How did they react to #WhatChanged as Arab News celebrates its 43rd anniversary

Arab News, the region leading English-language daily, celebrates its 43rd anniversary. (AN)
Updated 20 April 2018
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How did they react to #WhatChanged as Arab News celebrates its 43rd anniversary

  • The changes are all part of a future plan entitled Arab News 2020 to coincide with the paper’s 45th anniversary that year
  • Arab News has opened bureaus in London, Dubai and Pakistan and has hired some of the best industry talent

Arab News — the region leading English-language daily — celebrates its 43rd anniversary with a relaunch, described by Editor in Chief Faisal J. Abbas as “The biggest shake-up the paper has had throughout its 43-year history.”

The changes are all part of a future plan entitled Arab News 2020 to coincide with the paper’s 45th anniversary that year.

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.

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.

Here are the reactions to the change:

I think Arab News readers will not just embrace the changes to the newspaper, they will love them. If there’s one region that can adapt to change rapidly, then it’s the Arab world. The new newspaper is clean, it’s crisp, it’s modern — and those things are essential for a modern newspaper. It’s no longer enough to tell readers what happened yesterday, because this is the 21st century, they already know. They want context, analysis. They don’t just want to know what happened, but why it happened, how it happened, and how it’s going to change their lives and what it means for them — and I think any modern newspaper has to do that.

Ross Anderson

Dubai Bureau Chief

I am very happy about the new launch. I grew up with the Arab News, I used to read the newspaper ever since I was 8 or 9 and if I didn’t, my dad would always come in and ask us about headlines. It really has contributed to my sense of understanding of the world, so for me to see the change happening, the whole world, the universe is changing and when you look at it from that perspective, from a universal one then it’s bound to happen. We change, every day we’re changing skin! I think that the fact that it’s launched the way it did and, honestly, under the leadership of (Editor in Chief) Faisal J. Abbas, I think it’s going to go really high and I’m excited to see where it’s going to go next.

Lina Almaeena

Saudi Shoura Council Member

What we needed to do — after 43 years, with one of the oldest English newspapers in the region — is to give it a modern day look and feel. So what we started is to give it a revamp — from the masthead down to every single page.  And then we looked at the digital side of things as well — we revamped the website and also we looked at social media platforms.

Arkan Aladnani

Head of Operations

Congratulations to a friend and colleague Faisal Abbas, and the entire team on the launch of Arab News’ revamped edition. Change is what gives meaning to life at the break of every dawn.

Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi

Former Editor in Chief

 

Arab News is an old, venerable brand with lots of legacy, going back to the 1970s. The redesigned paper is bold, I think it makes a statement. I think it says here we are, we’re modern. Arab News has gone more international, we are no longer just a Saudi newspaper — there are bureaus around the world and that will increase further.

Frank Kane

Business Columnist, Dubai

I think Arab News has a big role in changing the concept of believing in youth, culture and innovation. With the new concept of Arab News, the new Arab News, I can see positive change is coming to the region, positive change coming to the youth, positive energy, lots of building the capabilities of the youth is needed more than ever. The leadership of Arab News is so powerful to give us also a great example of how change can be done.

Mona Al-Marri

Director-General of the Government of Dubai Media Office

I think the reveal (of the new Arab News identity) was done in a very professional manner, I think it was eye-catching, and it expressed everything that Arab News has to say. The new design is lovely, it has to go and continue because with changing times patterns change, you have a new audience so it has to go with the flow. The framework with Arab News was that there’s no drastic change ... people can still recognize that this is the Arab News.

Khaled Almaeena

Former Editor in Chief

A sharp black and white (masthead) makes it all blunt and straight to the point, which is what takes the news to the second level. The brand says a lot, it has an ambitious, modern touch to it.

Maitha Buhumaid

Government of Dubai Media Office

If you read the newspaper 18 months ago, you would not recognize it compared with what it is today. We have built a network of correspondents around the world, we have opened new bureaus. We have employed some of the finest, most experienced journalists on the planet. And we are doing some fantastic stories and scoops and interviews with world leaders, all with an Arab slant, or reflecting on the region in some way. The Middle East is probably the most misunderstood region in the world; a lot of people have preconceptions about the region. Arab News is helping meet demand for real news about the region, and helping to address some of the misunderstandings.

Ben Flanagan

London Bureau Chief

The new Arab News is outstanding.

Tarek Mishkhas

Former Deputy Editor in Chief


Google employees demand more oversight of China search engine plan

A Google sign is seen during the China Digital Entertainment Expo and Conference (ChinaJoy) in Shanghai, China August 3, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 17 August 2018
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Google employees demand more oversight of China search engine plan

  • Hundreds of employees have called on the company to provide more “transparency, oversight and accountability
  • Employees have asked Google to create an ethics review group with rank-and-file workers, appoint ombudspeople to provide independent review and internally publish assessments of projects

SAN FRANCISCO: Google is not close to launching a search engine app in China, its chief executive said at a companywide meeting on Thursday, according to a transcript seen by Reuters, as employees of the Alphabet Inc. unit called for more transparency and oversight of the project.
Chief Executive Sundar Pichai told staff that though development is in an early stage, providing more services in the world’s most populous country fits with Google’s global mission.
Hoping to gain approval from the Chinese government to provide a mobile search service, the company plans to block some websites and search terms, Reuters reported this month, citing unnamed sources.
Whether the company could or would launch search in China “is all very unclear,” Pichai said, according to the transcript. “The team has been in an exploration stage for quite a while now, and I think they are exploring many options.”
Disclosure of the secretive effort has disturbed some Google employees and human rights advocacy organizations. They are concerned that by agreeing to censorship demands, Google would validate China’s prohibitions on free expression and violate the “don’t be evil” clause in the company’s code of conduct.
Hundreds of employees have called on the company to provide more “transparency, oversight and accountability,” according to an internal petition seen by Reuters on Thursday.
After a separate petition this year, Google announced it would not renew a project to help the US military develop artificial intelligence technology for drones.
The China petition says employees are concerned the project, code named Dragonfly, “makes clear” that ethics principles Google issued during the drone debate “are not enough.”
“We urgently need more transparency, a seat at the table and a commitment to clear and open processes: Google employees need to know what we’re building,” states the document seen by Reuters.
The New York Times first reported the petition on Thursday. Google declined to comment.
Company executives have not commented publicly on Dragonfly, and their remarks at the company-wide meeting marked their first about the project since details about it were leaked.
Employees have asked Google to create an ethics review group with rank-and-file workers, appoint ombudspeople to provide independent review and internally publish assessments of projects that raise substantial ethical questions.
Pichai told employees: “We’ll definitely be transparent as we get closer to actually having a plan of record here” on Dragonfly, according to the transcript. He noted the company guards information on some projects where sharing too early can “cause issues.”
Three former employees involved with Google’s past efforts in China told Reuters current leadership may see offering limited search results in China as better than providing no information at all.
The same rationale led Google to enter China in 2006. It left in 2010 over an escalating dispute with regulators that was capped by what security researchers identified as state-sponsored cyberattacks against Google and other large US firms.
The former employees said they doubt the Chinese government will welcome back Google. A Chinese official, who declined to be named, told Reuters this month that it is “very unlikely” Dragonfly would be available this year.