Wednesday, 27 April 2011

A rival for The National?

According to a commenter:
It seems a new newspaper will soon be launched in Abu Dhabi. It's recruiting reporters - http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1250147
Are you surprised to hear this? Is there a market for more newspapers in the UAE? I thought the ad market was drying up.

The ad points to "the projected launch of a new local daily print publication for Abu Dhabi" by "a successful local publisher (small, well-funded, profitable, keen, entrepreneurial) with a number of print, online and video products".

More interestingly, they seem to be expecting some kind of Armageddon to break out among the seven-star hotels of the world-leading cultural capital of the UAE:
"this is not a job for those who like safety, an easy life, or the support infrastructure of a big organisation."

Screenshot in case it disappears:

69 comments:

Fear and Loathing in Dubai said...

I'm guessing from the email domain "@turretme.com", this is published by Turret Media, the same outfit behind Abu Dhabi Week.

I suppose that explains then the caveat about the lack of a "support infrastructure of a big organisation".

Does anyone know anything about this organisation, or what staffing is like at Abu Dhabi Week?

It's strange that they have only mentioned "staff writer" vacancies cursorily. Could the editor be responsible for producing as well as editing content?

Gregor Stuart Hunter said...

Just this morning I talked to someone who had just been hired as an editor by this lot. He said he was going to edit a magazine focused on Emirati careers that is currently being set up. Not sure if it's the same publication as this, though.

Anonymous said...

I suspect if this is big enough to trigger mass resignations at The National. Its reporters, however discontented they maybe, won't be too keen to work for this new startup. Or so I think.

Anonymous said...

It is Abu Dhabi Week looking to do a daily features magazine.

Babymoselle said...

I think it does not matter whether the market is saturated or not because some people do not really care about readership and circulation as much as they care about ads that will be bought in the paper. And with many companies not having access to research telling them what their consumers really read, any paper can give inflated figures and convince the less experienced businesses that it is their life time opportunity to advertise with them.

Anonymous said...

ITP launching a drinks magazine; printed outside the UAE, but distributed here. How times have changed.
Got to hand it to them, they don't mind pushing boundaries.

Anonymous said...

@Babymoselle.. indeed, why do you think Khaleej Times still survives with an circulation of less than 30k now! But KT are not only to blame, the piss poor numb-nuts that pass as agencies are also complicit in the fraud against advertisers.

Anonymous said...

I'd suggest this practice is more common in magazine publishing. I know of a magazine company that claims a circulation of more than 10,000 named individuals...and prints 2,000 copies. The advertisers/agencies pay top dollar and wonder why they get next-to-zero response. But still they come all the while there is no audited alternative in the market.
It's fraud, but until someone else launches with a more legitimate model, they'll keep doing it.

Anonymous said...

That's nothing... there's a "leading magazine" here that claims 75k 'readership' on a print run of under 5k. They're very cheeky with their BPA audit, too.

Anonymous said...

KT has a circulation of 30k? That still puts it streets ahead of The Nation, which is down to 20k.

Anonymous said...

10 May, 2011 13:17

Do you mean The National, not the Nation?

Interesting stat, 20,000. How do you know? The paper claims a much higher figure, though everyone knows it is fibbing. But not by how much.

Anonymous said...

Anyone heard about the circulation of Sport360?

Anonymous said...

If the new paper is from the people behind Abu Dhabi Week, they like getting circulation audits. AD Week has had a BPI of 81,000+ for some time now. Seems to be their way, so I would guess any new paper would also be audited

Anonymous said...

Yes, I meant The National. 20k is the official internal figure. That is a drop of 60,000 since launch. They obviously need a new editor.

Anonymous said...

11 May, 2011 12:14

Thanks for the informative inside info. It sounds like you know what you are talking about. I dont understand how the national could ever have sold 80000 copies. please explain. by sold do you mean sold, as in people buying it? or 80000, as in people being given free copies? i dont see how it could sell 20000 copies. maybe they give away that number.

you know more about abu dhabi than me.how many native english speakers live there? how many people use english as a working language? arent local newspapers free, or sold for a nominal cover price? i know newspapers are sold in supermarkets. where else? how could the national sell 20000 copies never mind 80000?

how does the newspaper distribute? i have never seen any delivery vans.

is it possible the national doesnt exist except as a web site and a few copies in supermarkets, airports and hotel lounges?

who is auditing sales of the national? a company owned by a relative of a friend who is married to someone who is related to a prince?

