‘Love to lay my hands on newspaper every morning’

Despite growing influence of social media, millenials see newspapers as more credible

Abdul Hamid Ahmad, Editor-in-Chief, and Mohammed Almezel, Managing Editor, meet with the young guest editors, who were in Gulf News for a day to curate their own front page. Design Editor Syed Mohammad Arshad and Picture Editor K.P. Devadasan were present.


Dubai

Contrary to popular perceptions, traditional media holds an important standing among millennials, with some even prefering printed newspapers over the digital platforms as the primary source of their daily news.

Young guest editors, who were in Gulf News for a day to curate their own front page, said that traditional print media is here to stay and as millennials they would love to see the daily newspapers grow.

“I think social media will be gone at some point in time, it could be in 50 years or 15, but I feel that the newspaper would remain. I don’t know about the outside world, but here in the UAE we still like to read newspapers. Personally, I still pay to have the newspaper delivered at home daily because I feel it is the most important medium of information and it’s the same with my family and friends,” said Noora Rashid Abdul Rahman, dispelling the general perception that millennials prefer the digital sources of news.

Mohammed Almezel, Managing Editor, meet with the young guest editors Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Agreeing with Noora, 27-year-old Emirati architect from Sharjah, Hanan Mohammad Al Maazmi said that there is no denying the importance of newspapers. However, she added, it is equally important to tap into the power of social media and other digital platforms.

 I think social media will be gone at some point in time, it could be in 50 years or 15, but I feel that the newspaper would remain … in the UAE we still like to read newspapers. ”

 – Noora Rashid Abdul Rahman | Architect 

“There is no doubt about the importance of daily newspapers and the role they play in forming our opinions, but with the growing influence of social media and the speed at which it can reach the readers, it is important to adopt to future technologies to spread the news,” said Al Maazmi, who is an engineer with Sharjah Municipality.

 With the growing influence of social media…it is important to adopt and adapt to future technologies to spread the news.”

 – Hanan Al Maazmi | Engineer 

The credibility of newspapers and the spread of fake news on social media are among the key factors that seem to drive the millennials to conventional media over the digital sources.

Dhara Bhatia, a 21-year-old journalism student at American University in Dubai, said that a newspaper is the most reliable source of information, but the traditional media needs to reinvent itself in the way they tell their stories to be relevant for the millennials.

“I think this is where a programme like this which offers young people a chance to give their perspective on the way millennials want to see the news is really important. I know there is a shift towards digital, but there are still young people who would prefer reading the newspaper because we feel it is a credible source of information and I would love to read the newspaper daily,” said Bhatia, a Pakistani.

 A programme like this where young people are getting this chance to offer their perspective on how millenials want to see news presented is really important.”

 – Dhara Bhatia | Journalism student 

Although, getting the news instantly is something that seems to tilt the scale towards social media, but importantly, that’s not the only factor that millennials depend on when deciding what to read where. 

“You get the news faster on the digital platforms, but you can’t easily trust everything as there is so much fake news around. I think that’s why it is important to have newspapers.

It’s important to know what is happening around you instantly, but what is more important is where you get that information from and how credible is the source,” said Sama Tillo, a Syrian business student. 

Alphain Paul, an Indian and the only male in the five-member team of guest editors, said although he prefers reading the news on his mobile though he makes it a point every day to browse through the newspaper. The 22-year-old aerospace engineering student said that newspapers should give more exposure to young people and engage with millennials to make them know how important a role they are playing in society.

“Being in the Gulf News newsroom has been a great experience. There is so much that goes into news production, which people do not know about. People also don’t know to what lengths newspapers go to make sure they are accurate,” said Paul. 

The guest editors were chosen from among young readers of Gulf News as the newspaper strives to understand the perspective of millennials and give them a voice.

Each participant was embedded with a different section of the newspaper and they were given a first-hand experience of how news is produced and the workings of a media organisation works. 


Meet the Guest Editors of Gulf News

Hanan Mohammad Al Maazmi, 27, Emirati
Architect
Hanan works in the Sharjah Municipality as an engineer heading a major civic project. The 27-year-old architect has an MBA. She has authored a book on architecture, which is part of curriculum in Ajman University. She is passionate about encouraging Emirati women in every sphere of life.

Dhara Bhatia, 21, Pakistani
Journalism student at American University in Dubai
Dhara is a Pakistani born expatriate who grew up in Dubai and is currently a senior journalism student at American University in Dubai. Passionate about telling stories, the 21 year old loves everything to do with writing and reporting.

Alphain Paul, 22, Indian
Mechanical Engineer
Alphain is a mechanical engineer and is currently doing his post-graduate diploma in Applied MSc in Aerospace engineering from Emirates Aviation University. The 22 year old Indian expatriate, who grew up in Dubai, is passionate about aviation and airplane engines.

Noora Rashid Abdul Rahman, 21, Emirati
Electronic media student in University of Sharjah
Noora is an Emirati from Abu Dhabi, who is currently in her final year undergraduate programme, and would be soon graduating as an electronic media professional. The 21- year-old is passionate about TV and radio production.

Sama Tillo, 21, Syrian
Business student at Middlesex University in Dubai
A Syrian national, born and raised in Dubai, Sama is an international business student at the Middlesex University Dubai. She is currently in the second year of her undergraduate programme and is really passionate about the business and financial world

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