Monday, 8 December 2008

The abs and the abs not

Is the Dubai fitness market in good enough shape to support two niche mens magazines? ITP have launched Men's Fitness and Motivate will soon launch magazine juggernaut - or gay icon, depending on which side of the gym you stand - Men's Health. It's going to be Reebok's at dawn down Garhoud way.

Great post and great title courtesy of an anon - thanks.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Farewell to ITP arms

Seems the ever-revolving door at ITP Business is spinning even quicker with the rumour that Sean Cronin, editor-in-chief of Arabian Business, has stormed out - apparently because of internal censoring. Another recent escapee is David Westley, editorial director of Could they both be heading up the Sheikh Zayed Road to join Richard O'Sullivan in Abu Dhabi?

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Is the death knell sounding for City 7?

From a reader:

Rumours are flying that City 7 is about to go bust. Would anyone notice if it did?

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Would you pay $300 million for ITP?

From a commenter:

ITP is up forsale. $300m and its yours. Serafin is touting it about, but noone wants to touch an overstretched media house in an economic downturn with ads orders being cancelled faster than those being placed. Maybe launching a mag a week wasnt so smart after all, as for those commitments in India, tsk.

Sure as hell isn't on my Christmas list.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Mental blocking

Whoops. has finally been blocked by Etishite. After a quick bypass of the proxy, we can't see anything offensive, unless its the exclusive about Dubai Mall being delayed again. Apparently the site falls foul of the Prohibited Content Categories. Does anyone know who has had their feathers ruffled over the website's content? Or was a Motivate minion a bit bored, and contacted the TRA to get the site blocked?

Thursday, 23 October 2008

7 sent

From a commenter:

Can we get a thread going on City 7’s X factor-style hunt for a new women’s show presenter(s)? It’s proper car-crash TV, which is ironic as it’s hosted by Adam whassisname, the car safety expert. It’s required viewing if you can stand the sheer horror of watching a bunch of impressionable bints being patronized by a panel of cretins who all look like extras from a M&M’s advert. One life-affirming moment follows another as the bald guy and the two fat girls exercise their idiocy in a studio setting not too dissimilar to those that Al Qaeda use when they’re X-factoring their hostages heads off.

For sure. We didn't even realise City 7 still existed!

Impressionable bints being patronised by cretins? Sounds like a regular Tuesday night in Scarletts.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

On-Air Swear

Virgin DJ Revin John has been fired for reading an "offensive article" on air:

Mahmoud Al-Rasheed, general manager of Arab Radio Network, told Arabian Business in an emailed statement on Wednesday that the presenter had been asked to leave for “inappropriate on-air conduct”.

John, who is originally from South Africa, is believed to have read an interview on-air which was offensive for religious reasons.

The sacking follows an interview John gave with Dubai newspaper Gulf News in June, in which he said he had “studied the Middle Eastern market thoroughly” before his arrival.

And a DMO commenter already has more:

Virgin Morning show presenter Revin John has been released of his duties with immediate effect. This apperantly stems from him airing a pre-recorded "joke" in which he communicates to God, asking Him what was on his agenda. The deep voice over replied "world peace, Madonna and Britney." That's just part of the gag, but you get the gist of it. It appears Haks aren't the only ones here who can easily get the sack for their "public" mistakes, eh?

Just a thought

Has anyone at ITP proofread the programme for the Media & Marketing Show conference, which is hosted by ITP and Arabian Business? Would have been nice if they could spell Saatchi and Saatchi right, and I'm not sure Joseph Ghossoub would be particularly overjoyed to be plain ole Jo in the agenda. Delighted to see Martin Newland is giving a presentation on What it takes to survive in Middle East Journalism. But what I really want to know is: what the hell are Forenoon Sessions?

And before you start squealing about how we're always slagging ITP off, we're not. We try and post other topics, but you lot end up at the same conclusion anyway. But, to be honest, schoolboy errors like this one are just asking for mockery.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Campaign the Sequel

Hurray, Campaign's coming back at the end of the month! Will it have the same wit, bite and verve under new management at Motivate? Will it slag off its own advertisers? And, more importantly, will The Spin be back?

With the recent launch of Mediaweek by ENG, there's plenty of newsprint dedicated to marketing and advertising. Is the market big enough for these titles plus Communicate and Gulf Marketing Review?