Anonymous said...

That 20k figure, btw, is actually quite liberal. I've heard from several other sources at ADMC that the number is closer to 15k.

Anonymous said...

15k-20k sounds pathetic - even if they don't depend on it to make money. Gulf News, which by comparison is a lousy paper, sells 100k+ copies, correct? What about The National's website? Does it get a good number of clicks?

Anonymous said...

When it was launched, The National set a 5-yr target to break even. 2 years more to go. Does anyone know if it is any closer to that target?

Anonymous said...

Website traffic has plummeted along with quality. And the 5 year business plan? How can you print 20,000 copies and make any money?

Anonymous said...

Could someone please explain the sales stats of 20k?

does the national sell 20,000 copies a day, that is people actually buying it? or are a proportion given away, in hotels, malls, airports etc. it would be hard to sell 20,000 copies as only supermarkets and shops in the better hotels sell english language newspapers. how does the national distribute? i have never seen any delivery vans.

does gulf news really sell 100k copies? who says?

are these circulation stats produced by an independent company or a company owned by the friend of the son of the uncle whose nephew knows the prince whose father chairs the company that owns the national?

Anonymous said...

The 20K figure can't be explained because it was picked out the air by someone who has no idea what they are talking about.

And, no, I'd be amazed if The National was anywhere near breaking even. It probably never will, and never truly has to. It is not about making money.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:55 - "Website traffic has plummeted along with quality". Traffic at the National is up 20% in the past three months. Gulf Snooze, on the other hand, has seen traffic increase just 0.6% over the same period. Since you have no idea at all what you are talking about, why don't you STFU?

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/world/middleeast/15prince.html?hp

I wonder who will have the nuts to cover this story? I bet my last dollar The Notional will not touch this with a barge pole. My money is on 7DAYS!!

Anonymous said...

Surely the NY Times story should be part of the "National Conversation" we've heard so much about?

"Abu Dhabi is set to become a leading global hub for Colombian mercenaries, analysts say", etc

Anonymous said...

What's the deal with the offer to have "lunch with Hassan"? Anyone sign up for that? So he pays for lunch and what happens?

Anonymous said...

I work at The National - and 20,000 copies is an internal number. Gulf News regularly puts its circulation on its front page. The National never does. Why not? Because 20,000 after three years is appalling..

Anonymous said...

Just read http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/world/middleeast/15prince.html?hp

Good stuff. Especially liked the line about the racist autocracy that is Abu Dhabi trying to pass itself off as forward looking - and paying fortunes to PR spivs from the West to push this crap.

Anonymous said...

The National is a very decent paper by UAE standards. It's not a rag like GN and KT. It maynot sell for a number of reasons - its sales/marketing team is inefficient, for example. Low circulation doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad product.

Anonymous said...

@19:25 I agree, it is not a bad product and despite it not being as good as it was a year ago it still wipes the floor with GN and the god-awful KT.

I see there was lots of talk of a free press at the Arab Media Forum. Maybe they will adopt it one day?

Anonymous said...

Freelancers for The National have been sent an email from Hassan's PA asking for scanned passport copies for an "audit". Is anyone actually going to take part in this gross invasion of privacy? Will they refuse to use freelancers who refuse to provide passport copies? New thread, perhaps...

Anonymous said...

I wonder what those passport scans will be used for? Sounds dodgy to me - a government owned newspaper asking for passport scans.

Anonymous said...

ADACH used to ask for passport copies from freelancers who wrote for their God-awful brochures. Could just be increased bureacracy.

Anonymous said...

This doesn't sound like bureaucracy to me. The National has never asked for passport scans before. This is political. They want to do background checks on people writing for them. Remember folks - reformists have been arrested recently. Should the newspaper really condone this kind of behaviour?

Anonymous said...

Word is that it is so auditors can verify that all freelance payments have been made to real people...

Anonymous said...

