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?

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

No. And I work there.

Anonymous said...

Why would they need a censor? It's not like there are any editors with balls who would let anything controversial get published.

Anonymous said...

I heard that he was from the Philippines and was a former censor for the government.

Anonymous said...

What does the National's new foreign editor think of himself? Looks like he has an attitude problem.

Anonymous said...

Don't let Gavin get wind of this rumour, or he'll sack Cowan and Kwa and replace them with an Emirati censor for a quarter of the cost. Nobody will know the difference.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who thinks it's difficult getting through to the National's new foreign editor?

Claire said...

Gavin's already heard the rumour

Anonymous said...

who cares about the foreign section? wire copy, wire copy and more wire copy. how many times are we going to bash the national? it's the best newspaper in the country. get over it. other than working for an international news org in the region, it's the next best option. compare it with actual newspapers and you may be in trouble. deep down, all you itp/gn/kt haters know you are dying to work there.

Anonymous said...

The National's foreign section doesn't just carry wire copy. It has lots of contract writers/stringers reporting from different countries around the world.

Anonymous said...

RE: Anonymous 20:11

"how many times are we going to bash the national? it's the best newspaper in the country."

Most of the National-bashing here comes from those of us unfortunate enough to work for the people who run The National. Knowing that you work at "the best newspaper in the UAE" is small compensation if you have to deal with the incompetent management more than once per week.

Anonymous said...

Is there anywhere on here we can share information on who is paying and who isn't?
I'm absolutely fed up of publishers who are polite and professional when they want you to supply images - and then ignore you when it comes around to invoice time.
A little while ago I received an incredibly rude email which basically implied that I should be grateful 'for the business' despite the fact that payment was long overdue. Apparently I was 'hassling them for payment' - the 'hassling' being me chasing them up over email because they had ignored all contact with my accounts department.
And then they bounced a cheque on me. Should I still be grateful?
I think it's time we outed the non-payers.

Anonymous said...

If they bounced a cheque take it to the police. They'll soon pay up

Anonymous said...

anon@18.36
As a freelance writer until recently:
ITP Consumer are good.
Motivate are reliable.
CPI are rather disorganised.
TMF I never did anything for.
The National are very prompt indeed.

I am however concerned that the company I have just joined seems to have run out of freelancers already despite being set up only six months ago. I'm playing it by ear, but ready to jump ship at the first sign of delayed salary - having been at a company where this happened previously.
Say what you like about freelancing, but you generally know who to trust.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the above post. Publishing companies who don't pay up in Dubai need to be named and shamed so that freelancers, picture libraries etc know who to steer clear of.

Anonymous said...

Some people don't help themselves. My friend works for a company who haven't paid him or the other staff there on time ever. In fact everyone at the company seems to be owed lots and lots of money. And still he works for them. He reckons they are honest people. But it's plain to see the people running the show are a bunch of crooks. I would love to name and shame them on here, but I don't think it would do the people there any favours.

Anonymous said...

If you are in the UAE you can get them arrested for bouncing the cheque ! May even be possible from outside.

Anonymous said...

The best thing that could happen to the National, and to the "media" sector in general in this barren landscape, is for 99.87 per cent of the British hacks who fancy themselves "journos" to leave and go back to taking shorthand and stenography classes. We have never seen such idiocy masquerading as journalism and reporting. It is laughable.

Anonymous said...

don't be so racist !

Anonymous said...

As the person who wrote on here about the bounced cheque and bad attitude, I'd like to update by saying we have now been paid. And I have turned their account back on. These days, it is hard to turn away business and, in my field, we have to pay whether clients pay us or not. It's the way of the world. But, as I originally stated, I would welcome a place where non-payers could legitimately be outed. If there is a way I could name this company as a warning to others (who can then make their own judgement) I think it's a worthwhile thing. You just don't want it turning into one of those 'ITP are rubbish' threads.
Any suggestions?
For the record, this company begins with a P. My worst two clients prior to them began with an E and an M.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:46 - give examples or STFU. And how does shorthand and "stenography" alone make for a better journalist?