Friday, 10 October 2008

Media vs Media

Poor old Gulf News is unhappy with the latest Fleet Street coverage of Dubai - article here:
Two articles published three days apart from each other in leading British newspapers lashed out at how expatriates live and work in the UAE. The list of criticism included: the state of thousands of labourers, the thriving business of prostitution, the status of the 'rich' and 'pampered' Emiratis who are the only group enjoying the oil wealth, 'racism' of all forms and shapes, lack of accountability and transparency, the demographic imbalance, and of course, the case of sex on the public beach.


Hence, when such articles of criticism appear, they come across as a reminiscent of an ignorant bygone colonial era. Unfortunately, and much so disappointedly, some seem to be still entrapped in the old mentality of discriminatory bias between East and West.

So know now that objecting to slavery, oppression, discrimination and racism makes you a ignorant biased Colonialist.

Monday, 6 October 2008

War resumes on the National front

Oh what a capital cock-up.

The National, owned and edited in Abu Dhabi, has had to print a retraction of a story that ran on the front page of its Business section, claiming that Dubai house prices fell 16 per cent. The story was particularly timely as it ran on the first day of Cityscape. Unfortunately, that meant it was particularly high profile coverage. Is that the smell of sweat and fear, and the sounds of clashing drums, cymbals and rolling heads, in The National's offices? Sources tell us that Dubai Inc has "gone mental" over the story, especially as it comes at a time where question marks have been placed over the city's ability to maintain its real estate market in light of the global economic crisis.

Here is the retraction:

In today’s edition, The National incorrectly cited a report by Colliers International as saying that Dubai house prices fell by 16 per cent in the second quarter. Colliers actually said the rate of growth in prices slowed to 16 per cent in the second quarter from 43 per cent in the previous quarter. The National also incorrectly quoted the regional director of Colliers International, Ian Albert, as saying that prices had fallen. He said that the rate of growth had slowed. The National regrets the errors.

Regrets the error? I'll bet it does. Expect to see a number of fawning "Dubai is good" stories over the next few weeks until the fuss dies down, and The National can return to its familiar Dubai-bashing ways.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Now that's what I call news, volume 1

When is a newspaper not a newspaper? When it's the Cityscape show daily. The event doesn't start until tomorrow (it runs until October 9th), yet each day's edition is already done and dusted. The cut and thrust of journalism at the "world's largest real estate event"...

Monday, 29 September 2008

New sheriff for 7Days?

From a reader:

Can DMO start a thread about what the arrival of Mark Rix from Associated as new CEO of 7 days means, especially for Steve Lee? The journalists were all laughing like drains when they were told.

Can Associated claw back anything after its purchase of a majority share in 7Days? Distribution and readership have fallen, and I would imagine ad sales have too.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Radio FM

A submission from british audio:

It's been a while since the state of radio in the UAE had a severe blogging - and so it is with regret that we have to announce the sad demise of decent radio in the region - after a long and painful illness.

Many questions spring to mind: why is the blogosphere devoid of commentaries regarding the future of ARN (what will they re-brand Virgin as now that the name is to disappear) ... and what has happened at Coast FM? Are ADMG/The National really going to launch two or three new stations (and if so, what formats/frequencies/etc.?) and why oh why do the powers that be at Gulf News Broadcasting (Radio 1 and 2) allow their presenters to be so bad at everything they do (with the possible exception of Fadi, but then again, only on occasions)?

I listen daily with interest to the most appalling murder of the English language (pronunciation, word/syllable stress, grammar etc.) from both announcers and supposedly highly paid voice-over specialists with my head in my hands and my hands hovering over the off-switch. You'd have thought that the Gulf NEWS would have a NEWS reader who could pronounce GULF ... instead of GOLF. Who approves the most mindlessly atrocious copy for commercials (which manage to be both patronising and irritating in equal measure - Marks and Spencer lingerie, anyone?) Or any ad. that tells you an offer is only good "'til stocks last" instead of 'while stocks last'?

I am in danger of exacerbating a heart condition every time I swith on - am I the only one, or is this just an anti ITP/Motivate site?

At least help me out and point me in the direction of some decent radio....

Friday, 19 September 2008

Pounds of flesh?

The rumour mill is buzzing that this comment on the esteemed publication popbitch refers to a Dubai/ex-Dubai hack. Certainly, there has been a marked increase in the number of UAE stories being leaked to the site in the last year...

