Middlesex University Dubai hosted a panel discussion featuring Mark Rix, CEO of Dubai based 7 Days newspaper, moderated by first year Journalism lecturer Richard Dean. The event, held on 15 February, was attended by first and second year Media and Journalism students. The topic of discussion was the trend of “McJournalism”, a term which refers to the debate that sensationalism and standardisation have replaced quality journalism. Mr. Rix expressed the opinion that 7 Days, which is based on the format of the British Metro, a free daily newspaper distributed at British metro stations, never resorted to “McJournalism” because it was designed to be “read quickly consisting of short articles and snappy headlines”.
7 Days operates on a 50 – 50 ratio of advertising and articles in order for the content to not be compromised as well as to balance the aesthetic appeal. The small team of journalists writing for the newspaper are not restricted to a word limit and the accuracy for speed is not sacrificed, according to Mr. Rix. Their policy and aim is to provide quality content and interest the reader with entertaining stories.
7 Days is expanding through the launch of online news portals in Riyadh, Qatar, and Cairo. As print media is gradually transferring to online platforms, Mr. Rix was in favour of the growing increase of online media and stated that “as long as the audience is engaged, it doesn’t matter through which media”. He argued that 7 Days will not be harmed in terms of readership because its online platform has the advantages of faster distribution, cost effectiveness, and opinions can be more easily obtained. According to Mr. Rix, migrating revenue gained through advertising would be a challenge in transferring news to online media. Online news will become increasingly popular, although print is still the popular choice in the Middle East. The good news is 7 Days will always be free, said Mr. Rix, finally noting, “it has to be convenient for people to consume.”
By Ayesha Islam, first year Journalism Student
Charles Crowell, The National