Anonymous said...

The National is pretty bad at paying freelancers. It took me six months to get paid for one piece last year. They wanted the piece within a week. Doesn't sound fair.

Anonymous said...

So the non-payers will be Point Media, Media Factory and Emirates Neon?
And I claim my five dollars prize.
(little point reopening their accounts - all three seem to have folded anyway)

Anonymous said...

What a hoot

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/richardspencer/100055018/dubais-unique-contribution-to-the-commonwealth-games/

Anonymous said...

The exodus is still happening. By my count 10 have resigned this month from the National. How many people are leaving in total and who are they?

Karin H said...

gulfnews speaking of self-censorship as if they never do it themselfs
http://gulfnews.com/opinions/columnists/journalism-in-middle-east-does-not-always-tell-the-truth-1.686918

Anonymous said...

Good on you, Richard Spencer.

Anonymous said...

Crew members on Hassan Fattah's Titanic continue to head for the lifeboats. Word from the paper is that 60 people have already quit this year. Has anyone got a complete list they'd like to share?

Anonymous said...

New thread?

Looks like the National has a few jobs to fill. This email was sent to staff earlier today.

Preferential treatment will surely be given to hacks already worn down by employment in the Emirates, as they will be less likely to cause a nuisance asking why bad news about Abu Dhabi can't go into the paper.


FEATURE WRITER
We are looking for two senior feature writers, reporting to the weekend features team. Candidates must have a demonstrated ability for writing long narrative features with depth and flair; they should either have a depth of expertise in the region or have a broad interest in writing across the sections (Weekender, Review, Travel, House&Home, Motoring and Personal Finance) and for m magazine. They should be versatile, prolific, full of ideas, self-starters as well as team-players.

DEPUTY MAGAZINE EDITOR
M magazine is looking for a deputy editor. Candidates must have demonstrated experience in managing a team of writers, including editing, assigning and executing their ideas from the initial pitch to packaging them on the page. They need to be very organized, meticulous and easy to work with (divas need not apply), as well as being interested in all the important things in life, like shoes, mascara and women's rights. They should have an ear to the ground, a good eye for glamour and most important, a pair of steady hands, capable of handling and representing the magazine in the editor’s absence.

ARTS&LIFE FEATURE WRITER
Arts & Life has vacancies for feature writers. We're looking to hire versatile writers with the ability to generate great feature ideas and file accurate, authoritative and elegant copy to tight deadlines.

SENIOR NATIONAL EDITOR
The news desk at The National has vacancies for senior editors.
We are looking for professional, hard-working, diligent and time-served journalists who can help build on the success of the best newspaper in the region.
The role will involve managing a “cluster” of reporters to produce a constant stream of agenda-setting and compelling stories and news features.
Working with a team, and liaising closely with the news editors, the candidate will ensure copy is complete, accurate, in line with house style, and ready for publication.

SPORTS REPORTER
The sports department is seeking a reporter to cover local sports at all levels.
No previous sports experience necessary.
Strong reporting and interviewing skills are a must, however, along with the ability to produce news, event, feature and enterprise stories.
Fluency in Arabic is also required.

ASSISTANT FOREIGN EDITOR
Job Description: Edit and rewrite copy filed by the National’s foreign staff, for both the print version of the newspaper and the paper’s website. Work closely with reporters, some for whom English is a second language. Some story commissioning and news scheduling will also be required.

BUSINESS REPORTER (energy)
To work as one of two people focusing on energy. Core beats include nuclear, carbon, climate, renewables, power, refining, petrochemicals, oil markets and water. Also may be required to write on oil and gas, OPEC and petroleum geopolitics. Expected to write a story a day, comprising news, features, analysis, and interviews.

BUSINESS REPORTER (finance)
One of a four-person team reporting on money and markets. Core beat includes stock markets, investing, retail banking, wealth management. You would be expected to contribute to the daily newspaper, the weekly personal finance section and the "In the Black" blog.

