Saturday, 25 August 2007

For all the jaded journos

Due to popular demand, here's a thread on the new Abu Dhabi newspaper:

Newland seeks 'jaded' journos for Arab paper launch

24 August 2007
By Patrick Smith

Former Daily Telegraph editor Martin Newland is set to launch a new national newspaper in the United Arab Emirates, creating jobs for 200 journalists from around the world.

"This area is absolutely exploding with potential – in many ways running too fast with infrastructure having to catch up. The paper is aimed at anyone at the high end, so you're looking at broadsheet quality, people earning over £100,000 who speak English. In this place, that's the Indian middle classes, the Anglosphere ex-pats and Emiratis, who speak it fluently."

The paper currently has no title or a launch date more concrete than "months, not years away", but Newland stressed its future is "assured" by significant investment from the investment wing of the Abu Dhabi government.

So what's the reckoning? A proper paper or an "Abu Dhabi Today" government promotional rag? And is Newland coming over all guns blazing a la Frank Kane or does he have some clue that this is a region where a newspaper nearly gets shut down because it takes a story from AFP rather than WAM or reprints a relatively innocuous article from the Telegraph?

74 comments:

Anonymous said...

History repeats itself. Let's see if ITP can mess up the launch of a daily paper three times running...

UAE hack said...

Sooner or later, one of these will work.
The money's there. What you need is an Emirati whos smart enough to realise that the ego boost of having your paper write what they tell you is nothing compared to having a title that's actually good. Maybe this will be it...

Anonymous said...

Nope. Not yet.
Newland will arrive - he'll believe the promises of independence, while the big cheque (100,000 dirhams a month souns about right?) will ease any worries. There'll be lots of expectation, particularly as the A Team (well, hacks who once did a couple of freelance shifts at a well known paper in the UK) arrives.
Then it'll launch and go downhill fast.
Exit Newland wioth a big stash of money. Followed by a merger with Emirates Toady.
You heard it here first...

Anonymous said...

There's a curious line at the end of the full version of that story which is vague about ITP's involvement. Anyone got the gossip on whether this is their thing?
If they are, I find it amazing - they're becoming a charity for past-their-prime british journos. A

Bright side said...

hey - how about a bit of positivity for once? This could be great for local journalism.
If the money's good (and i hear it is) I for one will be applying. Mind you, I hear the hacks are going to be under pressure to live in Abu Dhabi. Not sure I fancy that...

Anonymous said...

Fuck that. I'd rather work for Abdulatif than live in Abu Scabby.

Anonymous said...

That says more about you than it does about Abu Dhabi.

So you'd rather work for a PR propaganda rag, just so you can go to the Double decker every night, ratehr than workign for a proper newspaper.

You're probably not the sort of journalist they'd want anyway.

Big Bad Bob said...

Newspapers that are owned by governments never work.
Even when the proprietor means well, they can't resist interfering when the pressure is on.
I bet they've given Martin Newland a lot of promises of independence - and I bet they even meant them as they made them. But when the crunch happens, the stories will get pulled.
And then the launch team will gradually get disillusioned and leave, to be replaced by cheaper, more pliable journos who don't make such a fuss. That will make it even easier to dictate content, and the paper will go into a downward spiral, just as Emirates Toady did after its promising start.
It's going to be the same thing all over again.
And that's if it even gets to launch, and remember that ITP's Arabian Business didn't even get that far.
The only way a paper can succeed is to let an independent publisher launch one - and the governemnt is afraid to give a licence in case it lets the genie out of the bottle.
I'm sorry to sound so negative and I'd love to be proved wrong. But I don't think I will be.

Anonymous said...

Emirates Today's launch team had some of the bright sparks that spew hatred on this blog.
Inefficiency, lack of direction and know-it-alls problems the paper faced.
It is silly to go on pandering to the illusion that the launch editor and his team left because of some high standards of journalism! Many of them were part of the problem, rather than the solution.

Anonymous said...