Which newspaper hack is on sick leave thanks to management discovering that he has been fiddling expenses to up to half a million pounds over the last few years? He was so creative he set up friends and family members as fake contributors and paid them for imaginary stories.

The hack offered to pay back most of the cash if management didn't prosecute but is now threatening to spill the beans on all sorts of senior management fiddles if they go ahead.

It poses an interesting question as to the nature of expenses. Most hacks have done it at some time, even if it's claiming for a business lunch with a mate from PR... what policies exist for claiming back expenses in Dubai? Do companies reimburse expenses willingly?

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Truly inspirational

The latest heart-warming news to come out of ITP is the Inspire Awards - just 74 days away, according to the website.

Inspire Dubai is a celebration of our Emirate’s most amazing individuals – the unsung heroes and heroines who make Dubai what it is for the 1.5 million of us who call it home.

Hope there's a special category for the amazing individuals at ITP - the organisers - for managing not to gag as they wrote the copy. And another category to those ITPers who manage to go into work, time and again, with no praise and no thanks from their masters. DMO would love to sponsor that category....

And a special word goes out to the kind souls in Garhoud who are selflessly putting on this event. And selling sponsorship around it. Hope all the profits go to a charity other than the Directors' Bentley Fund.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Launch your missiles at the KT relaunch

By request, a Khaleej Times relaunch thread.

Your opinions on The Nation's Favourite No 1. Revamped Newspaper please.

PS: Anyone else still dearly miss the "dear readers" editorial letters by former KT Dear Leader Mohammed A.R. Galadari? You can still find them here - Comment Section - if you are feeling nostalgic.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Starting a magazine in Dubai

A question from curious george:

If someone wanted to start a mag in dxb how should they go about doing that and if ITPs practices are norm (lying, scamming, cheating, etc), could an honest mag ever have a chance?

Any advice/answers welcome.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Car crash reporting

For a moment, we thought the combination of the sweaty smoggy haze of Dubai and pre-vacation excitement had turned us soft and fluffy, when we let this piece in Gulf News slip through the cracks. Luckily, we woke up with hangovers today and wanted to vent.

Could we have reached new depths in the UAE with Gulf News' My car saved me from death? We would urge you to read it in its full glory. Stand-out quotes from the driver include:

"I felt safe and protected in my Volvo S80... During the accident I really praised myself for driving a Volvo."

Good job that the manufacturers were on hand to provide a quote as well:

"The testimony of Eric Brouwer demonstrates that the Volvo S80 has been developed to make it one of the safest cars in its class....[He} is a living proof that Volvo is committed to manufacture vehicles with high safety criteria."

Next week: a news story about how many hot women are attracted to a convertible. Brought to you by the makers of Porsche.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Vanity fare

It seems the UAE isn't the only country that loves its vanity publishing . Wonder if the Cook County magazine had better or worse spelling and grammar than we get here?

Monday, 28 July 2008

Hands on services

Cracking piece in the Kipp Report today, questioning whether Gulf News has been running ads for massage parlours with benefits. Interesting to see German girls are charged at a premium; they must have particularly good hands.

Has anyone else noticed adverts like this in UAE publications?

For what it's worth, I think the Kipp Report is pretty good.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Crunch Times for Khaleej?

According to The National, the Khaleej Times will be given a (long overdue) overhaul. The paper reports that Rahul Sharma, formerly the Delhi editor of Hindustan Times, has been appointed as editor, with Didier Brun, former senior vice president at the International Herald Tribune (IHT), as chief executive.

With excellent distribution already in place (something The National struggled with in Dubai in the early days), and Dubai heavyweight financial backing, this is an interesting move. But can the Khaleej Times possibly survive without its glorious comment pieces pieces by Mohammed Galadari, or investigative reporting?

How will the new improved Khaleej Times sit in the existing media landscape? And what next for the increasingly dreadful Business 24-7? How will Gulf News fare? And what's the future of 7Days? Post your comments in the normal place.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Living the teen dream

You can just hear the voiceover advert now, as the UAE gets its first teen magazine.

It's so dreamy - soon there will be a magazine for me and my friends! We'll get advice on boys, and kissing, and how to dress like Britney Spears or pose semi-naked like Hannah Montana without upsetting our daddy!

Or I'll learn that it's ok to be just like Lindsay Lohan and find love's young dream with another girl! And they'll answer my question of "how far is too far"!

I'll finally know what Jake Gyllenhaal's favourite colour is and the name of the Jonas Brothers' pets!