BUSINESS REPORTER (property)
One of a three person team focusing on property. Core areas would include construction, contracts, materials, and the human side of property, such as changes in regulation and strata law. You would be expected to write a story a day, comprising news, features, interviews, analysis and blog updates for "Crane Country".

Anonymous said...

New thread?

Looks like the National has a few jobs to fill. This email was sent to staff earlier today.

Preferential treatment will surely be given to hacks already worn down by employment in the Emirates, as they will be less likely to cause a nuisance asking why bad news about Abu Dhabi can't go into the paper.


FEATURE WRITER
We are looking for two senior feature writers, reporting to the weekend features team. Candidates must have a demonstrated ability for writing long narrative features with depth and flair; they should either have a depth of expertise in the region or have a broad interest in writing across the sections (Weekender, Review, Travel, House&Home, Motoring and Personal Finance) and for m magazine. They should be versatile, prolific, full of ideas, self-starters as well as team-players.

DEPUTY MAGAZINE EDITOR
M magazine is looking for a deputy editor. Candidates must have demonstrated experience in managing a team of writers, including editing, assigning and executing their ideas from the initial pitch to packaging them on the page. They need to be very organized, meticulous and easy to work with (divas need not apply), as well as being interested in all the important things in life, like shoes, mascara and women's rights. They should have an ear to the ground, a good eye for glamour and most important, a pair of steady hands, capable of handling and representing the magazine in the editor’s absence.

ARTS&LIFE FEATURE WRITER
Arts & Life has vacancies for feature writers. We're looking to hire versatile writers with the ability to generate great feature ideas and file accurate, authoritative and elegant copy to tight deadlines.

SENIOR NATIONAL EDITOR
The news desk at The National has vacancies for senior editors.
We are looking for professional, hard-working, diligent and time-served journalists who can help build on the success of the best newspaper in the region.
The role will involve managing a “cluster” of reporters to produce a constant stream of agenda-setting and compelling stories and news features.
Working with a team, and liaising closely with the news editors, the candidate will ensure copy is complete, accurate, in line with house style, and ready for publication.

SPORTS REPORTER
The sports department is seeking a reporter to cover local sports at all levels.
No previous sports experience necessary.
Strong reporting and interviewing skills are a must, however, along with the ability to produce news, event, feature and enterprise stories.
Fluency in Arabic is also required.

ASSISTANT FOREIGN EDITOR
Job Description: Edit and rewrite copy filed by the National’s foreign staff, for both the print version of the newspaper and the paper’s website. Work closely with reporters, some for whom English is a second language. Some story commissioning and news scheduling will also be required.

BUSINESS REPORTER (energy)
To work as one of two people focusing on energy. Core beats include nuclear, carbon, climate, renewables, power, refining, petrochemicals, oil markets and water. Also may be required to write on oil and gas, OPEC and petroleum geopolitics. Expected to write a story a day, comprising news, features, analysis, and interviews.

BUSINESS REPORTER (finance)
One of a four-person team reporting on money and markets. Core beat includes stock markets, investing, retail banking, wealth management. You would be expected to contribute to the daily newspaper, the weekly personal finance section and the "In the Black" blog.

BUSINESS REPORTER (property)
One of a three person team focusing on property. Core areas would include construction, contracts, materials, and the human side of property, such as changes in regulation and strata law. You would be expected to write a story a day, comprising news, features, interviews, analysis and blog updates for "Crane Country".

Anonymous said...

Is it just me or is this blog dead and irrelevant?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 01:42, the question is not who is leaving, the question is who is staying. You are correct in stating that the exodus continues, and for good, understandable reason: no one at the paper respects the editor in chief or the managing editor, not even the section editors. People are not stupid, and they will take only so much before realising that the people deciding what goes at the paper are clueless, lacking in news judgment, and concerned far too much with maintaining their pay packages. An organisation does not lose this many people so rapidly, in a lacklustre economy, unless something is rotten within. In fact, some inside are going so far as to say that what the editor in chief and managing editor have done and are doing is criminally negligent. (Of course, the pathetic party line will continue to be recited: "the people leaving are negative, do not get it, are going on to good opportunities etc etc." No, most of them leaving, it seems, are leaving in disgust at the idiocy.)