Fact 1. This is nothing to do with shite-TP ( the fools there give everything a handle so its time they had one)Bobby socks and his singing bunch of fools will never run a daily newspaper.
Fact 2. Newland does not leave Canada for dhs100k a month, try doubling it.
Fact 3. Mubadala who are behind ADMC and the new newspaper make "the holding" look like the incompetants who launch something like the toady. Mubadala will already have had the conversation with Newland which based on his arrival means he has come on his terms.
Fact 4. i'm going out tonight so need to get on...bye.

Anonymous said...

its easy to blame "interference" for the problems at ET. But the facts speak for themselves - everyone hired to work there was a nobody. A few of them are still in Dubai, writing about traffic jams and hair products. In other words, a bunch of losers.
This paper will succeed if it doesn't do what ET did and hire the worst group of nobodies in the history of journalism.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1706: the story on the other thread quotes ITP as backing this paper...

Anonymous said...

History may be repeating itself indeed, but not in the way you think. A few years ago, Abu Dhabi had its own English language daily, The Emirates News. It was a bit of an official mouthpiece for the government, but it was professionally edited and did have a great deal more credibility than some others I could mention... but then one Friday night, at midnight, we received a memo: tomorrow is the last day of publication. Result? A shed-load of unemployed journos and a gaping hole in the Abu Dhabi media (shortly followed by the death of Capital Radio). I sincerely hope that ITP are not involved, and that Martin can make a go of it ... but I have my doubts. ere we go again...

Anonymous said...

"Newland seeks 'jaded' journos for Arab paper launch"


And I hear one or from ET already have their foot in the door ready to help speed this new venture into a brave new world of journalism.

Anonymous said...

did someone read vigyan aryaa's article in toady about dating? TIPS ON A DATE FROM HIM???? and he ended by a piece of advice to the girls...to shut their mouths and not talk too much on dates. does he know or remember at least that he is writing for a white-lady's paper and not some indian femina!!

Anonymous said...

I wasn't here but I have to say that ET is pretty poor from what I've seen (everything to all, nothing to anybody etc). But I hear it was even worse at launch...edited by and staffed by weak editorial 'names' on big money. Is that correct?
A good daily would be great over here, and a licence to print money. I'd be surprised if that licence was evrr given to ITP though, seeing as those giving out the licences are pretty much their competitors (isn't the Motivate chap on the gov't board?)

Anonymous said...

ET was average at launch but to claim it is in better shape now is laughable. Have you read the paper recently? Basically, it went up and down for the first year and is now at an all-time low

ITP-er said...

I work at ITP. Nobody here knows anything about this. If it's happening, it's either the world's best kept secret or it's not us.

Anonymous said...

It's happening alright. They're paying top dollar for the best (so most of you losers need not apply) and it's nothing to do with ITP.

Anonymous said...

anon @ 18.09.
The thread makes reference to middle east business standard that frank kane and shite-TP were trying to launch. kane has since jumped ship and gone to amg and shite-TP are not part of the ADMC backed paper.
Surely to God those fools in garhoud wouldnt contemplate pouring even more money away by trying to be involved in a daily newspaper? Answers on a postcard to robert.serafin@itp.com

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11.28: don't be so pompous. There are many excellent journalists who just don't get given the chance to shine. Avoiding false modesty, I include myself in that.
All I need is somebody to recognise my talents.

Anonymous said...

i was the anon at 02.41...my point (i guess) was more that it was apparently launched by a bunch of relatively overpaid amateurs, and ergo started off on a bad foot. perhaps if they had launched with talented editors, rather than 'names' they would have been in a better position now. from what i hear, the launchers 'failed' and then jumped ship..only to be replaced by people with a bad name (nee template) to build upon. maybe it was the hirers who screwed up...and today's paper is the legacy.

Anonymous said...

It's a fair point that the launch team weren't superstars. But they were solid, and had some good people.
The problems of censorship leading to rubbish would ahve occurred regardless.

LizzieD said...

I'm sorry, but I cannot get past the 100,000 dhs a month.....Are you serious?? $27,000 a MONTH? Over $300,000 a year to run some crap newspaper in Abu Dhabi? Please God someone tell me that's not possible.

Anonymous said...