And just think of all that totally awesome but cheap fashion from Top Shop and Miss Selfridge, that'll make me look like a total Lolita but if I'm lucky, I'll be helping those poor Asian sweat shop kids* at the same time!

Sadly you won't learn anything that's going to actually help you in life: how to make vodka jelly and have a crafty fag without your parents knowing. And you're unlikely to get the answer to your real dilemma: will my parents give me a nose job for my sweet sixteenth if I ask them nicely enough?

Because this new magazine is being launched in Dubai, by ITP, who may well be trying to keep their noses clean. Expect to see pages of fluffy kittens and "how to complete your homework in time" features instead.

For anyone interested in editing this gem of a new title, especially if you have a passion for the female youth market (and don't happen to be a skeezy male journalist working within the hallowed Garhoud halls), then you can apply here):

* DMO is not condoning the use of sweat shops, nor implying that Top Shop and Miss Selfridge use them.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Open Skies: officially excess baggage

The Emirates in-flight magazine Open Skies has been considered surplus to requirements on the A380 super jumbo. Hope that means passengers will also be saved from the shocking luxury buying guide, where a couple of million Skywards miles and a couple of million dollars can buy you a jet-propelled personal rocket pack, or something equally useful.

Was this really an eco-friendly measure from Emirates (and - yikes - will they cut gold card baggage allowance on the A380 as well?) or was there another reason?

Note from editors: to make it clear, it's only the A380 route so far that will be without the Open Skies magazine (so no danger of us being deprived for many years to come). This isn't what we originally posted. That will teach us to cut & paste from someone else's article, which has since been amended. But at least we credited the article we ripped off, right?

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Radio rant

We could feel the bile dripping from this comment, which was sent to us this morning.

Just thought I'd slot this in while the rage is still incandescent. Nearly crashed my car today listening to Jess Swann and Akhtar Khan (he of the incredibly posh accent) on Dubai Eye talking about counterfeit goods in Dubai. It was possibly the most badly researched (and presented) bit of broadcasting I’ve ever heard in my life.

Their conclusion was - pirated goods meant that ‘luxury’ items (i.e anything from perfume to pashminas) are available to the poor therefore it was morally justifiable.

Piracy poses a massive threat to the global economy and is built on established criminal networks that finance human trafficking, narcotics, terrorism and scariest of all, the massive shift towards counterfeit pharmaceuticals.

Ironically, it is the economies and health of Third World countries that manufacture the illicit goods that are most at risk, which is probably why people don’t give a shit. There is not much of a line between buying illicit handbags in Karama and lethal medication for your kids. Somebody take these idiots off the air today.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Thank F**k It's Friday brunch

This is hot off the sleaze press from an anon commenter:

No names, no pack drill. A senior (female) salesperson from a certain large Dubai based English language publisher was arrested on the beach on Friday.

She'd been to two brunches, met a tourist, and headed to the beach with him. The first time the police found them in fragante delicto, they were kicked off the beach with a warning. When they went back, she mouthed off at them, apparently with a religious slur, which resulted in her being arrested.

The Arabic boss of her company had to cut short his holiday to get her out 36 hours later.

The trial (if it hasn't already happened) is imminent.

Anyone got any other (suitably anonymous) stories about media folk's brushes with the authorities?

Here at DMO, we remember hazy tales of a female journalist getting Blue with a boyband member, but it was never confirmed.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

A novel approach to Dubai

It warms the cockles of our DMO hearts when we can report on the success of a former Dubai journalist, especially when we're genuinely pleased. David Williams, who many of you will know as a freelance journo or as provider of media passes to the rugby or tennis, has had his first novel published.

Desert England is a thriller about football hooliganism, and is set in England and Dubai. While we're still waiting for our preview copies, we're told that some of the scenes in Dubai cut pretty close to the bone.

David is appearing on the book show on Dubai Eye on Saturday; a case of the poacher turned gamekeeper?

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

The Magnificence of Mr Mugabe

Superb thread submission:
Are ITP and AMG going for the World Dictatorship Tour 2008?

While you might think it was difficult to top the Arabian Business visit to China (one week after the brutal supression of dissent in Nepal) that resulted in some of the least critical commentary in media history, ITP has gone one better by sending Ahlan! to Zimbabwe in the same week it saw the collapse of a democratic election and - hey! - the brutal supression of dissent.

