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.