By Mario Garcia
The Gulf News, published in Dubai, will convert to the Berliner format on June 1. We help with the preparations for what will make the Gulf News the first newspaper in the Berliner format in the Gulf region.
Front pages from the various UAE daily newsappers: Gulf News, The National, Kaleej Times, Sport 360, Al Bayan, Al Ittihad
I am reporting this week from Dubai, and what excitement is there in the Gulf News newsroom as the date approaches for its conversion to the Berliner format. This week I join Miguel Gomez, Gulf News design director, as we put finishing touches on the many details involved when converting from broadsheet to Berliner.
When the Gulf News makes that move, on June 1, it will become the first newspaper printed in a Berliner format in the Middle East.
Geographically speaking, I cannot imagine a spot in the world with the same degree of media effervescence and energy as what is happening in the Gulf region. I first visited the area almost 10 years ago, for a first major redesign of the Gulf News. I have remained on retainer here ever since, visiting every three months and watching closely the evolution not just of the Gulf News, but of other titles in the region.
In the United Arab Emirates, printed newspapers thrive, and because the competition is aggressive, the positive result—-and a win win situation for readers and advertisers—is that titles are constantly changing and evolving.
When I look at the sampling of newspapers at my breakfast table here, I see award winning design coming from The National, The Kaleej Times, the Gulf News, and from the Arab-language titles, Al Ittihad, Al Bayan, as well as from the new sports daily, 360. It wasn’t always this way here. Visual journalism here has taken off at the same speed as the highrise buildings that make Dubai and Abu Dhabi cities of the future.
Recent page from the Gulf News showing the many awards the newspaper has received this year
For the Gulf News, the title with which I consult here, the constant quest for quality has paid off handsomely, as demonstrated by recent figures from the Arab Media Outlook which show that the Gulf News is the most read newspaper in the UAE, with the highest number of paid subscribers.
This is no small accomplishment in an age in which media face tremendous competition, not just from other media, but by such factors as lack of time, which figure prominently in the audience’s decision when asked about their media consumption.
“We are very proud of our standing among UAE readers,” says Abdul Hamid Ahmad, editor in chief of the Gulf News. “In a highly competitive market, we remain number one not just among English language dailies, but among all newspapers. That requires hard work and dedication.”
Less than 10 years ago, when I first visited the Gulf News newsroom, there was no design department, no art director, and no concept of visual storytelling. Today, under the leadership of Miguel Gomez, all that is design, infographics and visual presentation are paramount, fully integrated into the daily editorial planning across platforms, and relevant to everything that is done here.
This recent page (shown above) published in the Gulf News showed the many accolades received from worldwide organizations.
With the change to the Berliner format will come many opportunities for better use of photographs, graphics and illustrations.
The Gulf News continues to evolve. We will keep you updated here on the day of the launch. Stay tuned.
And if you happen to visit Dubai in the next few months, give yourself a treat and sample all the wonderful dailies published here.