Tuesday, 26 June 2007

The latest copy rules at Emirates Today

From an anonymous submission:

Please avoid using sex and its related words like gay, homosexual, rape and prostitution in headlines.

Do not also use words like trafficking in headlines.

Avoid labourer in headline and body copy. Use words like workers or employees or staff.

Do not use pictures of construction workers.


Superb, challenging journalism indeed.

113 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh my God, Dubai has really become the land of 'Stepford' rules.

Can we stand this ignorance and refusal to accept real life any longer?

What next - ban words like 'bad', 'terror', 'poor', 'evil', .....

Anonymous said...

So, sex is banned at ET. No wonder everyone has jumped ship.

Sounds like the king has decreed that anything he believes remotely nasty, unsavoury or which reflects badly on Lah Lah Land will be swept under the carpet. Now that's what I call a newspaper.

Anonymous said...

What a disgrace - The best PR firm in the world could not sort out its reputation.
An absolute joke with clowns in charge - close it down and put everyone out of their misery like a sick puppy

Anonymous said...

The memo was sent by Eudore Chand - the man plucked from obscurity after being sacked by Gulf News for incompetence.
Sums him and then paper up - weak, pathetic, directionless, clueless and derisory.

Come back Neil Sawyer! said...

Anonymous above...

I recognise that writing style...!

Anonymous said...

Yet still we get people on here that maintain that ET is a more credible paper than 7days.

Sorry, that should read: 'we get ET employees on here that maintain that ET is a more credible paper than 7days'.

'Emirates Today' and 'journalism' are mutually exclusive terms. A joke of a newspaper that would last five issues if not kept afloat by adverts for Dubai Holding companies.

It's so bad it demeans journalists that don't even work there. These copy guidelines (which have been more or less unofficial for some time) just reinforce the contempt in what the 'paper' is held.

Anonymous said...

Funny -- I work at ET and haven't seen this memo in question.

ET go home said...

It's not been circulated to the staff that restock the handtowels in the bathrooms.

Anonymous said...

Labourer in gay sex attack on prostitute?

Anonymous said...

Tits

Anonymous said...

I think that is also one of the banned naughty words.

Anonymous said...

That should cost them another 200 readers a day - means about 500 pay for a paper out of more than four million people - brilliant
No gays, prostitutes or laboureres in safest city in the world - class

Mandrax said...

the labourers don't read anyway; the prostitutes don't exist; the gays are in jail.

that doesn't leave many readers now, does it?

Anonymous said...

It is an open secret AMG has spent a fortune bringing in consultants to relaunch Emirates Today. If they decide who their readership is and bring in staff who can actually produce a worthwhile read then all is not lost. Self censorshp combined with poor leadership has been their downfall but the title is not a dead duck yet.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to Planet Bahrain

Back in the day (oh alright, 1997), the Bahraini goverment banned all media from using the word 'island' to describe the 'state' of Bahrain. Essentialy a sandbank off the coast of Saudi, they thought the word island made them sound insignificant. Like Australia or the UK I guess.

Nowdays of course, it's a kingdom.

SSx

Anonymous said...

Sorry, meant to write government.

SSx

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 9.52 - how can you possibly claim that all Emirates Today needs is a lick of paint and all will be well? The self censorship comes from the very top and is not going to stop, regardless of who they employ. All ET's decent journalists left ages ago, and even if they did manage to hire some new ones, they wouldn't stay long either. Even the world's best redesign isn't going to change things. The layout's not bad as it is, but the rest of the paper is laughable. And that's not going to change.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it needs more than a lick of paint. A complete redesign, a shift in focus and a vast overhaul of staff are required. But your off the mark when you claim the censorship comes right from the top - it is people working on the paper who are the guilty parties. Fearing they will be exposed as bringing precisely nothing to the party they kill stories, mess with copy and alter headlines in a desperate attempt to justify their existence. Get rid of them and the whole place will change. Here's hoping because, try as it might, 7days does not have the resources to be anything more than a throwaway read.

Anonymous said...

7days does exactly what it is designed to do.

Unless the aim of ET is to lose huge amounts of money and make itself a laughing stock and an embarrassment, then ET does not do what it is designed to do...

Anonymous said...

Come on - the self censorship comes from the top. Anyone who says otherwise is deluded.

Anonymous said...

The editor in chief herself famously pulled a story because it "made Dubai look bad". If that doesn't count as being censorship from the top, I don't know what does.

not a nice name said...

another "extremely talented" journalist bites the dust: ET's witless fashion editor.
her qualification for this job? chav make-up artist.
qualification for her new incredibly tacky publishing job?
Why, Emirates Today. I see a pattern here somewhere.

Anonymous said...

I remember the good old days - when a taxi drivers' strike story was pulled "because it made Dubai look bad" - even though the day before we had run a story saying there was going to be a taxi drivers' strike. So no mention of it the day after everyone in Dubai knew there had been a strike because a) they couldn't get a cab. or b) they had read the day before in ET that the drivers were going on strike. Abdullatif please rearrange the words "foot" "the" "in" "yourself" and "shooting" into a sentence...

Anonymous said...

Isn't part of a fashion editor's job description to be witless? Especially out here. There aren't many mags that are setting new standards in intelligent fashion writing (which is possible when written by people who can actually, er, write. Marian Hume, for example. Shame she doesn't fit the image of what a fashion journo is meant to look like.).

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of hypocritical sad cunts. Someone told me about this blog and I thought maybe I'd find some opinionated but vaguely accurate comments on it. Unfortunately, yet again I'm disappointed.

