Students and academics from the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) Master of Media and Communications program have heard from media experts at the 9th annual World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers ME conference (WAN-IFRA) 2014.
Sponsored by HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Media Incorporated, UOWD were invited to the event for the fourth time this year. The conference brought together media personnel and publishers to discuss the latest regional issues and trends in the sector.
This year’s keynote address was delivered by Princess Rym Ali, founder of the Jordan Media Institute. Commenting on the attribution of the Arab Spring to social media, Princess Rym said that several revolutions in human history had been successfully orchestrated without social media, noting that without the relay of traditional media, the ‘facebook’ revolution would not have reached the masses.
Stressing that ‘there can be no proper reform without media reform’ she went on to say that the big achievement of the Arab uprising is freedom of media, though there is still a long way to go. She also highlighted the need for non-Western media training in the region.
Patrick Daniel, Editor in Chief of Singapore Press Holding (SPH), went on to share the success story of his group. Through strategy and diversification, the group continues to succeed despite the growing concerns that print media is dying. He cited digital ad revenue, which is now exceeding that of print, and subscription income, as important factors in the group’s ongoing success.
Dr Swapna Koshy, Associate Professor at UOWD, who attended the event said, “This conference is a great opportunity for students to network with industry practitioners. News is definitely not a dying business. The future of media, whether print, digital or visual is very robust and we have been inspired by the speakers, particularly Princess Rym’s comment that ‘culture not technology should be at the heart of media teaching’. This will be a guiding theme for the media faculty at UOWD.”