman doesn't have
      to cover up in front of her husband, father, son, or other relatives she cannot marry.
      How, why, and where it's worn.
      The hijab (as a headscarf) is any piece of cloth pinned around the head so as to cover
      the hair, ears, neck and (usually) bosom. Women the world over don the hijab on top of
      their other clothing, which extends to their hands and feet.
      Any controversy?
      The purpose of modest Muslim dress is just that--to be modest. In the strictest
      definition, this means loose clothing that hides the shape of one's body. Some argue
      that just wearing a headscarf with tight-fitting outfits is not modest.

     Continued on Slide 3: The Shayla, Al-Amira, and Khimer »
Approach: Sample Page from Beliefnet’s Hijab Gallery




    Hijab and Fashion

    What is it?
     Some women seek to combine wearing the hijab or other types of Muslim dress with
     stylish clothing and makeup.
     How, why, and where is it worn?
     Many Muslim fashion designers and women seek to implement the fashion of a country
     within the parameters of modest dressing. In the West this may mean layering a long-
     sleeved shirt inside a t-shirt or wearing a dress over pants. Attractive scarves are
     important. Others cleverly wear their hijab to let their earrings peek out or wear
     makeup.
     Any controversy?
     In the Muslim world, the battle of hijab vs. fashion is fierce. Critics argue that the point
     of modest dressing is not to draw attraction to one's physical self, which is negated by
     pretty headscarves, full coverage but stylish clothing, and makeup. Others say women
     can dress modestly and fashionably without overtly displaying their physical attributes.
Approach: Essays
   Beliefnet also published traditional forms
    of media – essays and articles:
     “Taking Off My Hijab” by Andrea Useem
     (published in 08/08)




     “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Asma Gull
     Hasan (published in 2005)
Approach: Blog Posts
 “Freedom of Religion Includes Wearing
 Burqas” from Windows and Doors

 “At the Beijing Olympics, the Hijab
 Emerges” from Idol Chatter

 “The Burqa and the Bikini” from City of
 Brass
Approach: Social Networking
Approach: Hijab Video
   Developed script for a “How a Muslim
    woman may wear the hijab” video

   Preliminary shooting in 2007

   Video project still on hold
Challenges and Successes
   Promotion of Content

     Throughout the site, on Islam Channel Page

     Links pushed in the blogs

     Tagging of content for search engines

     In Beliefnet newsletters

     Sent out by PR firm to other media outlets

     Promotion on other social networking sites
      (Facebook)
Challenges and Successes: SEO
   Key component to hijab content
    promotion is good SEO practices

     Use of keywords

     Google Analytics

     Study Omniture SiteCatalyst trend reports

     Proper tagging of content
Challenges and Successes:
Traffic Numbers (since Oct. 08)
   Gallery: “What is the Hijab and Muslim Dress All
    About?” – 42,235 PVs (3993 generated through our
    newsletter

   Essay: “Taking Off My Hijab” – 5,060 PVs

   Hijab FAQ: 10,564 PVs (771 generate through our
    newsletter)

   Blog Posts – Low PageViews

   Soc. Net. Banning the Burqa: Is Sarkozy Going too
    Far? 2742 PVs since June (success!)
Challenges: Anecdotal Information
   How successful is Beliefnet at dispelling
    misconceptions about the Hijab?

     Many positive anecdotes
     Many positive reader comments on site
     Many personal compliments
     But NO good data-taking on this
     Competing against a vast network of
     unedited info on the Internet
Harnessing Power of New Media
   Full-body approach to the coverage of a topic is best

   Internal linking and cross-linking of content

   Becoming fluent in SEO practices

   Play around with Google Analytics BEFORE publishing your work

   Track your traffic, and get trend reports if possible

   As always, good writing, great graphics, seamless editing

   Create a buzz about your work. How?

   KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!
THANK YOU!

				
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