Much has been written about the National in this space, and there is much more to be written, even though the publication is a rag. Yes, it looks good when compared to the other publications in this region, but for the most part that is it. Overall, it is a failure, and the good people have been leaving it in droves since Hassan Fattah assumed the EIC post. He is a clown, and everyone who works there - even the young people - know it. What the paper has become is a salary vehicle for a number of groups: under-qualified people such as Laura Koot (the silent auction and party editor) and Fattah (resident clown-in-chief, he whom people cannot bear to speak to, he whom people detest, justifiably when it comes to journalistic standards); overpaid people who back in the real world took buyouts, or would have soon if they had not taken jobs at the National; and young, mostly sloppy reporters who in all honesty should be in PR, not journalism.

Any publication that loses as many people as the National has in the past year is a failure, plain and simple. Fattah is the biggest joke in journalism, and has no business in the industry. (Ask him why the paper is not doing any type of reporting on the Erik Prince/UAE story; ask him how many times he has pulled stories; ask him how he sleeps at night.)

The Arts and Life editor, as well as the deputy editor, are leaving - about time, many would say, as Ms Spenley's reputation is about as low as Fattah's. Ask her how many reporters she has driven away.

The Saturday sections are giant losers of money, run by substandard arse-kissers.

The business section is run by a loud and obnoxious and big weakling, JD, who is used by TA. (It is amazing that Fattah is so naive as to believe these guys are actually credible.)

One day this rag will be shut down, and deservedly so. No one reads it, three-plus years and anemic circulation, bleeding employees in a weak economy, afraid to publish anything controversial about the UAE - all of this equals failure.

Anonymous said...

The paper has begun its hunt for a new Arts&Life editor - http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=1255820
Salary offered: more than $100,000.

Anonymous said...

As was written - $100,000 a year to edit a section that is not worth reading? What a waste of money - maudlin, solipsistic essays, cartoons, kids' "what's the difference" photo games ... the paper should shut down and its budget should go toward relief for abused maids in the UAE. Fattah, it is time for you to step down and admit you are a failure.

Fletch F. Fletch said...

Some beautifully observed comments about The National above. Except of course, it will *never* shut down.

Given how the likes of Ms Spenley, Ms Behan, Mr Ashby, Mr Beaulieu and many, many others treat people - staff and freelancers - it's no surprise whatsoever that if any of these individuals were seen crossing the street...no one would actually slow down.

The new launch from Turret won't be a rival for The National as such. I understand its primary focus will be local news.

However, given how Abu Dhabi Week has turned into an advertising-led woman's weekly, it's questionable whether Turret will make the right decisions with both the staff they choose and the direction they take it. The current choice of editor for Abu Dhabi Week has all the editorial expertise of lobotomised goldfish.

But I also see Doha-based Gulf Times is on a recruitment drive...

Anonymous said...

So the paper is afraid to publish anything controversial about the UAE. What about its foreign coverage? Is it any good? I hear the paper has a vast network of stringers and super stringers.

Anonymous said...

Not anymore. The best ones got bored of being censored and left.

Anonymous said...

Maradona and the UAE's mercenaries

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/sportingscene/2011/05/maradona-reflex-responses.html

Anonymous said...

That Turret ad also appeared in The Guardian, which would suggest an attempt to dip into the UK talent pool. That's absurd, why would you look to hire an editor for an Abu Dhabi local newspaper from outside the UAE? This is not a case of moving from the Highbury & Islington Gazette to the Southampton Evening Echo...this is a country where a different set of rules applies and a knowledge of local goings on is critical. That goes for subs too; the unsung heroes.

I fear a squandered opportunity coming on.

Anonymous said...

