DUBAI: This newspaper relaunches today with a new design, and a new approach to stories that is better suited to the Internet age
Since 1975, Arab News has been the voice of the Arab world and the newspaper of record for Saudi Arabia and the wider region. As this region changes, and as the Arab world faces new challenges and new political, social and economic realities, so must that voice change. And so must Arab News — as you can see from these pages, published to mark the relaunch of the newspaper.
The world in which we now live is unrecognizable from 43 years ago. Empowered in unprecedented ways, we connect to that world through the Internet, and we connect to each other via social media; through the power of the web, we have instant access to everything that has ever been known. It is, literally, a world of information.
What’s missing? In a word — trust. The concept of “fake news” has attained much prominence recently, but in truth it is nothing new. In this region especially, too often a “journalist” is merely someone with an opinion, a keyboard and a platform, and too often that opinion has no basis in fact. Arab News has never provided such a platform, and never will. We report news you can believe, and we always will.
Changing with the times
So how is the Arab News you’re now reading different from the one that has existed for the past 43 years? What are the changes, and why were they necessary?
Just as the pace of life has changed since 1975, so must the pace of a newspaper. It is no longer enough for a media publication to tell its readers what happened yesterday. In 1975, they might not have known; in 2018, constantly bombarded with information from sources that did not exist 43 years ago, they almost certainly do.
Thus, they want more than the news; they want to know what it means, why it happened, what are the consequences, and how it will affect their lives.
Arab News is committed to supplying that information; we no longer simply publish the news, we supplement it with the contextual analysis that readers need to make sense of it. Not only has the design of the newspaper been radically changed — you will also see elegant graphics and background facts giving richness to our stories.
News in the Internet age
Another major change in all our lives since 1975 is time — or rather, the lack of it. We all lead busy lives, and often have less time than we would like to absorb the news. Arab News has changed to reflect that. Many of our major stories now come in two forms; a full version, and a “speed read” that can be more easily digested. They are also accompanied by panels of instant facts and statistics that can be quickly and easily understood.
While our focus is on explaining this region to the world, and explaining the world to this region, we will never forget where our home is. Saudi Arabia has embarked on an unprecedented program of social and economic reform that has caught the attention of the world.
It is said that when Saudi Arabia sneezes, the rest of the Arab world catches pneumonia. Equally, when Saudi Arabia changes, and it is doing so at lightning speed, those changes will have profound consequences far beyond its borders. Arab News has been at the forefront of reporting this transformation, and will continue to be so.
Arab News. It’s Arab. And it’s news. What could be clearer than that?
• Ross Anderson is Arab News Dubai Bureau Chief