A Saudi female beginner driver intimation with cars

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Layan Damanhouri (right), and Nawal Aljabr, another Saudi female journalist from Riyadh newspaper during a test-drive event for 2018 Ford F-150

Saudi Gazette

DUBAI – Since women have been allowed to drive for the first time in Saudi Arabia, it’s been a transition period for society as a whole.

It’s a unique situation for a country where a significant number of beginner drivers will hit the streets at once but also a changing time for the nation as women gain newfound independence in their lives.

I’ve often been asked about working as a female journalist in Saudi Arabia and whether I face any challenges. While I’ve found myself to be equal to my male counterparts in the field, the major obstacle that comes to mind is transportation. As a reporter, I tend to move around a lot and go to different places in the city and meet with different people. Just as this ban affected many people, especially working women, it was equally challenging for me.

A life with no worry of transportation will not only be a relief but also empower women within society.

Throughout my career, I’ve explored different beats except for one that seemed unfamiliar territory: automotive journalism.

It’s a male dominated field where it’s facing a pivotal point during this time. For the first time, cars now have the attention of the female audience.

I had always been interested in cars but found a limited amount of helpful information for a beginner entering the world of cars.

I was thrilled to explore this new world guided by a team of engineers, journalists and photographers during an introductory workshop organized by Ford.

At the Dubai headquarters of Ford Middle East and Africa, I joined Nawal Aljabr, a Saudi female journalist from Riyadh newspaper, and together learned the ABC’s of cars from experienced journalists in the region.

As the first Saudi automotive journalists, we received a warm welcome by the communications team. We received an overview about storytelling, copywriting, media coverages, photography and an introduction to motor parts and engines by the product development and engineering teams, and Ford’s storytelling team at the Content Factory.

As beginner drivers, we test drove the newest 2018 Ford F-150 trucking the outskirts of the city and did a photography session accompanied with the communications team.

I found it interesting to learn how creative directors present a vehicle by accentuating its features and qualities by taking into consideration the background, colors, and putting forth a story.

Afterwards in the office, we reviewed a series of photos and analyzed elements that distinguished car photos and ads.

I was enthusiastic to see in the coming period what stories to be told to the Saudi female reader who is interested in the motor industry.

As a reporter, I’m used to communicating with people and conducting interviews. Automotive journalism has a different take where it requires to get to know a still object. Each car has a unique personality. However, it’s getting to know a car that makes it come to life.


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