Find me one 'journalist' in Dubai who when asked to do something they disagreed with said no and walked out. If you're going to claim to have principles, then live by them. If not, shut the fuck up.

There's no publication here, or anywhere else for that matter, that doesn't work under some form of editorial restriction. Anyone who says otherwise knows fuck all about publishing.

Of course the 'rules' here are draconian and ET is one of the most hypocritical offenders. And yes there are other places and publications which say more. But all I see here is pathetic abuse from a bunch of ignorant, bitter current/ex employees.

If you've already left, congratulations. Now - instead of pouring out your residual guilt at not having done it earlier - be happy that you finally found the balls to do what you thought was right and spare a thought for those that still haven't.

As for those who're still 'suffering', get over your victim complex and grow up you spineless fucks.

Anonymous said...

Eeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

Snigger.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 10.17

Such bitterness. If you don't want to be here, use the door.

Nob.

Uncle Sam said...

In answer to anon 10.17. I left: glad I did; glad I did it before I did something I regretted; but miss the great money.
Many of those still in Dubai have families and responsibilities; other don't see journalism as a calling - it's just a day job where you turn up and do what the boss tells you.
It's not the principled journalism we'd expect in the US and the rest of the west, but it's not exactly a crime either.
But if you're still there - see it for what it is - just a job, and get over the self loathing. Or get out.

Anonymous said...

great money? in dubai?
where? where? where?

Anonymous said...

anyone who says a fashion editor needs to be witless has no idea of fashion journalism or, apparently, luxury business journalism.

Anonymous said...

Condescending, hypocritical and delusional. The three keys to growing a newspaper's circulation.

Anonymous said...

I have been sporadically reading this blog since I was told it was apparently the last vanguard of propriety within the Dubai media industry.
Always amusing but increasingly belligerent.
If it's so bad in Dubai.If the media is such a joke, if Emirates Today is such a such a sad inditement on newspapers in Dubai,
then...why don't you just give up the leases on your Greens apartments and your share pads in Jumeriah and all just go back to your high paying jobs as investigative reporters and top flight writers for such illustrious publications as The Times, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair and The Guardian?
Oh wait...hang on...that's because most of those sitting back in their Media City or wherever offices sniping quite quite frankly wouldn't even get an interview for an office boy/girl at any of the above publications.
Face it...they came here because they were offered cash and opportunities beyond any they could have had at home in the UK or wherever.
So, again, if it's so bad here. If they/you can't handle the "censorship". If working for a publication that toes a certain line is so morally reprehensible to them/you (presumably you've/they've never worked for a Murdoch or other family own publication where edicts - political and otherwise - from on high are as common as a hooker at Cyclone), then go back!
I'm sure the Bellford Bugle needs someone to write their Dog of the Week column again.

voice of reason said...

annon @ 11.57 : you are spot on. Whatever hacks in Dubai like to think, there are only a few who have worked (with any success) on national papers. One paper owned by the Mirror Group still manages to be forced into self-censorship by the influence wielded by Dubai's ruling family.

But I don't agree that this means Dubai hacks can't complain - it's what media people do best! Ideally, everyone would stand by their morals and stop working for a publication / group they don't respect. But this isn't an ideal world, and many journalists in Dubai are still there because of the money and the lifestyle.

They wouldn't be the first people in the industry to sell out - but don't blame them for trying to speak out against poor standards, bad management and stifling censorship. It may be naive, but it is also worth having a go. And just occasionally, it works.

Anonymous said...

Right.
All this bitter, petty, race-motivated, personalised griping is for a cause.

Right.

And all the journalists doing it have done everything they can to make their workplaces better, happier multicultural places to work in. All the effort certainly shows in the quality of analysis that is on show here.

Please continue. Lets talk about the establishment again.

Anonymous said...

VOR - I agree, all journalists in Dubai have a right to complain. In fact, it's what journalists do well!

It's when the complaints stray into the personalised attacks as witnessed earlier in this thread and in other threads that the justifiable complaints become watered down and lost in the miasma of whingeing that I lose my sympathy.

The fact is, all western expat journalists working in Dubai have choices.

They can leave when they want. Having options means that they can put their principles in action and actually walk out or make a noise when they see a legitimate injustice or interference beyond what could usually be expected in this part of the world.

Also, as those expats working in other industries sometiems discover, taking the cash and the sunshine often means taking a risk. Sometimes this is losing your job in a restructure. For journalists it sometimes means swallowing something that tastes unpleasant or doesn't fit into our value structure.

The other offensive issue is the patronising tone this criticism of the "system" or the "censorship". As if the traditions and the beliefs of the Emiratis and others in this region just aren't worth the time of day because they don't adhere to our own strictures about what is apparently right, wrong or somewhere in between.

Anonymous said...

I think some of the anon ranters above seem to have somehow been misdirected onto here instead of their usual home, pompousboringoldfarts.com.

In the same way that you spout that old chestnut of "ship out or shut up", if you don't want to read insights into the Dubai media, how it operates and some of its "characters", then why not just close the door after you.

Perhaps if a certain newspaper hadn't proudly boasted of setting new standards in Middle East journalism and pushing back the boundaries, then it wouldn't be so wide open to criticism when details of its modus operandi are revealed on here.

Apologists like you would go a long way on the ET career ladder, of that I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

An archived poll from this blog.

"I would like DMO to be:
1. a serious forum for civilised and erudite discussion of the critical and weighty issues of media quality and freedom in Dubai and the wider region

2. a completely free for all gossip-bitch-slag-rumour-juice-fest where nothing is sacred and no one is safe, least of all Eudore Chand's moustache"

Result: 78 per cent chose the second option.

Need one say more?

Actually, yes.

