Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum
Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum in the presence of Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum watch the first issue of Gulf News roll off the press on September 30, 1978. Tim Edger, Editor, is also seen. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Forty one years ago, on September 30, a new English language newspaper was born in the UAE.

Gulf News was initially launched in a tabloid format and began with a modest circulation. But on December 10, 1985, it was relaunched under a new ownership, marking a new beginning for the paper that went on to achieve phenomenal success and create benchmarks in quality journalism.

On Monday, Gulf News turns 41.

It’s been a long and eventful journey from the world of vintage keyboards, wispy paper stocks and letterpress metal type, to the age of digital production, Instagram videos and Facebook live.

But as we mature in age, Gulf News remains committed to the same curiosity, innovation and concern for our readers that distinguished our journalism in our infancy and helped establish our reputation as a media leader in the region and beyond.

Forty-one years is a long time in journalism. In those years, the world has changed dramatically, and so has the UAE. And you — dear reader — have also changed. The way you consume news has evolved.

That’s why Gulf News has constantly evolved. In the past four decades, Gulf News has grown along with the UAE to chronicle the country’s unparalleled success story of growth and development, becoming a media brand synonymous with credibility, innovation, reader affinity and market trust.

And we have grown and evolved with you — adopting swiftly to new standards and technologies of journalism, whether it’s embracing a digital-first culture, or reinforcing our commitment to verify breaking news in a world of deep fakes.

We were there when the first Emirates flight soared into the skies in 1985. And we are here today, as the nation celebrates Hazzaa Al Mansoori’s historic achievement as the first UAE astronaut. Between then and now, as we mark our 41st anniversary tomorrow, we share with you today glimpses of this long journey — a journey distinguished by many milestones and achievements.

Milestones from four decades

September 30, 1978: Gulf News launches as a midday newspaper and is inaugurated by Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Vice-President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The newspaper is published in tabloid format six days a week.

January 1, 1980: The format of Gulf News changes from tabloid to morning broadsheet, seven days a week. A weekly lifestyle magazine called Al Juma’a is launched.

December 10, 1985: Gulf News relaunches under new management, with three leading UAE businessmen acquiring the company and forming Al Nisr Publishing. The new directors were Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Managing Director, Juma Al Majid, Director and Abdullah Al Rostamani, Director. A colour leisure section with classified advertisements, called Tabloid, is launched.

January 31, 1985: Gulf News becomes the first newspaper to print colour in broadsheet format.

November 7, 1986: Al Juma’a magazine is replaced with Gulf Weekly. Gulf News begins distributing to other Gulf countries and becomes the first in region to use recycled newsprint.

1989: Gulf News receives the Asia-Pacific Award for Best Newspaper Production.

March 28, 1986: Gulf News Fun Drive is launched — an enduring desert adventure that remains a highlight of off-roaders in the UAE and beyond to this day.

September 1, 1996: Gulf News launches its online edition.

May 16, 1997: Gulf Weekly magazine is replaced by Friday magazine.

April 8, 2000: Gulf News moves to its new head office on Shaikh Zayed Road, housing the most advanced printing press in the Middle East.

June 21, 2003: A redesigned Gulf News with a bold colour palette and new storytelling formats is launched. It is designed by Garcia Media, one of the world’s leading newspaper design houses.

March 2006: Gulf News wins an Award of Excellence from the Society of News Design, the first for a Middle East publication.

September 30, 2008: Gulf News celebrates its 30th anniversary by providing free jute bags to its subscribers as part of its Go-Green Initiative.

June 1, 2012: Gulf News becomes the first Berliner format newspaper in the Middle East and first in the world to print its front page in glossy paper.

October 15, 2012: Gulf News launches a breaking news SMS service — the first by an English language newspaper in the country.

March 15, 2017: Gulf News launches a new concept in sponsored content: Reach by Gulf News.

November 9, 2018: relaunches with a bold new look as a responsive site — both on mobile and desktop, with a separate app.

The first edition

The first edition
Image Credit: Gulf News

SEPTEMBER 30, 1978: Gulf News launches as a midday newspaper and is inaugurated by Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Vice-President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The newspaper is published in tabloid format, and the paper rolls out of press at 11am six days a week.

A bold new design

A bold new design
Image Credit: Gulf News

Gulf News launches a brand-new design and a new era of storytelling for the newspaper, carried out with the help of Garcia Media — one of the world’s leading newspaper design houses. Some things remain the same, however: objective and credible reporting, thoughtful analysis and the tradition of serving our readers first.

Pioneer in new format

Pioneer in new format
Image Credit: Gulf News

JUNE 1, 2012: Gulf News continues its tradition of leadership in print innovation, relaunching the newspaper in its current “Berliner” size — a new global standard that is more compact and easier to handle. 
It becomes the first to introduce the format in the Arab world. Berliner is more visually attractive to enhance your reading experience.

Memorable pages from history

Leading change in digital domain
Image Credit: Gulf News

Gulf News was one of the first media companies in the Middle East to go online in 1996. It was also among the first to see the dawn of the digital age more than a decade ago, by adopting a culture of web-first. And last November, 
we launched a new your one-stop portal with a renewed focus on story-telling, instant analysis and explainer videos. With a bold look and a responsive site, we continue to drive change in digital journalism.

Did you know? The 7 firsts of Gulf News 

Image Credit: Gulf News

As a pioneer of editorial coverage, printing and production technology and reader outreach, the past four decades have been a whirlwind journey for Gulf News. From among our many ground-breaking initiatives, here is a small selection:

1) The first with a Tabloid leisure section and a weekly family magazine

2) The first with separate pages of “news from home” for various expat nationalities.

3) The first with a comprehensive business and sport section.

4) The first with heat-set colour printing with glazed paper, from 1986.

5) The first to use recycled newsprint.

6) The first with separate Property and Freehold Classifieds sections.

7) The first Berliner format newspaper in the region.