Rewriting the future: Editor in Chief Faisal J. Abbas on Arab News’ new leaf

Updated 20 April 2018
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Rewriting the future: Editor in Chief Faisal J. Abbas on Arab News’ new leaf

  • As a journalist, I don’t think there is any place more interesting in the region than Saudi Arabia: Arab News Editor in Chief
  • Arab News will move away from being seen merely as a 'newspaper' to a whole array of new offerings

On April 1, a tweet went out from the Arab News account: “Arab News — as you know it — will no longer exist! #AprilFoolsDay #WhatChanged.” 

The message was a teaser building up to the  relaunch of the English-language daily following a comprehensive overhaul, described by Editor in Chief Faisal J. Abbas as “The biggest shake-up the paper has had throughout its 43-year history.”

On April 4, the relaunch issue hit the newsstands, with changes also reflected across the digital editions. While the new look and feel of the paper represent a bold departure, many of the shifts have materialized over the past year. In a wide-ranging interview with Communicate magazine, Abbas described the evolution of Arab News since he took the reins in September 2016. 

“We went back to our roots and took the paper back from being a local news outlet to its original positioning as the English voice of the region,” he told the magazine. 

To achieve this, Arab News, which is owned by the Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG), has opened bureaus in London, Dubai and Pakistan and has hired some of the best industry talent, made significant changes to its workflow structure and rewritten its editorial policy.

The changes are all part of a future plan entitled Arab News 2020 to coincide with the paper’s 45th anniversary that year. Key to this is a “digital-first” philosophy which is incorporating more video and social media to serve the title’s expanding demographic in the online sphere, though with print revenues at 90 percent, it won’t be killing its print editions any time soon.  

Instead, the focus is on expansion. “We are moving away from being recognized as merely a “newspaper” to a whole array of digital offerings, events and tailored products,” Abbas said. Examples include the Arab News partnership with YouGov, producing material that “quickly became a reference for the region,” on major events, including polls on lifting the ban on female drivers in Saudi Arabia and a 2017 survey on British attitudes toward the Arab world — cited in the UK Parliament. 

The paper’s metamorphosis coincides neatly with the transformation taking place in Saudi Arabia as the country embraces an ambitious reform program as part of the Vision 2030 which, among other things, is redefining the local media industry. “As a journalist, I don’t think there is any place more interesting in the region than Saudi Arabia,” Abbas said. “We are very lucky to be at the heart of (the) change.” 


With Mo Salah’s World Cup dream in doubt, the Arab World erupts in anger

Updated 27 May 2018
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With Mo Salah’s World Cup dream in doubt, the Arab World erupts in anger

  • As Egypt’s Mohammad Salah contemplates watching the World Cup from the sidelines, the social media world has erupted with outrage and support for the footballing superstar
  • Salah suffered the agonizing injury during the Champions League final on Saturday, when Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos took down the Liverpool attacker in the 31st minute of the match
DUBAI: As Egypt’s Mohammad Salah contemplates watching the World Cup from the sidelines, the social media world has erupted with outrage and support for the footballing superstar who suffered a dislocated shoulder in a tackle that left armchair pundits around the world asking why the referee did not call a foul.

Salah suffered the agonizing injury during the Champions League final on Saturday, when Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos took down the Liverpool attacker in the 31st minute of the match.

Despite his best efforts to play on, Salah accepted defeat and walked off the pitch, clearly in a lot of pain, crying – while Ramos watched on — Liverpool went on to lose the cup final in a humiliating 3-1 defeat.

Now experts are questioning whether Salah will be able to play in the World Cup, which is just weeks away – sparking tsunami of reaction on social media as fans expressed their anger at Spaniard, Ramos, for what many say was excessive aggression and the referee for not calling a foul.

“Sergio Ramos, deliberately looks to hurt Mo Salah shoulder, you don’t put somebody into a arm lock like that by accident, disgusting,” GeorgeBakhos1 tweeted.







"Curse the ancestry that brought you to life, Ramos you buffalo," Karl Sharro tweeted.


One user even wrote a letter addressed to Ramos on how he “injured not Mo Salah but the hearts of football fans around the world.”



"My blood is burning, Ramos you son of a dog," tweeted IbrahimFayek.


"Your tears are precious to us, God willing it isn't a serious injury and you will raise the trophy. Ramos you son of a dog, I hope you get paralyzed," an angry user tweeted.





Salah’s injury even enlightened Muslims around the world, pushing them to head to the mosque and pray for the Egyptian.


Pictures of the incident went viral, with memes of Ramos flooding twitter and Instagram homepages.








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