When those indulging in this 'fest' start saying its all for a cause, and for greater good of Dubaikind, they need gentle proddings to look in the mirror, and not daily either.

Ah, the sacredness of your griping.

Anonymous said...

Well-paid journos in Dubai? Who? Where???

Anonymous said...

anon @ 20.41 - yes! it's the hypocrisy and the bloated statements of superiority that wound people up the first time!

Anonymous said...

I am so fucked off by the "if you don't like it leave" argument. Let's look at some facts: AMG brought over some extremely talented people (ex-national newspaper in UK - Mirror, People, News of the World , Independent, Independent on Sunday to name a few) and lured them here with false promises (no, actually downright lies) of working for a world-class media organisation, projected bonuses, rewards, great lifestyles and rapid promotions and pay rises to come. There was a staff meeting before ET launched where all the heads of department were confidently told that they would all be editing their own publications in six months time - there's one for the new Dubai Bullshit City. Most of those same talented people, after long consideration, took pay cuts from great jobs in the UK and took out loans here to set them and their families up because they believed what they had been sold. They now find themselves two years later, in debt up to their necks and therefore they CAN'T leave, not legally anyway.
One of those has had to split up his family and send his wife and young children back to the UK because he could not afford rent and school fees here. Is he bitter? You'd better fucking believe it. Just leave? yeah and have a criminal record for the rest of your life as your guarantee cheques bounce. Thanks AMG, what a caring company.

Anonymous said...

The "if you don't like it, leave" argument is mindless and sounds like it comes straight from the morons who fill the 7 Days forums. It isn't always that simple. I'm better paid than I was at home but it all goes in rent and the bureaucracy here is insane but the job I do is more enjoyable than my last one and doesn't really exist back home and I'm still enjoying Dubai for the most part - so it's all swings and roundabouts and nothing can be seen in black and white out here.

And, by the way, is it just me or is the "revamped" 7 Days site really crap?

Anonymous said...

1, If you leave and don't come back, then you are unlikely to have a criminal record.

2, Why did people take massive loans out to come here? I don't understand. One year's rent...then what else?

Anonymous said...

You're saying that a loan for one year's rent isn't massive??? A year's rent can be more than Dhs100,000 out here. If you think that's a small loan, you're living in some kind pf parallel universe. The fact that many of us have to take out loans at all to pay rent is fucking scandalous.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 16:12. Rent at least 100K-150K now if you have two kids or more; school fees for two kids 50,000-60,000. All has to paid up front because in this modern city you can't pay rent monthly like the rest of the civilised world, plus deposits, agents fees, cost of moving your stuff here (no relocation expenses, another surprise when most get here), buying or renting a car, or two if you have a wife and kids who actually want to go anywhere while you are working all the hours god sends, furnishing your house, DEWA deposit, ridiculous cost of TV and internet, mobile phone, health insurance for your family, etc etc etc. If you had that money to spare when you came here then good luck to you, but most don't hence anywhere between Dh100K-200K in debt just to set up. If the media companies want to improve and get the best talent then they should consider paying their expat employees rent and school fees, or at least a reasonable proportion of it, like most companies in other industries do.

Anonymous said...

Listen dumbass "if you leave and don't come back you are unlikely to have a criminal record" this is how it works. You do a runner, company notifies bank and immigration. Bank tries to cash your guarantee cheques which of course bounce. Bank files case with public prosectuion. You are prosecuted in absentia. You HAVE a criminal record. Period. If you come back you will be jailed until you can pay off your debt. That might be forever. They will attempt to track you down to wherever you are and you will live in fear of every knock on your door. Now take the "easy" way out.

Anonymous said...

If I'm back in a my small village in England having done a runner for 200k and I see a guy in a dishdash with sunglasses on in mid winter driving a blacked out 4x4 I'll know not to answer the door then - thanks for the advice

Anonymous said...

Poor babies. Thought you were coming here to make out like bandits and tell the locals how it's done. It's not hard to find out what rent costs before you leave, unless the dollar signs dinging in your eyes are blurring your vision. More to the point most seem to have missed the point that the media all over the world has shifted in a way that makes newspapers less about investigative journalism and more about a quick snapshot of events, entertainment etc. UK media types think they're all so hard core and want to think they're fighting against the tyranny of censorship but the main beef is they don't get paid enough for it.

Anonymous said...

You think you've got it tough? Imagine how your maid feels, looking after your kids and cleaning your 150K a year villa for whatever pittance you pay her.

Anonymous said...

Poor babies, my arse. Even if you do all your research before deciding to move here, there are always (usually expensive) surprises that bite you on the bum. Or you find that since arriving here thngs have gotten steadily more expensive. If journalists with research skills can still find nasty surprises when they move here, God knows how the poor labourers (sorry, employees...) must cope. When this place seems ridiculous, the best way to cope is to remember I'm lucky I don't live in a labour camp (sorry, staff accommodation...)

Anonymous said...

1, I know plenty of people who manage to get away with it. Doing a runner simply means you don't ever come back to Dubai. In fact, these people even manage to take a few hundred thou in loans with them. Let's face it, Dubai isn't going to be my number one choice for a holiday destination. So if I go, I'm gone for good. I'll just have to learn to cope with not coming back to Dubai.

2, Two years ago you didn't need to take out Dh200,000 loans. NOW yes, but the person was bitching about people being left high and dry 24 months ago (when I rented a three bed villa for less then 70k). ET also gave it's staff interest free rent loans for the first year.

Anonymous said...

Rent at least 100K-150K: NOW - but not two years ago. Halve that for then.