Liz,
You've made a fundamental mistake, by putting your name to your posting.
The purpose of this blog is for bitter losers to drip anonymous bile. If you start making sensible points AND put your name to them, then where's that going to leave everyone else?

Anonymous said...

what names or talents did ET have at launch? alice heinz? jason levy? brian ashby? matt arab-baiter? names? google them and see what you get. reports on designer pooches? and a resume boasting of the media craptory?
how does the editor of a gossip magazine, sorry series of gossip magazines qualify to run a newspaper?
amazing what passes for talent in the uk.

mason levy said...

how many of you 7 Days lovers have any idea why 6 days has now become 5 days? it has not published on friday for several weeks now.

or are you all too busy down by the beach ogling the abayas?

Anonymous said...

Why all the bitterness from current ET staff? Will Jason Leavy be editing the AD newspaper? No. Is that a good thing? Yes. Will the launch team be good? Yes. Will it be a success? Only time will tell.

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Anonymous said...

Liz,
Do the Math...Newland would have been on 200k sterling as editor on the Telegraph no question( and worth every penny). If he moved here just on the same amount which is unlikely that is dhs 1.46M per year or dhs 121k pcm.

Anonymous said...

Yeah - and Newland got fired from the Telegraph, so it's not like he's still earning that.

Anonymous said...

anon @ 13.34
You're talking out of your arse...Black brought him in,Barclays boys took over and stayed another 18 months before leaving to Canada....

Anonymous said...

Haha. Levy must have seen his gossip mag go from the most profitable in Dubai, to the least profitable, in record time. Isn't it true he at one point had a team of 14 editorial staff on the one weekly title - more than Hello, OK, Society and What's On put together! Once he left, ITP bosses practically halved the team overnight, revamped the content - and improved the magazine to boot. Similar story at ET, where the paper has actually improved (slightly) under new editoriship. Don't even know the guy, but his name in synonymous with 'jammy bastard'.

Oh, and does anyone actually know what Brian Ashby does/did on the paper. I remember his legendary 'I'm leaving the paper, but in such good shape. No really...' column.

Anonymous said...

how, exactly, has ET improved, even slightly, since leavy left?

Anonymous said...

Not sure when the guy left, but over the last 12 months I would say ET is more consistantin terms of content/layout, has better writers/column, less grammatical errors, less design errors and is undoutedly more profitable. Of course, can't attribute all of these to any one person.

Anonymous said...

I'm still finding it astounding that Newland, a guy with a solid
background of real journalism in the real world, would come here for any money.

I feel so sad that he does not understand the lies he has been told; he imagines a land of milk and honey and true journalism, not the censorship he's going to have to put up with. Especially in Abu Dhabi!

Martin Newland said...

Hi everyone,
Thanks for your good wishes and advice concerning censorship issues.
I'm confident that we can apply Western standards and improve the quality of the Middle East media - goodness knows it needs it! I'm certainly looking forward to giving it a go.
Pip! Pip!

Anonymous said...

Martin Newland, no offence mate, but just take your dirhams 100,000 or dirhams 200,000 salary and do not pretend or try to sound as if you are coming here to bring media freedom.
We all know we only come here when we are not able to get even a sub's job in our country or to earn quick money before retirement, so just admit that and please do not sound as if you are some agent of change.
come to think of it, what do you expect from your newpaper when you have hired Mike Jebbry of Toady!!!!

Anonymous said...

So who would peeps hire from Dubai's past or present meeja crew? Like Fantasy Football this...you have an editorial budget of Dhs100,000/month and need a team of, say, eight (from editor to editorial assistant).
Could be a good topic...?

Anonymous said...

"I'm confident that we can apply Western standards and improve the quality of the Middle East media"

Yeah right and a newspaper with "significant investment from the investment wing of the Abu Dhabi government" will no doubt be completely committed to a free press and a determination that the warts and all stories will be revealed to the public.

Because we all know that the people with power and influence in the UAE want a newspaper that will dig out the real stories, investigate with vigour and present the truth to the public in a critical way. Cat in hell's chance, quite honestly.

Anonymous said...

