May 04 2012
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Arab News: The beginning of a great newspaper
We were overwhelmed by its success as thousands of people of many nationalities grabbed it with zest and affection as it was the first English language daily in the Kingdom although there had been other English dailies, and good ones in the region notably Kuwait, the UAE and Egypt. Soon enough advertising followed and within a few months some readers suggested we reduce the number of ads although we were dependent on them for revenue to pay for printing, paper, staffing and the rest of services required to bring out a full sized daily in broadsheet size, like the one you are reading now. A couple of years later we started receiving subscription requests from the Gulf and other countries including those in Europe and the United States.
The reason is simple but gratifying for us because many of those who return home remain nostalgic and want to know what is happening in Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam. So they subscribe. At least this was the case until the advent of the Internet when the size of the paper was changed from tabloid to broadsheet and the number of pages increased from 12 to 16, then 20 and at times 24 when advertising justified the expense, presently 28.
The first breakthrough came with our exclusive interview with a head of state, the Shah of Iran Mohammed Reza Pehlavi, now dead and buried in Egypt because no other country including the United States would permit his burial in their soil. The impact was phenomenal for a small newspaper published in an Arab country to persuade the Shah of Iran to talk to its readers.
In the meantime we found it necessary to hire more editors as we needed them to help us enlarge the paper to work in various capacities.
Scores of colleagues came and went back years later.
They were good, well trained and well behaved in a totally different society. Both sides have been supremely satisfied.
© Arab News 2012
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