I'm very bored with people here constantly criticising the National for not being the newspaper it could never possibly be. It's a vanity publishing project by the al Nahyans, and yet some of you seem to thing it should take its editorial stance from John Pilger or the 1970s Washington Post. It genuinely doesn't matter whether the circulation is 20,000 or 20: that was never the point. The idea was to counterbalance the Dubaicentric Gulf News, and ensure Abu Dhabi had an English-language voice that could be quoted overseas. Whether the thing sells, or makes money, is irrelevant. It's the Abu Dhabi house newsletter, and it's certainly not going ever to present Abu Dhabi in a bad light, and anyone who thinks it should, or would be allowed to, is an idiot. That's not the job it was set up to do. Certainly anybody who works for the National should know to check in their journalistic principles at the door, and if they don't know that they're fools. Fattah has his problems, but he knows exactly what the score is, he knows his job is the almost impossible one of pleasing his masters and at the same time making the National a credible voice overseas for Abu Dhabi, and he certainly knows that publishing anything too controversial is the swiftest way to end the gravy train for him and everybody else. Turkeys don't vote for Christmas, and journalists on the National don't write about the many secrets in the UAE.

Mr B. Woodward said...

So, let me just get this clear - you're calling The National "a turkey"? Well, I couldn't agree more with you. You see...the reason why so many people are criticising The National is because it actually proclaims itself to be a newspaper. Not a daily promotional Abu Dhabi marketing newsletter. This is a fairly simple yet fundamental issue in this debate I think you'll agree. If along its masthead it said "The National: Abu Dhabi's promotional marketing newsletter" then there wouldn't be a problem.

Most civilised societies around the world now enjoy the privilege of independent, free reporting - this way serious scandals that are just plain illegal can come to light. I cite the UK's Daily Telegraph MPs and expenses story recently. Granted, many less important issues also come to light (anything to do with footballers and their wives - or more frequently other footballer's wives), but you have to take the rough with the smooth.

If the UAE wants to join the rest of the world in becoming a civilised society, it needs to address it media issues. If I was a local in the UAE and I read the stories about what goes on here in newspapers overseas (have you seen any of the BBC's documentaries about the conditions of labour camps here?) and couldn't see any of these stories in my own country's newspaper...I'd be embarrassed and ashamed.

I suggest you write to The National and suggest that they change their approach. Perhaps it could take on a leaflet form and be dropped from the skies onto the population below from circling aircraft..?

Anonymous said...

The National can never be a credible voice inside or outside the UAE. Their moment was the Arab Spring, and they blew it. The coverage has even weaker than GN.

Anonymous said...

I buy media space in this market:

If you read the GN audit report you will see it sells about 10, 000 copies a day. The remainder are annual home subs and bulk. Call it 100, 000per day built up over 30yrs + of publishing.

The National is 3 years old & not trying to compete on the mass sub continental market. It is niche & obvious to see the market the paper is playing towards. It will work as Abu Dhabi will work.

It is my sense that they sell fairly well at the till point & are growing their subs base, with the right profile reader if their offer's are any indication. I see more and more of the tenants in my block taking the paper. It is streets ahead of anything in this poor market.

I like the paper, read it every day and wish it well. It might not be free, but what is in this region.

Anonymous said...

Gulf News has about 2 000 000 unique users. National has about 700 000. These stats are easy to find. G News mass Indian, National up mkt niche. Make your own mind up. In 3 years The Nat is doing well.

Anonymous said...

You shouldn't compare the paper to GN. National beats it hands down. And yes, perhaps it is the best newspaper in the low-quality UAE market. But that is hardly an achievement. I guess a lot of us are disappointed because we thought this would turn out to be the print equivalent of Al Jazeera or the NYT of the middle east. I guess a lot of us (young reporters who moved to Abu Dhabi from western shores) were naive to believe that.

Anonymous said...

Re: 10.49
The National is doing well? after three years it prints only 20,000 copies - a climb down from 80k. The website doesn't work. And the Arab Spring has been ignored by the Editor.

Doing well? I hope you're not running a business!

Anonymous said...

If you're a media buyer in the the print market you should ask publishers to provide proof from the printers that production matches stated circulation. Publishers routinely reduce print runs to cut costs and then discuss how to plant product in places likely to be seen by their media buyers.

If you're a "young reporter who moved to Abu Dhabi from western shores", did you come here to make a difference as a journalist or so you could have a job title, get paid, gain some experience and get out?

Anonymous said...

