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Celebrating two anniversaries!

The evolution of news media can be experienced when one studies the journey of Oman Daily Observer

What a wonderful week! We have just celebrated the 40th Anniversary of Oman Daily Observer on Monday (November 15) and November 18 the nation is geared up to celebrate the 51st National Day.

The evolution of news media can be experienced when one studies the journey of Oman Daily Observer.

A newspaper that I came across as a school student to the one I practiced on reading for voice test for radio after coming back from university majoring in mass communication, to the one I wrote columns, and now I am a senior journalist for print and online. Little did I know that I would one day be writing for Oman Daily Observer when I first took the paper in my hand.

Waiting for the right break to step into a career, Oman Observer was my window to the world, and I eagerly waited for my uncle to bring the paper home. The smell of ink was strong, and I must admit the classified section was equally important like all other pages.

It has been the newspaper I had relied on for all official events and has been on my list throughout my career to keep up with current affairs and continuously learn more about culture and heritage of the Sultanate of Oman.

All these years there have been excellent editors-in chief, reporters and photographers who have contributed to the successful growth of the newspaper. The group which may not be seen but can be sensed is the team of editors, sub-editors, translators, proof readers and designers and of course the members of the printing team. They complete the picture and without them the newspaper is not complete.

Not everyday is perfect but the important factor is to learn from mistakes and move toward bettering ourselves. A newspaper obviously needs news reports but we have to go beyond it and it is the brainstorming sessions that brings out the ideas for stories.

There is nothing as exciting as finding a good story or if it is a common story then finding an intriguing angle to it. Over the years we have found excellent experts and professionals who have enriched our stories through the interviews. While it had been the electronic media that was my specialisation, joining the Observer team in 2014 meant a complete new experience with the new media. The Observer took on to the new frontier of multimedia without ever looking back and that experience was extremely important when print came to a halt during the lockdown due to the pandemic.

The policy on accuracy is the foundation and when the urge to break news pinches, the responsibility to verify and ensure the facts are in place overrules and this makes the commitment to readers stronger. Speaking to the readers on the anniversary this is what they highlighted as most important - reliability and responsible journalism.

The world of podcasts, videos, info graphics and live coverage is exciting and takes Observer to readers, listeners and viewers across the globe. The social media enables the newspaper to reach the readers with the latest of news so when newspapers could not beat electronic media in immediacy, the social media handles provides the print this ability now.

All of these means are for one cause - the reader.

The reader has evolved too. They are not exactly the readers who want to go through the newspaper during the morning coffee routine. The newspaper is not just competing with the traditional electronic media - radio and television. Instead it has to compete with the social media and digital platforms. The current generation of readers like to stay updated and read news online and that is where we are now - where the readers are.

One of our senior colleagues who is now retired, and who had landed in Oman for the first time on November 6 remembers that day in 1981 when the newspaper made its appearance the first time.

“I fondly remember the first copy that came out of the King Press in Ruwi. It was like the birth of a baby, right in front of us,” he recollects. The baby is now 40 years old and has crossed new frontiers onto the new media.

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