On Arab News’ 45th anniversary, a former editor in chief looks back
My experience of working as editor in chief of Arab News was both rich and unique. The newspaper reaches a large audience in the region and internationally, and exerts an important influence on the media landscape.
I have worked on a number of publications produced by the Saudi Research and Marketing Group, but my experience with Arab News was different because its audience is different — it targets English-language speakers. It was also the first newspaper launched by SRMG.
It is a fact that anyone who works at Arab News develops an emotional connection with the newspaper that lasts forever. It is a unique publication created by a team made up of many nationalities, and this gives it a distinctive international dimension.
I have many fond memories of my time with Arab News, but the most vivid is the launch of its political dialogue forum. Through the forum, we were able to initiate discussions about a number of important issues with foreign ambassadors in Saudi Arabia. Such dialogue is important not only to encourage interaction, but also because of the issues that it highlights.
It is a fact that anyone who works at Arab News develops an emotional connection with the newspaper that lasts forever
Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi
Arab News also acts as a link between the foreign and local media; many international agencies and other news outlets turn to the newspaper for reliable news, information and opinions from inside the Kingdom. This helps it to maintain a network of relationships with foreign media outlets, provide a neutral stance and attempt to convey the facts from Saudi Arabia.
I still work for the same group, on an important English-language media project that I was proud to launch: The About Her website. It focuses on Arab women, Saudis in particular, and aims to share with the world a more accurate view of these women, rather than the more common — and unfair — stereotype that continues to prevail in many places.
Women in the Kingdom are increasingly empowered as a result of the recent, significant changes and developments in Saudi society, which have attracted a great deal of media attention. This is what motivated the development and launch of About Her. I am happy to say the website has been very successful and attracts a large audience.
• Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi is a former editor-in-chief of Arab News.