New beginning: Change on the horizon as Saudi Gazette goes totally digital

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By Shams Ahsan

Saudi Gazette

Jeddah —
In April 1976, Saudi Gazette hit the newsstands as a 10-page business daily. Over the years the newspaper expanded into a comprehensive broadsheet covering all aspects of news. Soon it gained popularity and became a must-read for the large expat community as well as for Saudis.

It has been an eventful journey with changing times and challenging times and as Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”

In its journey spanning over four decades, Saudi Gazette witnessed the coronation of three Saudi Kings, reported from ground zero during the Gulf war, covered the Arab Spring, and gave exhaustive coverage to reforms taking place in the Kingdom spearheaded by dynamic Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense.

It is the month of April again when Saudi Gazette is going to the press one last time.

This is the last hard copy of your favorite newspaper.

No, this is not a requiem for Saudi Gazette. We are not saying Adieu.

We are greeting you with “Hello tomorrow!”

This, in fact, is a new dawn for the newspaper.

Change is the law of nature. Those who do not keep pace with change lag behind.

The newspaper industry has also undergone a sea change in recent years. News no longer breaks on the pages of newspapers.

The reading habits of readers have also changed. They scan headlines on the go and read what interests them at the time and place of their convenience.

While journalism will not die, print is definitely in its death throes. Many big banner newspapers have ceased publication.

In the US more than 500 local newspapers closed between 2004 and 2019. In the UK, some 245 newspapers have ceased publication since 2005. In Canada some 27 dailies have stopped printing.

These include big names like The Independent, The News of the World to name a few.

So in keeping with the times, Saudi Gazette too is going totally digital. This will give us a better and faster platform to keep you abreast of the developments taking place around you and around the world.

We are no longer restricted by column length and width. Now the canvas is wide open.

As we focus on digital dissemination of news, we assure you of exclusive quality content.

As we embark on a new journey, some of our colleagues share their experience of working with Saudi Gazette:

Executive Editor L. Ramnarayan Iyer called this day a ‘sad day’ but hoped that Saudi Gazette would continue to provide readers with their choice of news through their digital platform. “In my near seven years association with the brand, I’ve been lucky to witness it grow as a thriving title, made new friends and provided the news what the readers sought after. It is indeed a sad day to witness the last print edition.”

S. Athar H. Rizvi: “I owe a lot to Saudi Gazette. My time here helped me hone my journalistic skills and capabilities. Editing and rewriting local stories translated from Arabic taught me the art of tightening a copy and at times elaborating when required.

“In op-ed write-ups, reports on socio-political local events, book reviews and interviews with noted personalities, Saudi Gazette provided me space to express my views upholding the principles of truth and moderation.

“I have spent over 26 years at Saudi Gazette, and I thank my senior colleagues for their expert and timely guidance and all my colleagues who never tried to test their ego in the teamwork that a daily newspaper needs.”

K.O. Paulson, “It has been a very challenging and competitive experience with Saudi Gazette that I really enjoyed. I am so happy and proud in helping Saudi Gazette to promote sports among Saudis and expatriates. Love to cherish this wonderful stage in my life.”

D. G. Danchik: “Over the years, it has been a long and often exciting ride at Saudi Gazette – meeting editorial deadlines, dealing with breaking news.

“The 2009 Jeddah flood was a particularly demanding time as staff balanced the gathering of news and the reporting of the damage and aftermath of the floods with concern about their own families and property.

“Throughout the years and the ups and downs of the news industry, the most impressive thing for me has always been the professionalism and teamwork of the Saudi Gazette staff.”

“However, the ride and the excitement are not over as we now concentrate our energy on the newspaper’s digital platform.”

Ibrahim Kodi, “I started my journalist career in Saudi Gazette more than 35 years ago. As an English language daily, I can say with firmness, Saudi Gazette had been second to none in the region. In my 23-year journey with the newspaper in two separate stints, I had the privilege to work with many seasoned Saudi and foreign journalists.”

Khalid Aftab: “My time at Saudi Gazette has been short but sweet. It is said that life is a never-ending learning process, and I have learned a lot during my three-year stay in the organization not only with regard to work but quite beyond that as a human being. I will always cherish the bittersweet memories during my association with the newspaper.”

Querubin Minas, “I may be judged as a lone wolf, if not a contrarian, but having been given a privilege to work for almost half of my life in Saudi Gazette, churning business surveys and analyzing economic data for the business section was always a cerebral exercise which kept me awake and worked under pressure to meet the deadline. Admittedly, there were ups and downs, yet it survived the tests of times.”

Abdul Rahman M. Baig , “It’s a sad day for me that Saudi Gazette is stopping its print edition. I have served the newspaper for over seven years where I have learnt several things and made many new friends too.”


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