Anonymous said...

this site has about as much activity as a dubai building site.
is the media scene in the land that mo built really that dead ?

Anonymous said...

Can anyone please confirm whether The Media Factory has officially closed now?

they still owe me money and I am not sure whether it is worth pursuing them, or is this just a lost cause.

Anonymous said...

So three publishers and a newspaper have stopped paying freelancers - and I imagine nobody is doing anything about it.

Why not simply complain to Media Council and see how fast their next issues are printed.

The message to publishers has to be pay your way, or stop.

Don't be scared - what will they do?

Anonymous said...

@01:42 make that 1 more. and more to come.

Anonymous said...

I have just had a response from the NMC. To paraphrase, myself and three fellow unpaid freelancers separately wrote to complain about non-payment by a certain (relatively niche) publisher. To cut a long story short, the NMc have asked us for evidence (emails will do apparently) and have said that sanctions can include fines or ultimately suspension of licence.
My faith has been restored.

Anonymous said...

From what I hear, a lot of the people leaving are doing so because of the insistence that journalists make the dreadful trek down to Abu Dhabi, even if the work they're doing is Dubai-based. This dictate would seem to have no other logic than the fact that it's "an Abu Dhabi-based paper", as journos are constantly reminded -- or, in other words, it's about protecting turf, prestige, etc.

Hasan's a good guy doing a decent job under difficult circumstances, in my view, but there are some real dolts working below him. The copy/sub editing is often criminally sloppy. There is a weird divide between editors and writers, an imbalance of power that I've never seen before. This means that any semblence of this being a collaborative effort gives way to a master/slave dynamic. This is the second reason for the slump in morale and the ongoing exodus.

While the execution and subject matter is often a bit dry, the writing and reporting is generally of a high standard -- miles above anything else in this region (with the exception of some of the work coming out of Lebanon), and certainly streets ahead of GN, KT, etc.

But it's early days. The National has bags of potential. If they can establish their Dubai office as a feasible alternative to Abu Dhabi (for those whose beat is here) and if they tried to establish a new working dynamic between editors and writers, things would be much better.

Anonymous said...

I've just written to DMc about the publishers of a very sophisticated drinks magazine. They paid for me for work I did on their first two issues. The third and fourth issues I was (with retrospect) fobbed off regarding payment. And they asked me to do the review for their next issue. No chance. I pay my freelancers regardless, but they have left me seriously out of pocket and I certainly won't allow it.

Anonymous said...

I did a shoot for a company called Aqua Veetay and they didn't pay me so I wrote it off as one of those things. But they said they would pay me if I worked on their new magazine so I did - and they paid me half of what they owed me. The owner is a scary guy, and I'm sure he hardly knows who I am, but it's out of order. They conned me and I wanted to share the warning.

Anonymous said...

Any idea who the reporters are and what the story was that led to them being charged with the very 'The Day Today'-sounding offence of 'fake news'?

http://www.arabianbusiness.com/uae-journalists-face-charges-over-false-news-354890.html

Peter! You've lost the news!

Anonymous said...

http://www.observer.com/2010/media/print-dream-dies

Anonymous said...

They are doing a decent job:

Air pollution a factor in hundreds of deaths in The UAE.

" No comment was available from health officials in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, nor from the EAD" is another proof.

Anonymous said...

http://www.observer.com/2010/media/print-dream-dies

Anonymous said...

Sinking ship the National - since the beginning of the year around 9 reporters have left the business staff, and there are more to come. The "editor" of that section, and his "deputy" have driven them away with their fake editorship. And the same is happening around the paper. Around 60 people since the beginning of the year? If this was the real world, the EIC and the ME, along with 50 per cent of the "reporters," would be fired.

