Some will be surprised when they look at the print edition of their Khaleej Times today with their first cup of coffee.
Khaleej Times, with its rich 43-year history, engages in a year-long transformation to make your reading experience easier and more engaging.
You have trusted this newspaper to bring you the news with credibility and efficiency. History alone does not sustain an institution, but it fosters it, reinforces it, and, in the case of a newspaper, it gives it stability, authority and credibility.
Khaleej Times in your hands today reinforces that tradition of authenticity and credibility, while introducing new journalistic strategies that adapt to the digital era of communications.
I am honoured to be involved with this transformation, not only as a consultant to help the team achieve its vision of becoming multiplatform media house, but also as a teacher training the team to approach stories aware of the platform in which such content will be consumed.
This transformation for Khaleej Times comes at an interesting and challenging time, not only because of the Covid-19 pandemic that assails the globe, but also because it is an unparalleled moment in our appetite for news in a 24/7 cycle where information flows constantly.
Only those media outlets that accommodate that cycle can serve their audiences well. Khaleej Times rises to the challenge with this transformation.
So much has happened in the past 10 years to change the way we consume information. We live in a multimedia world. The days of a person reading the newspaper in the morning and then not getting any more news until the next day are finished.
Today, the average person is bombarded by news and information 24/7. On average, we turn to our mobile phone 114 times a day. Seven out of every 10 digital minutes are spent on mobile. Nine out of every 10 mobile minutes are spent in an app, according to researcher David Murphy (Mobile Trends).
In 2021, in the US, average time spent on mobile devices daily is 3 hours 54 minutes, while time spent watching TV is 3 hours 22 minutes. (www.emarketer.com). The numbers may be similar in the UAE. We lean forward to read those headlines, and often lean back to read the stories beyond the headlines.
In a multiplatform world, we consume information on a variety of platforms. An average news consumer may journey through three of those platforms in the course of a day, perhaps starting a story in the print edition of the newspaper, only to continue reading on the phone but finishing at the larger screen of a desktop computer. It is in the midst of this amazing revolution in the way we consume news that Khaleej Times has undertaken this ultimate transformation.
Key centrepieces of our work, which we certainly hope you will notice, include:
1. The brand: You will see that we have created and incorporated a crest that will help identify content from Khaleej Times across platforms, and, particularly, in social media.
2. Multiplatform approach: The new Khaleej Times offers information when you want it, how you want it.
The editorial team is aware that one size does not fit all, so how stories are presented in print editions should not be the same as how they are presented for mobile consumption.
3. Khaleej Times, the newspaper of the future: When we read on our mobile devices, we engage in what I refer to in my book, The Story, as the journalism of interruptions. Phones ring. They lead us to emails and social media messages. Stories must be told with narratives and visuals. You will see those type of stories making your journey through mobile presentations more pleasant.
4. Easier to navigate content: Whether you are reading the digital or print editions of Khaleej Times, you will find that this transformation puts emphasis on the concept of making the content easy to find. We value your time with our news brand. We want to make it easier for you to navigate from section to section, regardless of platform.
5. The special characteristics of print: There is a glorious place for print in this multiplatform world. You will see the care and attention to detail that has gone in our rethink of the print edition of Khaleej Times.
You will also see larger photos and graphics, more modular layout that allows for stories to be more visually appealing and easier to consume. Inside pages are better organised in modules to facilitate how the eye travels from one story to the next. We also emphasise a sense of hierarchy across each page. When your eyes land on the page, it should be obvious what stories are more important.
6. Visuals at a glance: Through a system of “social cards”, you will be able to see highlights of stories — the best quotes, the story in numbers, the centrepieces of more complicated stories.
7. Content through the platforms: The editorial team of the Khaleej Times takes into account that you are a multiplatform news consumer. Editors will lead you to digital content you should not miss. Perhaps there is a story you are reading in print that has a robust video component, or maybe you would like to know how a certain topic is trending in social media.
A treat lies in store for all of you readers starting today. If you are a habitual reader, you will recognise a richer version of the newspaper that you wake up to each day; if you are new to Khaleej Times, you will benefit from what happens when a news title with a distinguished history of journalistic greatness in the UAE aims to be coming more essential in the lives of its readers.
Happy celebration of your 50th as a nation! Cheers to a new Khaleej Times, hoping you like what you see and will continue to make it your essential daily read.
Dr Garcia is CEO of Garcia Media. He is also adjunct professor of journalism at Columbia University’s School for Journalism, where he is Senior Adviser for News Design. Dr Garcia has been a consultant to over 700 media organizations in 120 countries. His latest book is The Story, all about mobile storytelling
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