When Emirates Today (ET) was first published a year ago, I used to enjoy (and even look forward to) reading it. I enjoyed the format: short and straight to the point, more features, and more news written by locally-based reporters, rather than just syndicated columns from American and British papers.
I also used to enjoy the blog bytes column that used to be published every Friday.
Then, something happened around 6 months ago, and now, ET gets on my nerves. The articles have become uninteresting (case in point: this article), the format changed, the business section appears out of nowhere smack in the middle of the newspaper, and they no longer publish blog bytes (kudos to Gulf News for having started to publish blog bytes every Tuesday!). Their website sucked a year ago and it still sucks now.
An article in this month's edition of Communicate (I really enjoy Communicate by the way...you should all read it) sheds some light as to why ET is going down the drain (they don't present it under such a pessimistic light by the way....that's just my take on the future of ET):
"One former Emirates Today editorial staffer says as many as 20 of the initial 45 newsroom employees have quit the paper since its launch one year ago. [...] Launch editor Jason leavy left in April due to a well-publicised clash with management over issues of censorship. Staffers there currently say things are considerably different under his successor, Heyam Abdul Hamid.
A few months after Abdul Hamid took over, a senior journalist inquired as to why a particular story was being canned. "She replied: 'it makes Dubai look bad'" says one person present at the meeting. [...]
Staffers have become complacent, says one current senior employee. "Why work on writing, subbing and designing a page three when you know that it will probably end up spiked? [...]
Claims of self-sensorship relate to a number of stories that received widespread coverage in other publications over the past year, including a piece on a taxi driver strike, the arrest of American rap producer Dallas Austin (despite an Emirates Today reporter allegedly having secured a jailhouse interview with the prisoner) and a story on an Egyptian property developer who left investors in the lurch with a failed property in Dubai Marina."
It makes Dubai look bad??? Are they publishing a tourist guide or a daily newspaper that's supposed to be presenting a balanced view of what's happening in the UAE? How will Dubai ever improve if no one reports about its mediocre side? What credibiliy do they expect to have if they keep writing about "fluffy" subjects, and ignore the ones that could really make a difference in our lives?
What a shame...It really started out as a promising publication...and now, it's promising to be just another boring, uninteresting, unreadable piece of poo poo.