School fees for two kids 50,000-60,000. - can't comment, don't have kids

Deposits, agents fees: All of which you know about if you did your research. Deposits: DEWA - Dh2,000 max, Agents fees, Dh3,500 two years ago?? what else is there that is major?

Cost of moving your stuff here (no relocation expenses, another surprise when most get here): How can that be a surprise? Unless ET wrote it into a contract and then turned around and said no. At which point I would have turned around and went home.

Buying or renting a car, or two if you have a wife and kids who actually want to go anywhere while you are working all the hours god send: So that would be cheaper than back in the UK then, unless you of course bought a more expensive car than you had in the UK. And when you throw in fuel costs it would probably work out cheaper anyway. Not an upfront expense anyway unless you paid cash, and a saleable asset if you need to leave.

Furnishing your house: I thought people brought all their stuff over? Also saleable assets and cheap if you look around.

Ridiculous cost of TV and internet: It's expensive but its not an upfront cost and you can cancel it (for a fee)

Mobile phone: Cheaper calls than the UK but again not an upfront cost.

Health insurance for your family: Granted, that is expensive.

People who did their research kept their families at home while everything was set up. Two years ago, I set up a three bed villa and furnished it from scratch for around Dh80,000. I had no major capital. I used a rent loan from my company to pay the first rent cheques. Bought a cheap car until I had decided whether I was going to stay.

Anonymous said...

PS - I saw a reference to sex workers in today's ET.

Anonymous said...

A little maths/history lesson.
Fact one: ET did not offer a year's rent loan interest free. They offered to lend the cost of deposit, agent's fees and first rent cheque, which they wanted you to pay it back in three or six months, at least in my case, and then you're on your own.
Fact two - research: when ET offered me a job in March 2005 I did extensive reseaarch on affordability and the cost of living in Dubai. A three-bed villa in the Springs was 55-60K a year max. School fees were around 6,000-10,000 a year. Affordable I believed so I accepted the offer. On arrival in July rent was minimum 85-90K for the same houses and rising day by day. First year's rent increase took it to over 100K or roughly Dh8500 a month, despite the then ineffective rent cap. Everything, and I mean everything, had gone up in cost frighteningly in just three months. Doesn't leave much out of a salary of Dh16K/month to pay for school fees (which by the end of the first year had tripled to around Dh4000-Dh5000 a month for both kids) plus everything else.
The fact remains, most companies in other industries if relocating you to another country will cover the expenses associated with that. All media companies here do is offer you "interest-free loans" through gritted teeth and get you on the cheap by forcing you to pay all your own expenses. At least Gulf News gives all employees a substantial "Furnishing allowance" which is written off if you stay with the company long enough. AMG refused to lend me "interest free" the money to buy essentials such as a fridge, cooker and a bed because they said it cost too much. They could at least thank all of us for subsidising the growth of their shit media empire and CEO of the year's new Porsche Cayenne, but I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the maths/history lesson but you just sound so naive. Those old school expat packages went the way of the dodo when globalisation started to take root. You might have heard about it, it's been in all the papers.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anon at 12:30. All of my friends and acquaintances in the oil/engineering/construction or manufacturing industries get their rent and their school fees paid by their companies. They also get health insurance and annual flights home for their whole family. The cost of moving their household furniture and belongings here is also taken care of as the norm. If a company wants to recruit expertise from overseas then they should budget for and pay for the expenses involved in bringing that expertise here. why does the media industry here think it is different? They expect their employees to subsidise the company by paying for what are definitely business expenses. By the way I've heard that 7Days does not even give its staff health insurance.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 12:58. I can't see how anon at 12:30 is being naive. He did his research and, like most of the rest of us, was shocked when arriving to find everything's gone through the roof and his company couldn't care less once he was here. AMG lied to its recruits to get them here. That's not being naive, that's being conned.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps newspapers don't generate the same revenue here as oil, gas, construction and engineering so can't subsidise employee benefits to the same extent. It is a business after all, not just a noble quest to enlighten the masses.

Anonymous said...

It's practically standard practice for companies to lie to get staff over here, I certainly was. I triple checked the numbers they were throwing at me and questioned them repeatedly. The bullshit was practiced and convincing. You can live here on 16k but you'll not be a happy bunny, especially if you don't enjoy shared accommodation. Mincing machines like ITP, Motivate and AMG would be a lot better off if they were (at the very least) honest with their staff and offered realistic incentives and fair start-up packages. They spend a fortune recruiting and turning staff around, it's a real short-sighted and dim-witted approach to business. It's in the city's interest to have a solid and thriving media industry (newspapers and mags especially), there are good people working here and it would be nice to see them stay. Continuity is a good thing, on that note, what was this thread originally about..?

Anonymous said...

Population growth is outstripping infrastructure development, so there's a lag effect when it comes to housing and transport costs. At some point things will achieve a balance but it's impossible that infrastructure could keep pace with population, in case anyone wants to suggest they should build the roads and housing first. Problem is, if you have received a salary package that accounts for high rents and other costs now are you going to give it back when the pendulum swings back? Businesses can't sustain the packages you're claiming are your right. The result is that Dubai is not necessarily the place for families to relocate right now - you do need to share accommodation and suck up some hardship. Maybe in a few years it will settle down and be a good place to educate children and enjoy a nice lifestyle but at the moment you need to be here for some other reason than salary. The realities of the market place mean that no media company is going to burden itself with huge employee costs, they won't survive.

Anonymous said...

They survive at AMG without any paid for sales, advertising and readers by treating employees like shit. The basic premise retains the same: if you want to import expertise then be prepared to pay for it, and include it in our business model and budgets. Don't lie to employees to get them here then treat them like it's the employees' fault when they complain, become demoralised and quit.

