By DUBAI: K.T. ABDURABB - ARAB NEWS - The role of media, whether in print or on digital platforms, has been increasingly recognized as pivotal to the well-being of every society, said Princess Rym Ali of Jordan while addressing at 7th Middle East WAN-IFRA Conference which opened at JW Marriott hotel in Dubai yesterday.
“Developments in the media business are moving very fast, and I won’t attempt to predict the future” added Princess Rym Ali, a former journalist who founded the Jordan Media Institute.
The conference, which will run through Thursday, discussed various aspects of media and the changes and trends in the newspaper industry.
Both WAN-IFRA President Jacob Mathew, and Princess Rym Ali said newspaper companies are responding rapidly to the continuing growth of digital media.
Mathew said that the key to future success is “to offer our own content across all media streams.”
“Multi-skilling is the word for an exciting publishing future. This will pay off in the long run,” he said.
Today’s journalists are being asked to provide “almost simultaneous copy” for broadcast, mobile and online streams, as well as in print, Mathew said.
The conference opened in the presence of Sheika Intesar Al-Sabah of Kuwait, other dignitaries and nearly 300 participants from four continents. The conference, which is presenting successful strategies from media companies around the world, will run through Thursday and high-level delegates, including SRMG CEO Azzam Al Dakhil, SRPC Director Saleh Al Dowais and Arab News Editor in Chief Abdul Wahab Alfaiz have been participating.
“If a newspaper wants to attract young people through social media, they need to do three things” elaborated Aralynn McMane, executive director of Young Readership Development at WAN-IFRA, "be authentic, be credible and listen more intelligently to young people."
You can’t fake authenticity, she said. “If you fake it, they’ll get it and go away,” she added.
Credibility can be a problem as well. Only 19 percent of respondents in a recent survey of 2,000 Middle Eastern 15- to 24-year-olds said that newspapers are a credible source of information. “You have to build trust,” she added.
Saleh Al-Humaidan, managing director of Al-Yaum Media House in Saudi Arabia; Mohammad Abdullah, managing director, Media Cluster, TECOM Investments, Dubai; Dhaen Shaeen, editor in chief, Al-Bayan newspaper, Dubai; and Christoph Riess, CEO of WAN-IFRA also addressed the gathering.
Major Steadman, digital director for Saatchi & Saatchi in Dubai, examined how social media can be used as a marketing and advertising platform. Maha Abouelenein, Google’s head of Communications for the Middle East and North Africa, spoke on ‘Social media — the silver bullet in media?’
Other speakers included David Butter; Ulrik Haagerup; Abdul Aziz Bin Mulhem, assistant deputy minister in the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information; and Khaled Soliman, group CEO of Galadari Brothers Co. LLC in Dubai.