Best quotes? (From the Zimbabwe Chronicle):

"The journalists talked much about their expeditions in the county and one of the touring journalists, Kate Hazell of ITP, a media group with over 200 publications that covers most countries in the Middle East was overwhelmed by the tourism packages, which the country has on offer. "It’s not my first time in Zimbabwe, I was once here sometime back. I didn’t know one can afford to do hunting as well," said Hazell."

Full marks too to AMG's Adam Wilson, who's quoted as saying:

"I work for a publication that focuses mainly on business. Our readers are mainly top business executives and I hope that if I can write all what I have seen they will be interested in the opportunities that exist here both in terms of investment and leisure."
Next up: Grazia covers Pyongyang Fashion Week.

Friday, 27 June 2008


We have removed the Canvas post and won't be publishing any futher comments on that issue at the moment.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

The Aussie exodus

As more and more Dubai media people seem to be fleeing Down Under, we've actually had a request by a newly-Sydney-based PR type for prospective job candidates. You don't need to be Australian - their company has been recruiting from the UK.

So if you're fed up of sand and camels and ITP then drop us an email to the usual place (dubaimediablog gmail) and we can pass the details on. No word if the package includes a six cylinder kangaroo, but you never know.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

The Brotocols of the Elders of the National

Someone commented this on an earlier thread - here - and it seemed interesting enough for a new topic:

The National also has some kind of pro-Israel agenda. Anyone who has an eye for such editorial policies will notice it.

Starting with labeling "Jerusalem, Israel" on a map (which even Fox News wouldn't do) to calling the boundry between the Israeli occupied Golan and Syria proper the "Israeli-Syrian border".

Aside from that, referring to Jewish colonists in the Golan as "Jewish residents of the Golan" is a really good job at explaining the reality of the occupation to the reader.

The National's pro-Israel editorial policy is being watched closely. Not just by me and others but also by people high up in the government.

Nice to know that the government of Abu Dhabi has come out with an official paper that has Zionist leanings. That' what happens when you bring in an EIC (Newland) that is openly sympathetic to Israel. Read his op-ed in Canada's Macleans magazine. Looks like Abu Dhabi is a asleep.


Edit: A reader has added this comment, which is also worth discussing.

There seems to be a perception that The National is really hitting Dubai while giving Abu Dhabi more positive coverage. I work at the paper and I have been hearing this from journos and from business /government officials in Dubai. A few days ago I was politely told to piss off because of the paper's position on Dubai.

Other than the paper's obvious pro-Israel stance, is there also an anti-Dubai bias?

Thursday, 5 June 2008

New men's magazine

Our sources tell us that the first magazine from ENG Media will be a weekly men's magazine called QI and will be launched in about 2 weeks. Former Charged editor Alex Ritman will be heading it up. Regional men's magazine are of a notoriously low standard here (witness Arabian Man or Al Nisr's awful 4Men) so does this mag stand a chance? We are not too optimistic.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Moving in - and moving up?

Yup, because new premises are gonna fix the problem ... The UAE Journalists Association has got a new home.

This bit is genius:

He said the upcoming premises will be a top-notch centre, equipped with sophisticated tools. "The headquarters will be a meeting place amidst a social and professional environment. It will contain all the required facilities such as auditorium, library, computer centre, journalism training centre, sports and social facilities plus a cafeteria," he said.

By sophisticated tools, I was rather hoping the centre would be equipped with - oh I don't know - actual journalists? However, it's more likely to have bugged phones and blocked internet.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

TV ads

By request from an anon commenter:

TV advertising. first there was the Lacnor ad in which the young girl cuddles the juice carton like it was mammy and now there's one in which a mother struggling to comfort her baby finds the only way to do it is to put her KFC grease covered finger into the tot's mouth.

who approves this crap and is anyone else bothered by it?

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Turning the TV back on

We've been a bit overkill on the National, so back to TV. Scroll down this article: Bridging The Gulf.

The attempt to fuse Western talent and values with Arab control have not always been smooth in the media business. Al-Jazeera, the original beacon of a popular, autonomous media, owned by the Emir of Qatar, has faced serious challenges in the period since it launched its English-language rolling news channel. Its first year was dogged by clashes over terms and conditions. Jo Burgin, a former senior executive, is seeking £1 million in compensation, claiming that she was dismissed because she is a “white, Christian woman”.

