CHICAGO: Despite harsh restrictions and widespread health fears caused by the year-long COVID-19 Pandemic, the newspaper industry is beginning to see a brighter future, media industry experts agreed Wednesday.
Assistant Editor-in-Chief Noor Nugali and London-based INNOVATION Media Consulting Group President Juan Senor said that a new partnership they are forging will together provide more information and news in a faster and more efficient manner than previously possible.
Contrary to common beliefs, Senor suggested that the future of journalism and the news industry is much brighter today, in part because of needs caused by the COVID pandemic.
“The future is very bright for the news industry. A pandemic without journalism -- unthinkable. And that is a global reality. And this is a turning moment, a landmark moment where people have realized that indeed they have rediscovered the value of journalism,” said Senor.
“When your lives are at stake. When the health of your loved ones are at stake, who are you going to turn to? The Politicians saying this is a fluke? Somebody on Facebook saying that if you inject bleach you will be cured? Or take a steam shower? Journalism has reconnected with a global audience and the turning point is that people are willing to pay for that journalism.”
Senor called the COVID pandemic a major influence in spurring a journalism resurgence.
“What’s happened during the pandemic is that before the pandemic people said we get our news from Facebook and that was good enough,” Senior said.
“Now people are saying well I now develop a half a retaking and rediscovered the value of visiting a local or regional news site everyday to find out what is true. What is really going on? Because my life is at stake. … We call it the Netflix moment for digital news.”
Nugali detailed how Arab News evolved through expanding its editorial and writing staff and assimilating into the expanding social media world.
“Arab News is the Middle East’s leading English Language Daily. It initiated 46 years ago in a garage by two young brothers, the Hafez Brothers,” Nugali said.
“Now it has become an international newspaper born from Saudi with three online editions in different languages. In 2018 we had the Pakistani edition that was launched. In 2019 we launched the Japanese edition. And remarkably in the midst of the pandemic, in 2019 we launched the French edition.”
Nugali said the partnership with the Future Investment Initiative Institute and Arab News will bring all of the industry stakeholders together to provide the best platform for news information.
“What you are going to see is a co-production of a series of expert panel discussions. You’re going to see surveys, white papers and recommendations on how the industry can survive the digital disruption and create sustainable models for the future,” Nugali said.
“The first deliverable of this cooperation is going to be in May. And it is going to be a White Paper produced by the Arab News Research and Studies Unit which is based in London. The first paper is going to be under the title ‘The Myth of Digital Transformation’ and it is going to explain in detail the technical problems that face the media industry from a commercial perspective and what impacts they have.”
“The Ray Hanania Show” is broadcast on the US Arab Radio Network on WNZK AM 690 in Detroit and WDMV AM 700 in Washington DC, and live streamed on Facebook.com/ArabNewswhere you can view the entire interview.