Re 16.43 "young reporter.."
In 2008, The National was touted as the world's last big newspaper launch. In these perilous times when print media elsewhere is dying - budgets are being slashed, print hacks are being laid off by the dozen, journalism is suffering - this new grand launch rekindled hopes of survival. This paper has the money to do path breaking journalism. But 3 years on, it has been a disappointment.
I get your point - it's better than GN and KT. But that's not an achievement.
P.S. - maybe this debate should be raging in the newsroom instead of this blog. But the good souls there won't dare to speak. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/29/business/media/29adcol.html?sq=The%20National%20Newland&st=nyt&adxnnl=1&scp=1&adxnnlx=1306209950-Jo96xcBbc7YDc4J+/tnNFQ


Read the above ... the paper has followed through on nothing. Of course there are no ministers in Fattah's office -- they don't need to be in his office for him to do their bidding.

And, the irony of Newland being interrupted while supping with his wife is rich ... the paper, for Newland and a few others, is nothing but a long, all expenses-paid dinner party. (No wonder the company has slashed health insurance coverage ... )

Anonymous said...

Mr B Woodward - you're still calling for The National to be part of the solution, and criticising it for not being part of the solution, when clearly it is not and could not ever be part of the solution because of its ownership. Anyone who expects The National to bite the hand that is feeding all its hacks is either naive or a fool. Seriously - how long do you think the funding would last if, eg, The National started bigging up the Shiite opposition in Bahrain? Or calling for the democracy protesters in the UAE to be released? Do you think The National would even have been launched if its owners thought it would make the slightest difference to the state of power in the UAE?

Anonymous said...

You guys seem to be suffering from 'missed the boat syndrome'. In its heyday, under the likes of Newland and Bill Spindle, The National was a great place to work. Both were ousted because they did actually push the boundaries while trying to tell the story of the UAE rather than be sensationalist - evident in some of the coverage the business section gave during the financial crisis. Some of the best reporters who were involved in the launch have now moved on to good gigs, either in the Middle East or elsewhere, and all are better off because of the experience gained at The National, far more than would have been achieved dicking around in any of the other media here.

Anonymous said...

I was at the paper for the first year - and left when it became clear that Fattah was incompetent and clearly out of his depth.
The paper was supposed to make a difference. Only, the people in charge don't care and won't dare take even slim risks.

Anonymous said...

anyone know why the gulf times is hiring so many staff?

Anonymous said...

So the Gulf research Centre is being booted out of the UAE.

Didn't see this in The National:
http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/gulf-research-center-moves-out-of-dubai-1.816420

Anonymous said...

Anyone for Doha? whats going on?

• 
Gulf Times, Business Reporter
◦ Qatar
◦ £ Attractive
• Gulf Times, the leading English language daily newspaper based in Doha, is seeking a Business Reporter to join an expanding team



• 
Gulf Times, Graphics Editor
◦ DOE
• Gulf Times, the leading English language daily newspaper based in Doha, is seeking a Graphics Editor with experience in print media and across digital platforms.


• 
Gulf Times, News Reporter
◦ Qatar
◦ £ Attractive
• Gulf Times, the leading English language daily newspaper based in Doha, is seeking a rounded News Reporter


• 
Gulf Times, Personal Finance Editor
◦ DOE
• Gulf Times, the leading English language daily newspaper based in Doha, is seeking a Personal Finance Editor to launch a new section for the newspaper and across digital platforms.


• 
Gulf Times, Business Editor
◦ DOE
• Gulf Times, the leading English language daily newspaper based in Doha, is seeking a Business Editor to oversee the expansion of business coverage in both print and across digital platforms


• 
Gulf Times, Sports Sub-Editor
◦ Qatar
◦ £ Attractive
• Gulf Times, the leading English language daily newspaper based in Doha, is seeking a Sports Sub-Editor


• 
Gulf Times, Sports Editor
◦ DOE
• Gulf Times, the leading English language daily newspaper based in Doha, is seeking a Sports Editor to manage both print and digital sports content.


• 
Gulf Times, Deputy Digital Editor
◦ DOE
• Gulf Times, the leading English language daily newspaper based in Doha, is seeking a Deputy Digital Editor to assist in the development of Gulf Times across all electronic platforms.