Yesterday al-Jazeera English brought in Tony Burman as managing director, who had previously run CBC News in Canada, in an attempt to heal some of the rifts created under the previous regime. Nigel Parsons, the former managing director, was pushed upstairs to a role running “business acquisition and development”. For all the problems, al-Jazeera's output remains of high quality and there are no allegations of overt interference.

Nevertheless, with Gulf states pouring cash into media, outsiders believe that they have something to contribute. That thinking underlies the decision by the BBC World Service to launch an Arabic channel, because the BBC believes that it is able to offer an independent voice. But, whereas it might have had to battle before with censorship, now it has to battle with vibrant rivals for audience - a sign that a market for media is developing.

Have we got any Al Jazeerans reading who can give their perspective on the "rifts"? Enough ex-Dubai media are now working there. And anyone been hired from BBC Arabic? There used to be some ex-BBC Arabic staff working at MBC, are they planning to return?

Monday, 28 April 2008

International media up the pressure

One reader has asked us to open up the debate on the upcoming UAE versions of the Financial Times and International Herald Tribune. This follows on from the local edition of The Times.

How do you think these titles will fare? Will local papers like Gulf News and the newly-launched The National suffer? Or, will it just mean that existing FT and IHT buyers have easier access to their paper of choice, and there will be very little effect on the local market? And, will this further highlight the lack of available talent at the upper end of the local business media market (with newswires and publications already struggling to fill their vacancies)?

Monday, 21 April 2008

Return of the media mack daddy

Another Dubai media behemoth rises again .... Former ITP sales god Neil Petch is now managing director of ENG Media, formed by Emirates Neon. He has poached Graham Stacey from CPI (where he headed up OK Middle East), who is now group editor.

Details on what publications they plan to launch are sketchy at best, but our money is on a celeb gossip title at least. Our spies tell us that Stacey is on a serious recruitment drive.

Updated: thanks to the poster who submitted a first look at one of the ENG magazines, BHW.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

What's next for What's On?

Motivate is now officially on the market, as Obaid al Tayer apparently doesn't want to buy out Ian Fairservice.

Any ideas what will become of this bastion of Dubai publishing? And what will happen to Ian, the Godfather of Advertorial?

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

D Day for The National

Well chaps, this is the day when the face of journalism in the UAE changes forever ... or so they would have us believe. The National closes its first edition today and hits the streets tomorrow.

Seriously, we hope you prove us wrong and manage where all else have failed before: to launch a UAE paper with consistently high standards and sensible reporting that is neither sensationalist nor smarmy.

Good luck to all of you!

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Grand National?

From an anonymous commenter:

This month's issue of Commerce magazine [we couldn't find this online - do chuck us a link or scan if you have it] carries a five page interview with Martin Newland in which not only is this website namechecked, but he talks about censorship, Conrad Black, why he resigned at the Telegraph, and how he came to be in Abu Dhabi. He also talks in detail about his plans for the new paper. I think it is the first interview he has given since he's been here.

It also has an interview with the current Editor in Chief of Gulf News in which he talks about why he is not worried about the competition the new paper will present (he thinks all of the talent in Abu Dhabi will be gone in a year because they won't be able to deal with lack of free speech). He also talks about the other papers that have come and gone, and why the Gulf News will always succeed.

The new Abu Dhabi paper apparently changed its name from The Nation to The National because Gulf News ramped up its "The Nation" section in recent months.

NB: If you want to post your own stuff here which would be great, just drop us a line and we'll add you the team. dubaimediablog at gmail.

EDIT: the interview is available here.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

How not to recall a press release

Poor Dubaiworld Media/World-View Communications/World View (make your mind up?). It was bad enough that they sent out yet another dull press release this afternoon with the covering message:

Please find attached a Press Release titled “Russian delegation meets Dubai World officials, discusses scope of co-operation” for use in your esteemed publication.

They then sent out an email a few hours later with what we believe to be a recall message (just for reference, 7.30pm is a bit too late to start trying to withdraw stories, if they were going to be printed in the first place and even if my publication is an esteemed one).

The subject line read:

KILL KILL KILL !!! Russian delegation meets Dubai World officials, discusses scope of co-operation

On further reading, we realised they meant for the release to be withdrawn, not the delegation to be "taken care of" ...

The body of the email reiterated the point with : KILL KILL KIIL PLESAE kill this media release (their typos not ours).