Anonymous said...

"Newspaper owners treat journos like shit" shock horror.
Just wait until you get back to the UK and find some fresh-out-of-college internet geek doing your job.

Never mind he wouldn't know a story if it smacked him in the face, can't spell or construct a sentence. What he has got is a media degree from Hackney Technical College and he knows how to shove a video camera up his arse as he strides the streets and calls himself a multi-media operative.

Sans Serafin said...

ITP may be a mincing machine, and may churn through a lot of people but that doesn't mean their business model is wrong.
Sales people who hit their numbers, editorial staff who fill their pages, no matter how unreasonable the demands, progress fairly fast. Those who don't either quit or get fired.
It's brutal, but it works - for the company at least.

Anonymous said...

I arrived in June 2005 and it was Dh70k for a three bed end villa, and around 60k for a 2 bed. I even had my pick of the villas back then. The landlord paid for me have the lawn sowed and everything.

ET were offering interest free loans - the length of which may be in dispute - but they were. Perhaps it was down to individual negotiation?

If people need someone to explain why oil and construction bosses get big fat expat packages, and low to mid ranking journalists don't - then they are in the wrong profession.

If people were in management and only negotiated 16k a month, then either: they obviously weren't in management in the UK, were terrible at negotiations or were in management at some tinpot local paper.

The hard luck stories are real and I'm sure AMG lied to people, but putting the blame entirely on AMG seems a bit much. As was mentioned earlier - the sensible thing to do is to come out and try it for a few months without the family. Then bring them out when you were set up.

The number of people I know who'd never even been to Dubai before accepting a job, terms and arriving is staggering.

Anonymous said...

Opening up an atlas and learning where the UAE is located before coming here with grand ideas of journalism and editorial freedom sold to you by the bosses at AMG, could have been one way to avoid a lot of the bitterness over ET.

Working as a reporter in the Arabian Gulf/Middle East is a whole other ball game and anyone who doesn't figure this out is probably the same type of perpson who comes here with no interest in the culture or region they call home.

It seems AMG lured journalists over from the West by stroking their egos, when a simple history lesson could have given you a few indicators of the reality.

These guys owe you nothing. Your mother is probably older than this country and it can take as long as it wants to become the type of media it wants to be.

Besides, English language papers simply don't matter in the grand scheme of things. Arabic publications are the real indicator of how the media scene is progressing along and until there is a shift in that realm, the English media will continue to be a whorish extension of this giant PR machine.

As for the money issue, you can't blame any company for doing there job and getting the best deal they can on you. You're not entitled to more than you bargained for.

Anonymous said...

You are all talking shite. I came here with my eyes wide open, but I didn't expect to be lied to and conned by my company, and when they do, because there are no labour laws worth a rub and no trade union representation, there is nothing you can do except leave, so I did. ET would never have got off the ground without the expertise and sheer hard graft of myself and the other dedicated journalists there at the time. All we wanted was a fair reward for that. (Note the phrase at the time. We have all left.) But AMG doesn't give two fucks. It brought us over exploited us and cast us aside. We were expendable once they were up and running. Loyalty has to work both ways for a company to thrive. I hope they die.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 11:23 you are so qualified to comment aren't you? You can't even spell "their" correctly. You must be one of the new journalistic stars of AMG.

Anonymous said...

That's a good point 12:45.

Anonymous said...

Actually, English language newspapers (and to an extent, magazines) do matter. Who do you think this country is being built for? If the aim is to create a world-class tourist destination then it will need English language media. The Arabic press in the region is laughable, you need to go to London for quality Arabic journalism, it used to be Lebanon and Egypt but nowdays you’ll get a car bomb for breakfast if you speak your mind.

Anonymous said...

14:16,

I see your point and though Arabic media has a long way to go, it has an insight into the local culture and values that English media simply doesn't have (save for a few exceptions). If Emiratis are going to get into journalism in a serious way, it'll be in Arabic papers. When real criticism starts to be seen in the Arabic language, I think it'll mean the tides are shifting in terms of censorship.
As for English media, I'm convinced that's why we're here, an extension of the PR machine.

Anonymous said...

Emirates Today is nothing more than a PR newsletter for Dubai - nothing controversial, nothing that leaves the UAE in a bad light, no real news - jsut how wonderful the country is
absolute drivel.
Close it down

Anonymous said...

Good point Anon at 12.23, the term Little Englander seems to have been invented specifically for the editorial team during the first 18 months of ET's life.

Anon at 12.40. So AMG lied and you got out. No problems. At least you aren't complaining that you have been 'trapped' here for more than two years.

Anonymous said...

Out of interest.

Can anyone name me any names as to people from the ET launch team with significant national press experience in the UK? I'm genuinely interested.

Anonymous said...

Try these: Matt Slater (News of the World); Alice Haine (People); Primrose Skelton (News of the World); Danny Hicks (Independent, Independent on Sunday); Adam Jankiewicz (PA); Sara-Sherlock Thomas (Independent) and I'm sure there's others...

Anonymous said...

Cool - a vaguely constructive debate on DMO!!!

Not that I wish to doubt these people (because I am sure they are good in their own right) but how many of these people were in senior positions? Or long-term staffers? Or were they freelancers?

I genuinely don't know. I think its the constant inference that a host of 'top people from national papers' were lured here which raises so many eyebrows.

It would be interesting to see how many people with good experience in their home countries (from all papers) are here...

Anonymous said...

If any of them are any good then wild horses couldn't drag them to your grubby little, money grabbing emirate, where 'money, money, money' takes charge over every possible human right.

Anonymous said...

