Sunday, 31 October 2010

Call for contributors

We're still alive, just. However several members of the team are no longer around, and sadly this place is sinking into a mire of inactivity.

So we'd love some new contributors. Just send an email - from an anonymous account - no need for your real name - to

Saturday, 21 August 2010

The spies within?

Intriguing email from a reader:
Anything to report on the rumoured full-time Emirati censor who's joined/will join the National staff?

We've heard nothing, have any of you?

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Twitted off

The National reporter David Cosh is a bit pissed off with Arabian Business, according to his Twitter feed:
Kinda furious that Arabian Business lifted my blog post on RIM's entire statement without any attribution.

Here's David's post at The National

Here's Arabian Business's article on the same.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

New daily sports paper for UAE

Thanks to a commenter for the tip-off:
UAE-based publishing firm is to launch an English language sports newspaper later this year, it was reported on Sunday.

Sport 360 will be based in Abu Dhabi, will be published seven days a week, will have a minimum of 40 pages and will be in a format slightly bigger than a tabloid, according to a report in the Gulf Times daily newspaper.

"Market research showed that there is a huge gap in the market in the region for the sports enthusiast. People are looking to read about sports that the daily newspapers here do not cover well in terms of quantity and quality," Michael Chalhoub, chief executive of Gulf Sports Media, the newspaper's parent company, said in the report.

Full article here

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Rock the Casbah

From a commenter:
Rolling Stone Middle East being launched before the end of the year. Ex-ENG staff on board apparently. Publisher is the same as FYI - poor man's What's On. Will such a cult mag work out here?

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Layoffs at Gulf News?

Several commenters have mentioned possible layoffs at Gulf News.

If anyone has heard anything, feel free to discuss.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Forbes: the return

So Forbes Middle East is to launch according to this story on Zawya. But whatever happened to Forbes Arabia?

Monday, 19 July 2010

WTF Publishing LLC

Thread request:
Can anyone tell me how these magazine survive as they don't appear to have any advertising to speak of... and they can't all be Lebanese vanity projects can they?

Desert Fish
IN Magazine
Men's Style
Fur & Feathers

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Emirates Business 24/7

Apparently not looking so healthy according to several commenters:
The big bosses are now debating as to how put it down 'peacefully' without attracting much negative coverage. Last I heard was it might be given a final lease of life as an online-only website with a trimmed down staff. Most senior editors are still in dark about the future. A final solution is still being debated... But people have been sacked quietly in twos and threes. Pagination has been cut back to 40 pages from 48.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Mass staff cuts at TMF

Rumours have been swirling and here's some corroboration:
As a former staff member, I can confirm that around 16 staff from TMF have been laid off in a mass staff cut at the company.

Citing the loss of the Thai airways inflight magazine Sawasdee, low ad revenues across the company and generally poor business results, the unfortunate decision has been made by TMF management.

The company is still a going concern, and will continue through this tough period.

Even as a staff member affected by the cuts, I can confirm that these events have taken place, believe this, not any erroneous reports printed elsewhere online.

We are all disappointed, but understand the business reasoning behind the decision, though all regret the sudden nature of the news.

Our sympathies to the staff that have been laid off, and we hope you find new positions soon. Anyone who's hiring, or knows any companies that are, feel free to post about it in comments.

EDIT: I just want to clarify that we're approving all the comments we can, but unless sources are provided, we can't publish some of the allegations that have been made regarding the management of TMF. Likewise allegations about their personal lives. If you can stand them up, then feel free to post with sources or email us. Comments that we consider fair opinion or "fair comment" are however going up.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Nice win for 7Days

It's won two separate libel cases - link here:
In the first, Vincent Antia sought to claim dhs1 million over articles he alleged featured both true and fabricated information about his family.

The articles reported how his wife, Sally Antia, had been arrested for having an affair with a male friend. She was later sentenced to one month in prison.

Antia’s claim was dismissed by the courts, which said: "the press has a vital and effective role in directing society and thus it should have sufficient freedom of expression and should consider the public right to information".

In the second case, Ehab Ibrahim Mohamed Al Labban had claimed for dhs5 million for similar reasons. His wife, Marnie Pearce, was sentenced to six months in prison followed by deportation for having an affair, which she denied.

7DAYS published articles on the case.

Al Labban claimed the articles were defamatory, but the court dismissed the claim.

Anyone got any more juice on this?

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

"The future of media"

Just for a change, here's a plug for an event (we are not associated, contact Polaris for more info):
Digital Journalism: The future of media
Expert Panel Discussion

Date: Monday, 24th May 2010
Time: 7pm for 7.30pm start
Venue: Shelter, Warehouse 209, 318 Road, Al Quoz Industrial 4

The expert panel will include respected industry figures such as:

Mark Briggs--Visiting from the USA, Briggs is a blogger, journalist and authority on the media revolution. He is also the author of Journalism 2.0: How to survive and thrive in the digital age, and CEO of Serra Media.

Pia Heikkila--A freelance digital journalist at the forefront of the media revolution, and co-creator of the new SAE Institute Digital Journalism Course.