Newland is recruiting far and wide, particularly from his old National Post associates (Canada).

Have stories of some of them, over-excited about tax-free status of salaries in A-D, already putting homes up for sale.

Are they ever in for a rude awakening!

Anonymous said...

God, the bitterness is overwhelming. Do you really think everyone in media here is incompetent? Overstretched and overworked, for sure. Underpaid, probably. But there are some good people out here. Certainly no worse than some of the dross I worked with on nationals in the UK (By the way, try living in London, with 2 kids, on a sub-editor's wage. Even from a respected national. Not easy. Never been too keen on the East End). Also, here we have a media industry in many ways on the up ... look at advertising in the Gulf News. In the UK, the whole newspaper scene has been in decline for a couple of decades, with redundancies, huge cost cuts, increased hours, measly pay rises and increasingly incompetent junior staff taking postions of alleged responsibility being the order of the day.
As for free speech or censorship ... try working on the Daily Mail (the only exception to the declining standards and pay rule above) to see the kind of spin you have to put on things, and the kind of stories they ignore. It's not so different; with the exception being you're putting a deeply negative spin on things, rather than a positive.

It's quite apparent that the majority of embittered arseholes here have never set foot in Wapping or Canary Wharf, and have some belief that everything's so much better in the UK. As for teh personal attacks on senior journos here, try working for a Paul Dacre, Martin Clark, Rebbekah Wade or, God forbid (and thank Him that he's gone) Dominic Lawson. You wouldn't know what hit you (in some cases , literally).

As for criticizing Newland? Ha! With a CV like that, you can be assured he knows what he's doing, and doesn't need your cod concern. He isn't an Andrew Neil style cowboy (who was an excellent editor, by the way, but Godawful publisher). And if he's just here for the money, fine. Aren't we all? And at least he's being paid properly.

Anonymous said...

To anon @ 9:23 September 3 - well said.

We're not all fuck-ups out here. Yes, there are some crappy places to work, and the standard of a lot of the journalism here is appalling, but this attitude that if you live in Dubai you must have failed completely back home is ridiculous. My career's going very nicely, thank you, and when I finally shake the sand off my shoes I'll be in a position to work at any paper in any country that I choose.
So quit wasting your time, folks (and I know who a lot of you are). Do your couple of years, LEARN ARABIC, do some diving, travel the Gulf and learn a little about the most important region in world politics for the next fifty years. You don't like working at ITP or the Toady? Me neither. SO LEAVE. If you've lived here any length of time you can pick up freelance work for any of the UK or US nationals, or if you want a full time job, try Reuters, CNN, Al Jazeera, Bloomberg or any of the big name agencies here. Fuck it, go in to PR if you're really desperate. But do SOMETHING, or else work till the lease on your flat expires and try again someplace else.

Anonymous said...

so no takers for my fantasy editor then?
lol

Anonymous said...

What you do get in the UK - the market I know - is a degree of consistent quality that is missing in the newspapers here - largely because syndicated or wire stories sit next to locally produced copy which can be excellent, but also very poor.

Moreover, a successful newspaper here will be one where wire-type news is a qualifier to success - not a key to it. To be good any new newspaper needs to move beyond the news to do two things - 1. provide good, critical insightful regional comment - preferably with personality; 2. provide Good regional analysis.

This is the material that is lacking from regional newspapers, but provided so well by Boris Jonson et al in the UK. It is by far the hardest trick to pull of - especially on a daily.

Can it be provided here - of course it can. There is a line, but a good and mature writer would be able to negotiate it. Will it be provided? Over to you Mr Newland.

Anonymous said...

It is said ITP's Matt Slater is off to Abu Dhabi as national editor. So, Mr Slater, perhaps you would like to share your first impressions, or indeed any details. How many people you hiring etc...

Anonymous said...

To 04 September, 2007 09:35

You've neatly defined the problem -- and correctly highlighted the need for good, crisp, informed commentary that's locally generated.

Do you simply import these commentators from outside? (which might be Newland's strategy, given the wide net he has cast)

Or is there a reservoir of articulate UAE Nationals/other local residents who can produce interesting commentary (or at least decent commentary that can be subbed into shape)?

