Over the past 15 years, gulfnews.com has gone through constant transformation
and identity changes. The Gulf News online edition was one of the first
newspapers in the Middle East to go online. It started as a basic text-driven and
staff-only content website, with a single home page picture, covering Emirates,
Gulf, World, Business, Sports and Opinion sections of the newspaper. Here is a
look back at how it evolved:
July 29, 1996: It all started one fine afternoon in July, when my boss, then Administrative Editor Nicholas Coates told me to attend a seminar to receive training on how to access internet. Although I had already read about it few months before, I only came to witness the actual internet pages a week before our training, when our engineers installed two personal computers exclusively for accessing web in the newsroom.
September 1, 1996: A historic day for Gulf News as it became one of the first newspapers in the Middle East to go online. www.gulfnews.com launched just two months after Hotmail (www.hotmail.com) started providing free emails to everyone; barely a year after etisalat began hosting internet service in the UAE, three years from the release of Hyper Text Markup Language (html) and five years since Tim Berners-Lee invented the web software. A new era of journalism began at Gulf News. The new website was very basic to start with, but even then it was considered advanced given the technology available.
September 1, 1997: A redesigned gulfnews.com was launched. The site now had more pictures and an expanded navigation menu allowing promotion of stories from different sections. The coverage was more extensive, noticeably with the introduction of a ‘Previous Editions’ search facility. The site also included shipping log, forex, gold and silver prices in the Gulf, weather and UAE Diary that included prayer times, UAE late night pharmacies and cinema guides.
May 1999: The website adopted a new design for the online edition to keep up with the fast growing internet technologies. This time it was done in-house. The site employed a dropdown menu design, using Java Script and colourful navigation buttons. Additional contents such as a photo feature section from the thenpublished U magazine, astrology columns, recipes, view points columns and letters. This was the first time that the phrase Gulf News Online was used. However, due to limited access to Java Script, gulfnews.com went back to basics in July 1999, removing the menus.
October 2000: A major redesigned and comprehensive site was launched. This featured a search facility for the first time, giving online readers a chance to look for previous stories. The ASP pages were also dynamic and interactive.
March 2004: The site underwent another design change to resemble the colour scheme and to closely mirror the print edition.
June 2004: A stronger web section headed by an Online Manager was created to further develop online publication of Al Nisr Group products. This marked the evolution of gulfnews.com into a fullfledged news website. Since then coverage has expanded to include updates throughout the day, breaking news, live updates on major events in the UAE and around the world, multimedia products such as interactive infographics, audio and video, interaction with community by allowing readers comments article and publication of reader’s pictures.
2008: gulfnews.com added another dimension to its already expansive coverage with the launch of GNTV, a dedicated video news team covering life in the UAE and beyond.
October 2009: The site underwent its most significant transformation yet, moving from a basic website into an online news portal, with a clean new design and more in-depth multimedia coverage. Since then, we have broadened our reach, bringing you up to the minute news and features using social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, mobile phone applications, newsletters, blogs and more.
Present: Today, gulfnews. com has become a reliable source of latest news for both local and international coverage not only for the people in the UAE but also across the region and around the globe.