Friday, 7 March 2008

Banned on the run

A recent comment on DMO asked: "I'm about to leave a Dubai publishing company and move to another. I am presuming my company won't want me to go to a competitor (ie rival publisher, the titles aren't in direct conflict), but I'm reassured that DMC don't uphold bans on journos. Anyone had problems making a move?"

Forget about press freedom - are hacks able to move between companies without incurring a work ban? Do publishing houses use nefarious means to spoil a former employee's move? And, do they pay up on gratuities or force you to pay back huge sums of "relocation" fees? In pre-Dubai Media City days, it used to be far better for a journo to get themselves sacked if it was after less than three years at the company than it was to resign, which meant their gratuity was reduced by two-thirds.

What are the implications for a hack wishing to leave their job if they realise they've made a terrible mistake/been lured to Dubai under false pretences/hate everyone they work with/get offered more money from The Nation*? (* delete as applicable)

Monday, 3 March 2008

Actual journalists need not apply

There is lame, and then there is Dubai media lame, and then there is the execrable bloody human excrement dregs of lame that appears to be Martin Newland's new newspaper The Nation, as well as his journalistic courage.

The Press Gazette's Axegrinder dug up these nasty little nuggets. You can read the full excerpts here and here, but here is our favourite little piece of turd-dom:
"I can tell you now that every application from a journalist wanting to come and work here who has included in his or her portfolio an "investigative" piece about labourers' living standards has gone straight in the bin. Not because the theme is unworthy – it is and we will do it – but because we are looking for other, more nuanced and mature avenues into the national story."
So essentially if you are a journalist with the least miniscule microbe of talent, experience, news sense and ethics, no need to bother applying to Newland's Abu Dhabi government PR rag. Not unless you first sit UAE Media Course 101: How to prostitute every last shred of your integrity for the sheikh's oily dollar.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Show me the money

What's the accepted average freelance rate per word in Dubai? How does it compare with overseas? Whether you're a legitimate freelancer, or doing some moonlighting, do you get paid the same rates? Do publishing houses like Motivate and ITP actually stick to a rate across the board? How many of you freelance for PR companies?

And, who are bad / late / no-payers? With great power etc: don't be a prat and start naming every company you don't like... we're looking for genuine warnings on companies that don't cough up. We'll give you a clue: they're normally government or quasi-government.

In the absence of proper unions, let's at least be open about the rates available, and make the tightwads pay up on time! We want to hear comments from editors about what they pay, and from freelancers about market rates and which companies are slow to cough up.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Come On Eileen

You're everyone's favourite and most respected PR exec in Dubai, so why are you lowering yourself to the Ahlan! Shit 100?

It's a shame betting's forbidden in Dubai, or we could run a book here on what spectacularly crap nonentities will slime themselves into the list this year (along with a few token charidee people to show us that being Shit! Hot! is not just about being driven around in Neil Petch's wankmobile).

On a more serious note, if you're bored of London then you're probably bored of Dubai. Because Dubai is just London (but crapper) and ten years too late. The rise and decline of London as a pan-Arab media hub is the most prophetic synopsis of Dubai's media scene ever penned [our bold]:

In its heyday, London was home to scores of Arabic publications of diverse provenance, function and quality: From lavishly-subsidised journals with pretensions to a worldwide readership, political publications of every persuasion and cheaply-printed dissident tracts, to glossy lifestyle magazines, sophisticated cultural titles and mischievous (or merely mercenary) gossip-purveyors.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Media ho's?

A colleague has passed on a fantastic e-mail promotion he received from Mediaquest, the parent company of Trends (formerly Arabies Trends). The email is promoting a "provocative symposium" for Gulf radio advertisers.

Provocative doesn't describe the half of it - the event is presented by Cummunicate magazine(sic). Just what kind of magazine-buying spree has Mediaquest been on? We know they've bought Gulf Marketing Review and the magazines from Gray Business Communications, but are they also branching out into the Debbie Does Dallas market?

(PS one of the symposium presenters is Dr Richard Gross. Dick anyone?)

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Radio gaga

We've not had much mention of Dubai's world leading radio sector recently, so here's a comment submitted by DMO reader:
Was it just me, or were the comments made by Steve Johnson on Radio 2 Breakfast Show at about 6.30 this morning (Feb 7) just a tad racist? In passing comment on the story that Posh'n'Becks may want to adopt an African orphan, he said that Becks was used to being followed around by a 'little black man' - just think of Sean Wright-Philips. I am at a loss to understand why on earth a so-called 'professional' radio presenter would put his job in such jeopardy!