Other facts worth mentioning:
Of the six people who were named as having been brought out to Dubai to launch ET with Significant National Newspaper Experience, that's actually incorrect. All six have SNNE, but only five were brought out: one, Sara S, was recruited locally from ITP.
And, of those six, only three have actually left ET. The other three, all females, are still there. Why is that? Could it be that the females didn't - and still don't - feel lied to? Also is it fair to say that because 3 people with SNNE out of a total team of more than 60 have left AMG/ET, it's a hotbed of liars?
As our diligent researcher pointed out, before he came out, prices for villas were 'affordable'. Yet when he arrived several months later, the prices were much higher.
While I would agree that ET/AMG have many attributes, reading the future is most certainly not one of them. It would therefore seem unfair to tarnish them as liars as regards the rising cost of living in Dubai. Given that budgeting and planning for recruitment was probably carried out months before the interviews or the actual arrival of staff, it is probably even fair to say that the salaries offered were probably quite generous when the budgets were written.
Ineptitude and stupidity would therefore probably be fairer labels.
The issue of accommodation is also worth a note.
If a national newspaper from the UK came here and recruited people back to the UK, it's highly unlikely that those new staff would end up living in Knightsbridge, Chelsea and Mayfair.
The Springs, the Greens and Meadows are Dubai's equivalent of the top of the property market.
If someone rocks up in Dubai from the UK and expects to live in the very best accommodation in town, then perhaps they need to rethink their offer - self-reflection might reveal self-importance was a greater factor in their self-inflicted financial doom.
Finally, like everywhere else in the world, salaries vary from industry to industry. Construction and oil and gas are vital industries for Dubai and the UAE.
Creating brilliant newspapers that will at best be read by tens of thousands of people most certainly isn't.
Research, pragmatic realism and a healthy dose of humility from all concerned would probably go a long way to providing a fairer and more accurate spin on this tale.

Anonymous said...

It's a Dubai disease to overclaim what you were befotre. A two day downtable subbing shift on a national paper's web site becomes a staff job on the news desk.
It suits the hack because it makes them look good, and employers don't fuss about it too much because they want to be able to boast about the experience of the people they've just hired

Anonymous said...

Also - PA isn't a national newspaper.

It's a badly paid sweatshop which often ends up as a recruiting ground for national papers looking for a steady supply for casual shifters.

Good call on the humility thing. Brits come to Dubai and expect to be top of the pile. Speaking as a Brit, I find most British expats here to be vulgar, arrogant and spoiled.

Anonymous said...

What did these people actually do at these places, compared to their positions when they moved out here?

Matt Slater (News of the World); Alice Haine (People); Primrose Skelton (News of the World); Danny Hicks (Independent, Independent on Sunday); Adam Jankiewicz (PA); Sara-Sherlock Thomas (Independent)

Danny Hicks said...

I really didn't want to get involved in this blog because I think it has gone way over the top. People who post anonymously should not be naming others, in my opinion. But to clear up any confusion, since you everybody seems so keen to know, I was Assistant Sports Editor at the Independent on Sunday (ie No3 on the desk) for four years until 2002 when I took a senior position with Newsquest. I continued to freelance for the Sindy until I came to Dubai. In all I had worked in other capacities on the Indy's and Sindy's sports desk since 1993. Can we move on now please.

Anonymous said...

So the Springs is like Knightsbridge? I think the heat has got to a few people here.

Anonymous said...

I think the point being made was that the Springs is high end (being a villa it is in the more expensive end of the market)

People moving to London would not be expecting to live in top end accomodation.

But people coming to Dubai seem to think they have to...cloth, cut, accordingly...

dxb hack said...

Wow...this is all getting a bit personal. And no posts about moustaches?

Anonymous said...

The Springs is a suburban housing estate. Nothing more. Certainly not the top of the property market in Dubai. No one comes here expecting to live on the Palm, which IS the equivalent of Chelsea or Mayfair. But if you move here from a suburban house in a UK city of course you are going to want to live in similar conditions. And why shouldn't you. People come here because they are promised a better life, not a worse one. Perhaps media companies should put all their staff in labour camps instead. Would that make you happy?

Anonymous said...

They do, check out Al Mas Apartments in Bur Dubai.

I think it's fair to say not many of us came out here for the money (you're probably better off doing shifts in London), more for the experience of working abroad and all that entails – including wacky bosses, nutty labour laws, dangerous roads, sleazy nightclubs, extortionate rent and a robust work ethic that cheerfully cultivates red tape, self-censorship and backstabbing. If I knew what Club Med actually was, I’d say actually it’s not supposed to be Club Med.

This Saturday the rest of the planet will join hands to celebrate Live Earth, meanwhile we can celebrate living in a city that, in terms of environmental impact, is right up there with thermo nuclear war.

Anonymous said...

I can see the time is coming when we'll all have to publish our names and full CVs - including sexual preferences and inside leg measurement - on here just to keep the goss mongers happy.

mason levy said...

# news of the world.... a national newspaper? If that's what passes for quality experience across the pond, ET's well-rid of Matt Slater. At least Miss Skeltonne doesn't pretend to be something she isn't.
As for PA (i presume you mean the tinpot news agency), the less said about their quality, the better. interesting, though, that "Danny Hicks" should feel sports experience qualifies him to work on the general subs' desk.

# Quality qualifications all - like Ahlan qualified Leavy to launch a newspaper. What would he know, poor misguided soul, when he hired these witless wonders?

# Another point: june 2005, a 3-bed villa was a 70k? a row house possibly. or maybe a shanty in rashidiya. dubai's rents have gone through the roof, but nothing like this. get real, guys. The SNNE journalist haven't done their research.