The paper as a whole is failing; editor in chief is inept, head is deep in the sand, he has lost the respect of the entire staff, and there is no getting it back.

But, it is exciting times as the paper, whose staff are totally happy working for 3 years with no salary rises (or minimal rises in some cases) so that the National can give away Audis to entice people into subscribing.

What stupidity.

Anonymous said...

Hello,
My first time on your website and it's great.
I'd like to ask if anybody else on here has had trouble chasing payments from magazine companies, and how they got their money.

I did a shoot for a company called Pinpoint and it turns out myself, the stylist, the model and the editor all went unpaid for it. The owner hasn't returned my calls or emails for two months now.

I also did some work for Media Factory more than nine months ago and their accountant has so far sent me just about every excuse under the sun, while the editor has left and my calls just get redirected and ring out.

I'm quite new to the magazine industry over here, so could you let me know what you suggest please.
Thanks for your time,
x

Anonymous said...

On the 06 September, 2010 12:46 - about Brits in the newsroom...the Brits are leaving in droves. None have any influence any more. The Canadians have taken over and good luck to them. You can see the impact they have had every morning.

Anonymous said...

15 October, 2010 15:48

'The Canadians have taken over and good luck to them. You can see the impact they have had every morning.'

How so, do they clean the office at night?

The UAE loves Canadians, you lot will probably have to get a boat home.

Anonymous said...

lets face it if you live in dullesville canada then abu drabi
is going to have some appeal in the short term, but eventually these cannucks will find the interminable boredom of the place gets to them , along with the professional mismanagement and hypocritcal locals and they'll head off home, a littler richer but none the wiser.

Anonymous said...

Here's the problem with the paper under Fattah. He shows weak leadership with no vision. An editorial in the paper today condones domestic violence. http://www.thenational.ae/featured-content/home/middle-national-conversation/a-starting-point-on-domestic-abuse

The paper increasingly reads like GN and KT. Sure, it looks better. But the material and the editorial view is the same. That is why people are leaving - they can't tolerate Fattah's pretence.

Anonymous said...

To the unpaid photographer above: good luck getting paid by TMF. Its magazine editors used to commission freelances within their tight budgets and yet the owner, Andrea Slater, used to refuse to sign the invoices, finding any excuse to stitch up those who worked for the company in good faith.

Both editors and accountants were ashamed on Andrea's behalf but nothing could be done. As for Andrea, she had no conscience and would no doubt have been praised for her toughness by her sycophantic lapdog-come-henchman, Russell Frame.

The good news is TMF is virtually history. I still hope they find it in their hearts to do the decent thing and pay you though.

Anonymous said...

The Canadians are the only ones there in the morning because of the time difference so they can watch what passes as sport in their own country. That's how they have got so much power. As for the EIC and the ME, they are great survivors, picking up their money for as long as they can. It's quite sad because I came out here to launch what was supposed to be one of the planet's "greatest newspapers" but I still see others around me who can only be described as charlatans with little ability and an attitude that is contemptuous (look it up).

Anonymous said...

Serious question time. A magazine over here wrote about it. I was offered no right of reply by the editor or her staff. The publisher has ignored my emails and calls since my first contact - at which point he promised to call me right back.
I would very much like to take this further, but I would like to avoid legal fees if possible - surely there is a municipality who oversees these things?
Does anyone have an email address for whom I should complain to in the first instance.

Anonymous said...

Has DMO expired? Or been deported? Arrested? Hired by the National? Found a job somewhere civilised? Pity. It was fun to read the ravings of hacks (and wannabee hacks) marooned in the desert.

Anonymous said...

It appears that this site has been blocked by the UAE authorities.

Never mind, I for one will make up for this gargantuan loss to the Dubai media scene by searching for the same level of editorial quality, abject humanity and intellectual discourse down my fu*king toilet.

RIP DMO!

Anonymous said...

They are still advertising for senior editors on British job websites. Have all Newlands original staff left. And is Newlands still around.