I think this is the biggest challenge facing Newland et alia.

If there are good local voices, where are they lurking?? Where would you find them? How would you keep them?

Anonymous said...

Can anyone share more about whatever happened to The Emirates News? (previous English language paper in A-D that, ah, ceased production...)

Anonymous said...

So I hear one of Time Out's finest is off to the Dhabi daily? I wonder who that could be?

Anonymous said...

To Anon Sept 5th

The UAE's first ever English Language daily - The Emirates News, was published from the early 70's under the authority of the Ministry of Information and Culture. After its demise in 2000, many of the staff found work with other publications, many had to go home... I only worked there for a short while, so I can't tell you much, but there others here (probably on this board) who can.....
It is some people's opinion that it was actually rather good!

Anonymous said...

anon @ 1818 - my fantasy editor? ooooo i have to say, i have a certain guilty pleasure over piers morgan...

are any dubai editors floating your boat ?

Anonymous said...

How will the business community in Abu Dhabi react to this new paper?

Will they buy lots of ads?

Will they feel obliged to support it as the "hometown" voice?

Anonymous said...

Re: Sept. 5 on Abu Dhabi adverts --

From an old Gulf Business article on the closing of Emirates News
--

There is also the very real question of advertising. "The basic weakness is that the Abu Dhabi advertising market is small," says another newspaper source. "The companies are rich, but they do not need to advertise to consumers. They are banks, oil companies, big time construction - that is why the newspaper market in Dubai is stronger.

"Business in Abu Dhabi is done behind closed doors, it is less consumer focused, and there is a major challenge there. The only commercial logic is that with Abu Dhabi Government support, the big companies chose to advertise in order to support a paper."

Lord Bigglesworth the Second said...

So do you honestly think that earlier posting was really Martin Newland.
"Pip, pip". What do you think he is? An 18th Century dandy? Twats.

chris said...

Re Anon Sept. 5

"The basic weakness is that the Abu Dhabi advertising market is small,"

Yes, but that was six or seven years ago before the advent of all the outdoor media exposure. The main point is that the agencies that ignore Abu Dhabi's potential for the near future do so at the risk of losing a hell of a lot of business...

Anonymous said...

Linking ITP with this project is an absolute joke. The Abu Dhabi government turns to ITP for what? Political influence, journalistic ability, previous success in launching newspapers...? I don't think so.

It might have something to do with ITP's previous involvement with EMI, which I gather will be involved in the publication of this new rag.

Good luck to Newland: even if this newspaper does not succeed, then it will raise the stakes so that, one day, a decent paper might.

Observer said...

If the journos have a strong nose for what's truly local, there's no reason why the new Abu Dhabi paper should not be a winner. There is no point in thinking global. What is important is to grab local attention. That is why you find so many Indian journos at Gulf News and Khaleej Times. In fact, there was a time, at the heat of competition, when both papers had Indian chiefs. The new paper has a veteran at the helm. He would surely be having a local strategy though he must be speaking of selling all over the world. He should try to be pan-Gulf rather than global.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear Lizzied. Revealed as a can't stay away hack! How long you been gone now? Thought you'd be over us all by now.

Anonymous said...

Fantasy Newspaper Crew

Up Front
TM (ex-7Days)
DM (Reuters)

Wings
IG (Gulf News)
RD (FT)

Central Mid
SC (Reuters AUH)
HH (Khaleej Times AUH)

Centre Backs
GW (ITP)
MS (ITP)

Wing Backs
AM (Express)
A Al B (Emirates Today)

Goalkeeper
AB (ITP)

Sub-lements
PS (Emirates Today)
AYK (Canvas)
BS (Dubai Eye)
ID (AIWA)
MN (Property Weekly)
GH (7Days)

Anonymous said...

Seen this? It's from Gorkana in the UK:

A startup English-language newspaper based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates is looking for multimedia journalists and moderators for its New Media Team to write, edit and update online articles, moderate and manage online communities, and publish content on a wide variety of new media platforms.