# By the way, when ET launched, it was the highest paymaster in UAE journalism.

# Hard graft to launch ET? to print a front-page story that didn't say anything at all? did anyone in the paper ever both to read it then?

# ET has come a long way since the news of the world mob quit ( sorry PS). well, most, not all. we're waiting for a few more to go - free of the chav writers, maybe the paper will truly be able to fly.

# AMG's only problem is the one that's always afflicted regional decision-makers: it's the blind hiring the sighted.

Anonymous said...

70-75k was possible in June 2005. I have the rent contract to prove it.

I always heard stories about the 'British mafia' and ET...didn't know if it was true or just other nationalities griping.

Anonymous said...

Mason Leavy - your spelling is atrocious. I presume you work at ET. Cogratulations. It is a quality read. Out of interest, what is your CV like?

Anonymous said...

"ET has come a long way".

For an example of just how far, check out the Straight Talk column in Thursday's edition. It's one of the most embarrassing pieces I've ever seen in a newspaper anywhere.
And, by the way, whatever you think about it as a newspaper the News Of The World sells more than 3 million copies. Your paper sells how many?

mason levy said...

ref. 05 July, 2007 12:29,

spelling? you've got no sense of humour, lad.

ok, perhaps miss skelton(ne) is hitting bit below the belt.

happy?

btw, it's levy.

Anonymous said...

Who is it exactly defending Emirates Today????
Must be people working there who are bending over to be shunted and enjoying it as no one else will give them a job

Anonymous said...

Brian Ashby?

Anonymous said...

mason levy, let's hear your media experience, seeing as you seem so willing to slag off others. Are you really suggesting that working for the biggest selling newspaper in the UK (NoW) is not significant? And are if you suggesting that sports desks on quality national newspapers don't have their own subs desks or that sports copy in the Independent doesn't get subbed it just shows that you know zilch about newspapers or journalism? And do you actually read ET? You say it's improving. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

Emirates Today is obviously improving. Take today's page 4 lead headline. "My client is innocent, claims defence lawyer". Whatever next: "Policeman arrests supect", "Footballer kicks ball"...

Anonymous said...

Uncle Sam: "It's not the principled journalism we'd expect in the US and the rest of the west".

Hahahahahahahahha.

Ha.




Ha.

Fuckpuppet

Anonymous said...

..time this thread was closed perhaps...

Anonymous said...

HIGH RANKING DELEGATION ARRIVES TO INVESTIGATE ICEBERG PHENOMENON!

Has anyone seen this utterly perplexing half-page ad in Emirates Toady? It has been placed by the RTA but for the life of me I don't get it, am I missing something here?

Anonymous said...

Fuck knows - about as easy to work out as Salik

mason levy said...

tut tut, children. if you choose to believe NoW is significant, it is.

most people don't. including the readers, who buy it and read it for the rag it is. something ET says it doesn't want to be - and isn't, by dubai standards.
apples and oranges, luvvies, apples and oranges.

yes, the paper is improving. it doesn't seem to run any ghastly months-old front page stories about tattoos anymore.

the subbing question: ask a general news sub why a sports sub shouldn't sub general news.

Anonymous said...

This blog is so full of fools.

I bet you all work at tiny little mags that nobody reads..or are full of phony non celebs. When you are in newspapers - you cannot just say what you like. I worked at ET in a few departments and let me list a few facts. Sensible debate is not a strong point on this site I know. I no longer work at AMG - but had the most fantastic time there.

1) The Company AMG launched 2 papers. The latest research from IPSOS shows ET just behind GN for business decision makers (it kills KT & 7 Days) and the Arabic Tabloid runs par with Al Bayan a 27 yr old paper.

2) You cannot hope for any solid news from any English paper in this region (published here). It is not allowed. The Arabic paper is running story's the English will not every day. It is an Arabic country, end of. Some of the news selection has been v poor - but as a package for a 2 yr old paper, not bad, when you compare it to the mkt place.

Remember if you push hard, you go out of business, 7 days style. Have you noticed it is now published on rag paper out of a press from the 30's in Abu Dhabi. It was not in line with Dubai - so goodnight nurse. Is that good business?

3) The papers sell quite well. ET is doing more than a few thousand at retail - and demand from Airlines, hotels (mainly new ones) is strong. The Arabic tab again sells as many as Bayan. The person who said a few hundred is a bitter fool. As soon as they get their press up - they will sub's drive & the free copies will be gone is my guess.

4) The papers booked close to Dhs85 000 000 during 2006 - and this year will run at something like Dhs120 000 000 for 2007. Guys there is 1 Billion Dollars in the UAE per year. 60% is press. Work it out. The major volume is still KT & GN...however just count the ads. When the 2 leaders fill up - where fo you think the $$'s go to. For all you mag people - when you are daily it adds up quickly. Have you ever even picked up the Arabic Emirates Today?

4) The paper has has loads of issues - that is what new papers do - they find a level. That is made much harder here as the mkt is so tough to operate in as a English title...watch, wait and do not be so foolish about the mkt realities.

5) Yes a lot of staff turnover - but that happens. ITP have been here 20 odd yrs and staff walk out everyday.

6) The AMG group are driving the mkt at every level - MTV, Virgin Radio, Dubai Eye 103.8, Dubai 92, City 101.6, Mamma Mia, Chicago, a new printing press, a stand alone distribution company, a new online business that will kick a sector of the UAE mkt hard, an Outdoor group, Shoof TV etc etc They do not do it all right - but are pushing like hell. I know for a fact that their ad tgt this yr is 1 billion Dhs. Where was that money 2yrs ago? They are sucking it up, and will just keep doing it. No wonder they are not popular with some ot you.


