Arab News journalists reflect on the recent changes in the Kingdom and share their hopes for themselves and the country by the time Vision 2030 is realized
Reporting news in a rapidly changing country is, in itself, an honor. To be part of “The Voice of a Changing Region” is quite an achievement I have carefully shaped and built since 2014, when I joined Arab News as a fresh graduate.
Leading the team of Saudi reporters is a responsibility I never imagined I would assume at a young age, but, somehow, it gives me a better vision of how my career will look by the year 2030. Twelve years from now, I picture myself being a senior managing editor with even greater responsibilities. Although, I am blessed to work with such a dedicated team, I see our family growing and our foreign bureaus expanding.
Another dream I hope to realize by 2030 is to be among the elite, handpicked journalists who are asked to interview leaders and high-profile figures in the world.
Before I reach my 40s (I will be 39 in 2030), I should also be able to say that, throughout my career, I managed to report the humanitarian stories that usually go unheard, from the least-fortunate places, such as war-torn countries.
I’m lucky to be working at Arab News during the transformational era in Saudi Arabia, and I am very proud to be part the local team who has the ability to report these changes to the rest of the region and the world, helping others to rediscover Saudi Arabia and reshape their ideas and misconceptions.
By the year 2030, I am hoping that with the implementation of the Kingdom’s Vision we will be looking at an entirely different Saudi Arabia, and an entirely different universe. I would love to say that being a journalist had always been my dream, but it was not.
However, nothing I worked on before felt this right. I would love to picture myself as a senior editor, walking in to this same office, greeting the same kind faces that smile at me every day, a little older and wiser, and newer faces too, as eager and hungry as I was on my first day to acquire the skills that will enable them to be journalists (in digitized forums that will suit the journalism of the future).
My aspirations as a journalist by the year 2030 are not so much attributed to any specific goals, such as being recognized with any particular awards or accolades, but rather how this industry offers a platform for continued growth in my self-development.
I believe I am constantly refining both my professional and social skills, which is greatly rewarding to me.
There are plenty of occupations that serve simply as a means to an end in the sense of generating an income.
A unique aspect of the field of journalism though, is the added benefits in the sense of how well informed I am on world events, which in turn translates heavily to my social development.
The element of spontaneity in this field is also ever present, which can lead to some very interesting travels. My aspirations are being met every day in this job. It is the gift that keeps on giving.
Lojien Ben Gassem
Before I became a journalist, I always wanted people to see Saudi Arabia through the eyes of the Saudi citizens. Unfortunately, today’s media politics play a huge role in shaping a country, through biased ideas and false assumptions. When Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman revealed Saudi Vision 2030, “The National Transformation Program,” on April 25, 2016, people started to wonder what was happening to the country. Basically, Vision 2030 promises people a better future and better governance, which is raising hopes and expectations among Saudis. That vision led me to become a journalist in particular because people were becoming more curious about Saudi Arabia. Today I get the chance to write about the transformation step by step, by covering events and stories about young Saudi entrepreneurs, artists and empowered women.
Therefore, my aspirations as a journalist for the year 2030 are: to help to increase the demand for tourism in Saudi Arabia and create an attractive and welcoming environment for tourists who are interested to get to know the country; to educate Saudis on how to understand and accept other cultures and ethnicities; and to help create a culture that accepts constructive and purposeful criticism.
I aspire to be an accomplished journalist who has made a positive impact in the world through her writing. I hope to have had a hand in making a difference by 2030. I wish to have tackled major issues going on in the world by then, and bring a sense of hope, relief and joy to all those I have interviewed and written about, and make a difference in all the forums I will have participated in by 2030.
Being a journalist is a very fulfilling job as you have the chance to give a voice to people and make a difference in their lives. I wish to be recognized as a journalist who made a difference.
I aspire to be a prime example of integrity in this field, make my country and Arab News proud of me, and to learn so much more about the world and how to make it a better place to live in day by day.
My first article was published when I was 16 years old. I wanted to change the world and thought if not by actions than most definitely by words, always trusting in the idea that “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Many years have passed, and I still believe this, with a broader understanding that not everything is black and white but different shades of all the colors under the glorious sun.
In the course of just 3 years, the world has witnessed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia start to bear the fruits of its labor through Vision 2030. It has given its people hope, inspiration and, most importantly, a higher purpose that can be achieved.
The reforms we at Arab News have covered show how rapidly things are moving, in the right direction. I feel honored and blessed to not only witness them but to actually be a part of them.
Vision 2030 is a realization that change on a large scale is a team effort that takes millions of believers that share a vision of prosperity and hope.
The inner child in me still believes I can change the world, but this time not alone. It might not be through pen and paper, but more accurately through a keyboard and a blank Word document.
With the rapid growth of virtual data and the information available online, as well as the fast technological developments, newspapers will mostly disappear by 2030. Even in terms of language, we may invent another word in the near future to describe the new digital interactive news-delivery tool.
News reports will be written by computers, or most of them, which means the concept of competition between competitors in the media industry will change. The more an agency depends on developed technology, the more successful it can be.
In this regard, I predict more competition in producing creative, interactive, entertaining and high-value content that depends on investigative journalism and feature stories, more so than broadcast journalism, which might have less reliance on news reporters and correspondents, and more jobs for people with creative, critical and analytical skills in the media industry. Journalist will need to obtain knowledge in basic journalism, and more in technology, and creative content production.
On the basis of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030, I would expect the media industry in Saudi Arabia to be more diversified, and prosperous, since the Kingdom is investing a developed digital infrastructure, as well as in the entertainment and sports sectors, and culture and heritage.