Content remains king regardless of the platform, say heads of local newspapers

DUBAI, 3rd April 2018 (WAM) – Credibility and professionalism are key for Emirati media to negotiate the changes sweeping across the media landscape today, according to panellists speaking at a session titled ‘Emirati Media Trends’ at the 17th edition of the Arab Media Forum (AMF), which commenced today in Dubai.

Held under the patronage of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, AMF 2018 is being held at Madinat Jumeirah from 3-4 April.

Mona Bu Samra, Managing Editor-in-Chief of Al Bayan Newspaper highlighted the patriotism of the local media, saying that it places national interests above anything else.

Sami Al Reyami, Editor-in-Chief of Emarat Al Youm Newspaper, highlighted the importance of correcting confusing terms such as traditional media and social media. He said that new media is the right description, adding that all media outlets have social media platforms and audio-visual broadcast divisions. He stressed on the importance of audience interaction with stories, as the audience determines how successful a story is.

Raed Barqawi, Executive Editor-in-Chief of Al Khaleej Newspaper, said that post-2008, media outlets have become very different. Prior the credit crunch in 2008, media outlets used to be the eye of the government in society, while after 2008, government initiatives led to a change in the way media covered events.

Barqawi said that local media used to refer to western media as a source for their stories, while now things have changed. Now, the local media have relatively easy access to decision makers. He also said that Emirati media have the freedom to write whatever they want.

As local media started to have more freedom to address any issue, media outlets became more responsible in their coverage, according to Mohammed Al-Hammadi, Editor-in-Chief of Al Ittihad Newspaper.

While some think ‘traditional media’ will disappear in the next few years with the rise of new media, Al Reyami said that social media lacks credibility. He also said that ‘traditional media’ are more professional than ‘new media’.

Looking ahead, panellists said that the rise of artificial intelligence is set to impact the media industry. They estimated that 30% of jobs in the media industry will disappear because of the adoption of artificial intelligence technologies. In addition, a key challenge will be finding the right people who can combine new media and traditional media skills. They were also of the common opinion that content will remain king regardless of its type.

The 17th edition of the AMF has brought together more than 3,000 prominent regional and international media figures and thoughts leaders. Apart from high-profile local speakers, the two-day event features 50 speakers representing 20 countries from across the Arab region and the world. Under the theme ‘Impactful Media Trends’, prominent media personalities, writers, influencers and academics are sharing their views on diverse issues at the Forum with the aim of forging a new vision for the media.

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