Think a bit harder about the big picture guys. The UAE is not the UK press mkt - they do not want it to be so. So stop being so sad about stuff that is not allowed to be changed. ET has limitations in terms of news selection - however it makes a great deal of money for it's owner, it has helped a load of needy people out of hard luck situations, it reports on some of the unsung hero's in this Emirate, yes to much good news only...but that is the agenda folks. Let the sun shine.

Anonymous said...

unsung hero's
ad tgt this yr
is running story's
money for it's owner
the mkt place


Dear god - no wonder ET is in such a sorry state if it hires graduates from Greengrocer's' Txtspk Polytechnic.

Anonymous said...

I like the Unsung Heroes features in ET. Good stuff.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone actually read the IPSOS survey? I have. It's heavily weighted towards emirates other than Dubai, especially Abu Dhabi, where 7days has little or no circulation. It also covers alot of people who don't speak English. Emirates Today (certainly the Arabic version) does come out on top in that survey, but stick to English-speaking expats in Dubai, which is where a huge amount of the ad spend is targeted, and even KT wipes the floor with ET.

The figures given for AMG's turnover may well be accurate, but if anyone has the breakdown of how much is from ET, and how much from Emarat Al Youm, I'd love to know. I'm guessing ET accounts for maybe 10%, snd most of that from Dubai Holding companies who are told they have to advertise.

Anonymous said...

If Emirates Today is so popular, why do they still have to make up letters to fill about a third of a page?

Anonymous said...

I just picked up ET today. 16 ads in 48 pages (and that includes around 6 or 7 banner ads)

Tell me again it is making money?

The 'paid for sale' figures are not more than a few thousand. Or if they are, it isn't much more. Even Jason Leavy admitted it was hardly selling at all when he left. If it was selling well they would have ditched the free distribution ages ago. Why would you buy a paper you can pick up for free?

Airline and hotel demand is the same for all of the newspapers (actually, as someone who flies 4 times a month on Emirates, Qatar, Gulf Air and Virgin I've never seen ET)

I agree that Emarat Al Youm is a good paper and going from strength to strength, but ET is not.

PS - Maths isn't my strong point but by your own figures it would seem you are admitting that ET and EAY book 4% of the available press market between them.

Did you read the survey commissioned by GN which placed ET in a distant fourth place last year? Funny how surveys can be used to find anything they want.

Anonymous said...

On another note, how the f*** is the half page piece on the RTA's bizarre iceberg ads a 'hotline story'? Do they think that by sticking that logo on there people won't realise it's a blatant puff piece for the government? ET is genuinely offensive to anybody with half a brain cell. They genuinely appear to believe that people will believe this bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks that Emirates Today is making a huge profit/cleaning up on ads in Dubai/selling really well (and growing)/contains quality journalism and is a "fantastic" place to work is either on hard drugs or has their head stuck in a bloody great big sand dune or both.

Anonymous said...

Oh honey, say all you want. Frown, fret, fuss. AMG and ET are here to stay.

Anonymous said...

Why is XPRESS not on your poll?

Dubai Property said...

More Good News
The sweaty citizens of Dubai (completely inaccurate - the runny residents would be more like it) are soon to enjoy the benefits of air-conditioned bus shelters. An advertising company - of course, what other organisation could do such a thing - has been given a 10-year Build/Operate/Transfer contract to provide this facility (Emirates Today). They will initially be managing 500 out of Dubai's 1,500 bus stops. Locations are not yet decided, but if it's advertising-driven you can bet that Sonapur / Al Quoz / Al Ghusais won't be on the list.
It's all very fine, very high-tech. But I was thinking a while ago, when this concept was first mooted. Air-conditioning only really works in closed environments. The flimsy, uninsulated glass and metal structures that we use for bus shelters now (and that the new operators are proposing) are not really suitable - the energy cost will be very high.
So why not have a look at the traditional architecture of the region. Wind towers should work superbly well. You need some solid mass in the structure (absorbs the coolness of the night and slowly radiates it during the day, thereby offsetting the solar heat gain), but the wind towers deflect any breeze downwards and get the air moving. Operational energy cost: nil.
Or have a look at other alternative cooling methods (evaporative cooling is an excellent one). Combine that with solar power and you might be able to provide cool bus stops that do not require the construction of a new power station (exaggeration!). Operational energy costs: a fraction of air-conditioning.
Either way, it troubles me that the ad company are saying they'll have stuff like recycling bins at these shelters, implying that they have some interest in the environment, when their actual solution is such a serious energy guzzler - and it's actually completely the wrong solution.

Anonymous said...

Word is that the simmering racism at the one and only Emirates Today has exploded out into the open.

Copy Chief Colin Simpson – he of the drink-induced tremors in his hands – attacked the “bloody Indian subs” who changed the placement of a comma in copy he had edited.

This outburst apparently took place at an editorial meeting where several senior Indian section editors were present. Some bit of uproar later, sources say, Simpson's comment was dismissed as the ranting of an alcohol-addled mind.

This is the same Simpson who, for no apparent reason, turned 14 billion dollars into 14 billion dirhams in a front-page copy. When confronted, his response was: “I'm sorry.” The poor Indian who wrote the story was left facing the justified wrath of none other than the Executive Office, which thought the had got it wrong.
This is the same Simpson who thought “on bad taste” is the preferred usage to “in bad taste”, again in front-page copy.

Way to go, Colin! That's tellin' 'em brown monkeys where they get off!

Anonymous said...

What is Colin Simpson's editorial back ground? And where is he now?