It's also worth mentioning the often abysmal pronunciation that floats over the airwaves. The "Skilly" Isles, "Nor-witch", anyone heard any great examples recently?

Monday, 4 February 2008

Once bitten, but not twice shy?

It seems the prodigal sons and daughters are flocking back to ITP like lambs to the slaughter. (Forgive the mixed metaphor, but it's apt.)

First, news broke that Alicia Buller was returning to ITP as managing editor of Arabian Business, where she was formerly features ed. Now Sean (Puffy) Cronin - ex-Construction Week editor, then Bloomberg - is leaving the newswire behind to head back into the ITP fold as editor of Arabian Business.

Both will be working under Anil Bhoyrul.

UPDATE: Apparently Alicia's off to join the Abu Dhabi paper now. Did she get a chance to warm her seat at ITP before joining the exodus?

REUPDATE: Alicia starts at Arabian Business tomorrow (Sunday) and was never heading to the Abu Dhabi paper - we were wrong and our source has been severely chastised. (Our willingness to publish a retraction is a bit of an alien concept in Dubai!)

Thursday, 31 January 2008

And all that Jaz ........

A semi-government entity throws gajillions of dollars at creating a media empire that is intended to stand proud on the world stage amid lofty declarations of editorial independence and world-class journalism. Then reality (and censorship) sink in and the wheels fall off the apple cart. One by one, the start-up staff leave, to be replaced by either under-qualified locals, or inept expatriates.

Sound familiar? This particular storyline has been run countless times over the last decade. Al Jazeera English is the latest in a long line....

Can anything save the ailing channel?

Friday, 25 January 2008

The final countdown ...

So the new Abu Dhabi paper is set to launch in March: here's a little DMO call out for any moles in the capital - let us know what's cooking up there?

In staffing news, James Bennett, former Arabian Business helmer, is senior news editor at the new paper, while Alicia Buller (ex Gulf Marketing Review, then features editor at Arabian Business) is coming back from London to be managing editor for Arabian Business.

In fact while we're at it, anyone who'd like to be added to the roster of posters on DMO, just email dubaimediablog at gmail for an invite. And do it under an anonymous name - not from or - we don't need or want to know who you really are. We don't even know who we are.

Bush whack

You mean National Bush Day wasn't a genuine, real, we love America, public holiday? Apparently, size counts in Bush's case: the size of his helicopter, according to media in the free world .... Read more here.

Thanks Holy Moly!

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Swings and roundabouts for Time Out team

Thanks to anon for tipping us off that ITP is opening up in Mumbai.

It's not so long ago that Time Out Sydney was launched - the licence was won by Print and Digital Publishing, whose founder and joint CEO is Justin Etheridge, formerly publisher of Time Out Dubai and ITP stalwart (he previously headed up Charged and the sadly departed Photography Middle East). Our moles tell us ITP had been considering Time Out for the Sydney market for some time, but Etheridge's team - which includes another familiar name, Nik Howe - won the franchise.

Rather sweetly, Justin's former colleague Tim Burrowes (late of Campaign) writes in the Australian marketing & media magazine B&T:

You may notice the review of TimeOut Sydney and observe that one of the proprietors is Justin Etheridge. We’ve got previous.
Back in the day, I used to edit a marketing mag in Dubai. He ran TimeOut Dubai, which was in the same publishing stable. We used to snipe at each other in our diary columns. Until TimeOut won the day.
One day, with deadline approaching, we lost a picture of the restaurant we were reviewing. Our sub-editor resourcefully (and illegally) searched Google for a picture of sushi, and stole it.
He failed to wonder why it was called sushimouse.jpg. Or to notice that it did indeed contain a picture of a plate of sushi with a mouse on it.
Unfortunately, after we published it, Mr Etheridge’s team was more observant and naturally shared it with their readers. The subsequent phone call I had to make to the restaurant was one of the most surreal conversations I’ve ever had.
So if you spot any cock-ups in TimeOut Sydney, you know who to call.
I’ll be very grateful.

Nice to see the old banter's still there....

In the most interesting turnaround of all, it seems like the whole world will now be reporting to Marcus Webb, the most recent former editor of Time Out Dubai, who is uber-guru for quality control for Time Out London, and used to work for Justin while at ITP. Funny how life works out.