Led by Martin Newland, former editor of London's The Daily Telegraph, the-soon-to-be-named newspaper includes staff from some of the most prominent news organizations in North America and Europe, including the New York Times, the National Post of Canada and the Daily Telegraph.

Applicants must have several years of experience working on the web, be able to work across text, audio and video formats and have a strong grasp of journalistic style. Knowledge of the Middle East, and foreign languages are a plus. Applicants must be willing to relocate in the UAE.

Please email your CV and a cover letter to abudhabipaper@yahoo.com, under the subject heading: New Media.

Anonymous said...

To: Chris

Yes, but that was six or seven years ago before the advent of all the outdoor media exposure.
06 September, 2007 09:19

Problem isn't lack of budget, but lack of English-reading people. No readership = no advertising...

Anonymous said...

Who are these people listed above?

Anonymous said...

ET is filled with bunch of idiots sitting in the high positions who were once fired for their unprofessionalism from their jobs..be it agencies or be it any newspaper..and the management pays high salaries to these section heads, who hire their own people who either don't know anything and are complete jerks..ET will close down very soon..i bet...

Anonymous said...

I am surprised no picked Bikram Vohra as their choice for fantasy editor. He's the only man with the experience of launching and successfully running newspapers in the region despite most of them having incompetent management/owners. He started Gulf News and laid it foundation over 7 years, revamped Khaleej Times' fortunes after that, returned to stop its decline by launching City Times (remember the broadsheet version), started Evening Post and is now turning around the fortunes of the once dead in the dumps, Bahrain Tribune. Try someone like him if Martin fails.

Anonymous said...

I've applied for a job at the new paper. I have a funny feeling I'll never hear back... Guess I'll just have to wait and see if anything comes of it.

Anonymous said...

fantasy editor? instead of fantasy newspaper? well that's a far more entertaining use of brain cells. i'm in pr though so I really only know the groundcrew and i like to go for the diamonds in the rough - if ya get my meaning. i'd say maybe emily ash-something, emanuel l and zareena looked like fun.

Anonymous said...

According to inside source, the abudhabipaper is not keen in hiring asian's,...ONLY CANADIAN'S are prefered....so i have a chance...cheers to CANADA.....

Anonymous said...

It is Martin Newland here (really)

I just wanted to make it clear that the earlier post claiming to come from me was not from me.

I do not believe it is our job to "apply western standards" to journalism here. This would be arrogant and misguided. The market over here for newspapers is a lot healthier than the one I have left behind.

I would say though that newspaper launches and the competition they bring tend to be good for journalists, in terms of remuneration and in terms of career prospects. So be happy everyone. This is good news, surely!

Anonymous said...

Michael Jabri-Pickett -- what's his background?

Anonymous said...

It will simply succeed
However
UAE is not that primitive country with no freedom of expression and the government has studies the new journal's proposal very well and liked ties with experts, Martin Newland is aware and conscious about the challenges.

Anonymous said...

Michael Jabri Prickett is a loser. He thinks he is an Arab because he is married to someone from th Al Jabri family from Syria. The very fact that he is using his wife's family name as part of his surname shows how foxy he is. He wants to fool the people here that he is half-Arab and thereby get a job. He failed in Gulf News miserably - he didn't knew what he was doing - and was kicked out from the Toady. Imagine the type of people he will recruit, given his split personality.

Anonymous said...

Hey there's a rumour that the red headed Irish dude from Dubai is going to Abu Dhabi. Is it true?

Anonymous said...

Only if there's better tail to chase out there. Otherwise he's got a good deal and is unlikely to match it elsewhere..

Anonymous said...

There are some really nasty people here. I would like to know more about this newspaper but between the character assassination and constant arrogance I feel I would be better off just reading something else.

It's really easy to leave anonymous slanderous comments around. Try making a good point based on evidence rather than gossip and you'll find most people will respect that more. Much of this nonsense is not even worth repeating.

I've spoken with a number of people joining the paper and found them very professional and far above most of the ridiculous comments here. I want to see what the paper can do and hope it will succeed because if it does it would be good for all of us.