• 
Gulf Times, News Sub-Editor
◦ Qatar
◦ £ Attractive
• Gulf Times, the leading English language daily newspaper based in Doha, is seeking a Sub-Editor


• 
Gulf Times, Digital Editor
◦ DOE
• Gulf Times, the leading English language daily newspaper based in Doha, is seeking a Digital Editor to oversee the development of Gulf Times across all electronic platforms and manage online content.


• 
Gulf Times, Deputy Editor / Night Editor
◦ DOE
• Gulf Times, the leading English language daily newspaper based in Doha, is seeking an experienced Deputy Editor/Night Editor with extensive knowledge of both print and online editorial functions at a senior level.


• 
Gulf Times, Assistant News Editor
◦ Qatar
◦ £ Attractive
• Gulf Times, the leading English language daily newspaper based in Doha, is seeking an experienced journalist to join the senior news desk team.


• 
Gulf Times, Business Sub-Editor
◦ DOE
• Gulf Times, the leading English language daily newspaper based in Doha, is seeking a Business Sub-Editor to assist with the expansion of business coverage in both print and across digital platforms.


Anonymous said...

Re 23:51 "missed the boat": If The National's current circulation/website is a little underwhelming, then virtually nobody read the paper while you were there. But at least you seem to have really enjoyed working with Newland and Spindle.

Lots of the people "dicking around" in other UAE media move on to good jobs, even though they missed the 10 months when The National was slightly more trailblazing than, er, Gulf News.

Anonymous said...

Just a warning from Doha - there really is no point working anywhere in media apart from, obviously, Al Jazeera. Gulf Times is about 100 years behind the Gulf News/The National - salaries at best are 20k for the most senior positions and the coverage is pretty awful - press releases are reprinted verbatim. Circulation figures are poor. The Editor may be well intentioned (he's a former FT journalist apparently) but the restrictions in Doha are even tighter than the UAE.

Anonymous said...

is the gulf times relaunching? maybe its going to take on the national and gulf news? anyone know?

Anonymous said...

It can never be anything like a UAE newspaper for the simple fact that...nothing happens in Doha.

Anonymous said...

Malcolm Wall the former CEO of Virgin Media in the UK is to become the CEO of ADMC from Sept 1 2011.
Virgin Media is a large cable , content and telecoms co in the UK.
Wall is a heavy hitter and heads will roll !

Anonymous said...

Where were the jobs for the Gulf Times in Doha listed? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

The problem with writing a decent newspaper out in the UAE is that everything is screened by the media council before going to print, isnt it? so they would block any 'bad' news about the UAE so why would the papers even bother to write them?

Anonymous said...

09 June, 2011 13:59

The jobs are at www.gorkana.com.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 13:37, your gleeful proclamation (repeating ADM propaganda) that Wall is a "heavy hitter" and your prediction that "heads will roll" might carry some weight itself if (a) he hadn't been out of a job since April 2009 - desperate men clutch at any old opportunity sometimes – (b) Virgin Media, where he used to be CEO, wasn't such a pile of crap and (c) United Business Media, where he was COO, wasn't also such a pile of crap. Don't anybody hold your breath.

Anonymous said...

Anyone going to the National now will fall into one of two categories: 1.) an overpaid has-been who knew how to persuade and fool the idiots working there to hire him, or 2.) a young, naive, not-so-good reporter who fancies herself the next big thing. (There is a third category: people (read shoddy writers) with surnames that sound Arabic, or are Arabic.) The paper is a farce, and its top two positions are filled by individuals who are woefully inadequate for the posts. Turnover rate continues to be abnormally high, morale is very low, and no one any longer views the paper as having any credibility.

Stories are killed right and left by the EIC, whose most obvious talent - other than driving away good people - is a girl-like laugh that pierces the newsroom like a shaft of deadly nonsense.

In the latest issue of M, the paper's magazine, the magazine ran a photo of its editor's child, along with an essay, and failed to let readers know that editor and child are related. This is but one example of poor practices and unethical behaviour.

The paper is a farce, and will now never be anything but a farce, albeit an expensive one.

Anonymous said...

I'm no longer with The National, but I think it's a mistake to make such harsh judgements. It's certainly not the height of journalism. However, there are good people there, many of which know what they're doing. Put simply, the UAE pays the bills, and then some.

People assume journalists should be this beacon of morality.

They forget it's a job like any other.