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UOWD’s Media students play their part in WAN-IFRA Middle East Conference

Sunday, 21 May, 2017

Media and Communications students and alumni from the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) recently attended the 12th World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) Middle East Conference whilst also offering their expertise during the event.

The two-day conference, held at the InterContinental and Crowne Plaza Hotel, Festival City was officially opened by His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Cabinet Member and Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development.

“In the midst of the monumental change affecting the news industry, you are blessed to be responsible for a fundamental and unchanging vocation,” His Excellency told conference participants. “As you create a firm position on the digital landscape and necessarily pay strict attention to your bottom line, you can and must continue to fulfill the central purpose of journalism, that is, to provide citizens with accurate and reliable information they need to function in a free society.”

His Excellency highlighted the National Literacy Project, expressing one of the key challenges of the digital age as separating fact from fiction in the digital age. The National Literacy Project is linked to the Facebook journalism project and aims to create informed editors. In the era of unprecedented tides of information anyone can publish and everyone needs to be an editor, but the world is best served when everyone is an informed editor.

Co-organising the event and thanking His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan for his warm welcome, Majid Al Suwaidi, Managing Director at Dubai Production City, said: “The publishing industries around the world face great challenges. Dubai’s innovation-led business communities, including Dubai Production City, have learned to embrace the digitalisation challenges that lie ahead of our industry. We offer innovators and entrepreneurs a destination that welcomes change and empowers a thriving community through a unique offering of benefits, including world-class infrastructure, access to service providers and proximity to the regions fast growing media sector.”

This year's program is also filled with industry leaders from around the region and the world, such as Mario García, founder, CEO of García Media, and Kevin Beatty, CEO, dmg media, UK, which publishes the Daily Mail, Metro and MailOnline - the world's largest English newspaper website.

For more than a decade, WAN-IFRA’s Middle East Conference has been the annual meeting place for news publishers in the region. It draws publishers, CEOs, managing directors, chief editors and other senior media executives to Dubai to look ahead and benefit from case studies from around the world.

Gaining valuable industry experience, students from UOWD offered their assistance in covering various aspects of the conference. Rita Dababneh covered the videography, Hussein Herzallah covered the photography, Ethar Al Saadi was responsible for the social media updates and Lisa Melli Anderson took care of the news write-ups.

Dr Swapna Koshy who has worked with Wan-IFRA for the past five years said that “it was great to partner with the largest association of newspapers and printers and to listen to the greatest names in the industry about successful innovations and future directions.”