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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

A Journey into Journalism

by Reem Mahmoud

"I started my career during the early eighties, when journalism was first beginning o develop in the Emirates. I was more enthusiastic and dedicated then, driven by youth and the excitement of a new profession. The social and cultural scene were really taking off too", she recalls

According to Moza, journalism has changed dramatically since then throughout the region. “It’s far more mature and professional – and calmer as well! Whereas Kuwait has traditionally led the field, Emirates journalism is now the best in the Gulf, especially in terms of circulation and specialization. But regardless of regional differences the overall progress of journalism in the Gulf is increasing the level of competition, which is a benefit for journalism itself and the readers as well.”

There is a great deal of variety in journalism but Moza feels that specialization is one of the keys to success. “I believe that a good journalist is the one who specializes, although naturally this doesn’t mean they won’t have general knowledge of other matters. On the contrary, at the beginning of career, a journalist should work in different sections, and later choose the field they prefer, where they can be more profound and productive.”

Moza asserts that journalism can be serious and beguiling at the same time. “This shouldn’t affect the financial status of a publication. Many journals have proved that this can be handled successfully if the right balance of content is achieved.”

Journalism has been described as a troublesome profession but Moza disagrees. “It’s not like that anymore, especially in the UAE”, she says. “Now, with the revolution in communication and the spread of news agencies all around the world, even social journalism is no longer as problematic as it used to be. Today, people are more open to dealing with the media and the press, and the authorities are more varied. It really isn’t a very tiresome job anymore!”

Today’s generation of journalists in the UAE is very different from when Moza started out. “There are many good journalists of both sexes, and there are some that I follow constantly who excel in their profession. On the other hand, there are some journalists who view their profession just as employment.”

Media has also changed dramatically during Moza’s career and she believes that television and written media have distinct missions. “TV generally won’t present in-depth social topics or other time-consuming discussions, while publications are able to study such events in detail and give results and solutions. Nevertheless, the press needs to remain topical as well and present matters without relying solely on news agencies. New staff can often help to keep a contemporary edge.”

Moza naturally has strong views on the stance of feminine journalism. “It should really address women’s concerns, dreams and realities, not just their looks”, thinks Moza. “The share that addresses a woman’s appearance should not outweigh her personality. It’s important to focus on women’s issues, even if the subject has been raised more than once, and that publications tackle social affairs properly, without having to approach problems in a negative way.”

Regarding her own role, Moza explains that she suffered in the beginning from a negative perception of women working in journalism. “Society might have accepted women as doctors or teachers at not as journalists”, she says. “My parents helped a lot and encouraged me to overcome the obstacles, and my mother taught me to relish a challenge and to excel wherever possible. After I got married, my husband’s encouragement and guidance had the greatest effect, as he used to correct my mistakes instead of just flattering me. It’s one of the most important factors for success not to be flattered on our mistakes.” 

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