Nabila Usman--writer and journalist, business development executive at, an online portal that provides edgy, bold & quirky news from the region.

Khaled Khalifa - Head of Office, United Nations - Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) Middle East and Asia Bureau.

The discussion will be moderated by Reg Athwal, Co-Founder and Chairman of online television platform

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

“Wow! How did I reach that circulation?”

An impressive performance, if the Grand National's claims can be believed:
Two years after its launch, Newland has stepped aside to become editorial director and Fattah has become its editor. The paper's sales have doubled year-on-year with 20,000 paid subscriptions. Another 20,000 issues are distributed for free of charge - to encourage further subscription - while a further 20,000 are sold in retail outlets across the country. It has also proved to be popular amongst the local Emirati community as well as with expatriates.

Click here for a three page article on all the paper's many glories

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Shock horror sensation: yes, it's a new thread at last

Unfortunately despite several very interesting suggestions we really cannot do posts on unsubstantiated and potentially defamatory rumours and allegations of corruption and sexual indiscretions among UAE media people, much as we might love to.

So while we await an exciting yet safe suggestion, how about your opinions on this thought-provoking anonymous reader comment:
We all know that all of you westerners working in the media in the UAE are good for nothing and will do anything just to suck the money out of any company you work for. I just hope one day the media industry will wake up and kick you all out back to where you belong.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Big shake up at The National

Sorry for the delay with getting a post up on this. Lots of people leaving, we're told at least fifteen staff have been fired or resigned over the past month:
This is the best way I could think of to inform you all at once that I have handed in my notice and will be leaving The National to launch a media relations consultancy in Abu Dhabi.
My resignation is lodged and my last day of employment is to be March 31.
I'm really excited about my next move and will fill you all in on the details over the coming few weeks. It will come as no surprise to many of you that my partner in the business is my colleague Matt Slater, who will leave the company on the same day.
I just wanted to say thanks to everyone I have worked with over the past two and a half years as we launched and developed The National.
I will remain in my role until March 31 and Hassan and Laura will be announcing the next National Editor before then.
Thanks again for all your work,
Gregg Fray
National Editor
The National

UPDATE from a commenter below:
3 people were laid off a few weeks ago: two online editors and one woman who did some kind of unspecified work on multimedia. There was no notice and they were marched up to the human resources office and told to pack up and leave on the spot.

In addition to Matt Slater and Gregg Fray, another dozen people at least have left. We can count.

Deputy news editor Roland Hughes, arts reporter Jessica Hume, national reporters Rasha Elass, Jen Gerson and Tim Brooks, photographers Ryan Carter and Phil Cheung, Saturday foreign editor Cassie Biggs, deputy chief sub Bob Garton, copy editor Nick Stout and subeditor Luke Kummer. That makes 11 plus Slater and Fray and there are probably others.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

The "emiratisation" of media

So much is absolutely fucking tragic about this article and in this article that I can't even be bothered to pick anything out to comment on. Read it and weep.

UAE editors back emiratisation of media
Dubai: The editors-in-chief of local newspapers endorsed a memorandum on emiratisation of the media sector in the UAE during their periodic meeting held at the Gulf News headquarters on Wednesday.
The memorandum, submitted to Saqr Gobash Saeed Gobash, Minister of Labour, Chairman of the National Media Council (NMC), for further perusal of the Cabinet, highlighted the real partnership and exemplary communication between the concerned public and private media establishments on one side and the government, represented by the (NMC), on the other.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Arab Media Group chief resigns

One of the shining stars of Dubai's media industry falls from the firmament:
Abullatif Al Sayegh on Sunday confirmed he had stepped down as CEO of the Arab Media Group (AMG) after nine years with the company.

“I am gone. This was on my own terms, with everyone’s approval, with everyone being happy. This is a company that I will be grateful to for the rest of my life. What an amazing opportunity I had – at this age to have all the knowledge that anyone would be dreaming (of having),” the 35-year-old told Arabian Business.

“I have been here since 2001, and I believe now I have completed nine years it is time to (move on). It is not about making more money, it is about...I have done quite enough, and I saw my role was not as effective as it used to be. I am a person who just wants to keep going and building and doing more, and right now everything is established,” Al Sayegh said.

Full article here

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Media Week staff quit?

New post request:
Media Week’s editorial staff has left the building, it seems. The current roster of writers and editors have now either left, or are serving their last days today, leaving the Emirates Neon Group magazine without an editorial team, for the moment.

Although no-one’s saying as much on the record, AdNation understands the team quit over unpaid wages. Dues for some staff remain unpaid since the summer, we hear.

ENG publishing director Mike Orlov didn’t comment directly on the suggestion that ENG wasn’t paying its staff, but described the current employment situation as “volatile” and said ENG wished its former Media Week employees all the best.

“It’s a very difficult market situation. A very high number of companies are owed a great deal of money by their customers, which has led to problems with companies meeting their requirements, and ENG, amongst many other businesses, has suffered,” said Orlov.

Full story here