Dubai: “January 14, 1986. This was the day when I entered into a key relationship of my life, joining the Gulf News clan,” said Naheed Patel, Promotions Manager, Gulf News.
“It was an instant connect and a bond was cemented. This has endured through the successes, innovations, ups and downs of the last 34 years. For me, Gulf News is sacrosanct and will remain so. I have a huge cache of memories related to Gulf News - happy, sad and fun,” she said ahead of the 42nd anniversary of Gulf News.
Needless to say in the last 34 years, Patel has grown from strength to strength, working hard at what she loves doing most. She works behind the scenes putting together the events and competitions related to the Gulf News brand, particularly the Fun Drive.
Patel has a passion for what she does.
The annual Fun Drive, which takes a convoy of participants through the desert, is her favourite event. “It gets the adrenalin going. In the beginning we had 75 cars and in the 1990s, we had 750.”
The night Gulf News launched the Berliner on June 1 2012, the memories from the day are still etched in Patel’s memory. “It was 1 am and a few of us were looking up at the carousel to see the paper coming out of the press. I have the first copy, signed for me, and this is well preserved for posterity.”
It was an instant connect and a bond was cemented. This has endured through the successes, innovations, ups and downs of the last 42 years. For me, Gulf News is sacrosanct and will remain so.
She said another special time in her Gulf News tenure was the first Fun Drive overnight camp. “Standing on a dune and see it sparkling in the middle of the desert, soaking in on the aromas of the barbecues, listening to band belting out loud music – everything was so special. That day we created something unique and unparalleled.
“I joined in the pre-computer era. I was totally attached to my electric typewriter and resisted the Personal Computer (PC) before it became the standard operating device. So, when I was on leave, my typewriter was hidden away and in its place was an unfriendly, unyielding computer. I was convinced it didn’t work and wasted time trying to get my typewriter back. Of course, the IT Manager was determined to get me computerised and stood over my shoulder to see what was going wrong. My ignorance again – I was not pressing the ‘Enter’ key! So, I had to accept the computer and over the years, we have remained friends, from time to time. All this happened in my favourite place – the office of Gulf News.”
First job - and still continuing
For KC Nissar, Director – HR, Gulf News is his first and last job.
Nissar joined Gulf News on May 9, 1979, just seven months after this publication began operations in theUAE. “I came on a visit visa to the emirates in February. In May I was hired by Gulf News. This happened to be my first job, where I still continue to work.”
“Gulf News has made me who I am. What I am today is because of Gulf News.”
He said the top management of the company is inspirational. There are great leaders. “They have immense trust and faith in their staff and this is such a great motivating factor for everyone. Needless to say, this is how we do business in Gulf News. We trust our co-workers and work with them in tandem and in all good faith. We work as a team together.”
I came on a visit visa to the emirates in February. In May I was hired by Gulf News. This happened to be my first job, where I still continue to work.
There are plenty of memories along the way, he added.
Moving our office premises from the Airport Road to Sheikh Zayed Road was a big chapter and milestone for GN. “The building where our office previously existed is not there anymore. ”
Nissar added: “Everyday I am thankful to be part of an organisation that has made me who I am. I look forward to more good times at Gulf News as this publication is unparalleled.”
For Abdul Kareem, Head of Archives, it's a blessed feeling to be at Gulf News
Abdul Kareem joined November 18, 1978, just 48 days after Gulf News started. He joined as an editorial coordinator, then moved to the position of a telephone operator. Today he is Head of Archives at Gulf News.
Kareem was just 18 years and came to UAE with a dream to help his family back in India. “Thanks to a wonderful organisation like Gulf News, my dream has been fulfilled.”
Kareem recalled his first interview for a job at Gulf News. “I was being asked questions in Hindi and I was replying in English. Next day I was told I had the job. The rest is history as they say.”
I was being asked questions in Hindi and I was replying in English. Next day I was told I had the job. The rest is history as they say.
Kareem recalled how Gulf News was launched as afternoon newspaper in the Tabloid format in 1978. “It was founded by Abdullah Abul Houl. The management was changed under new owner of Abdul Wahab Galadari in 1980. The newspaper circulation was 3,000 copies only, we had very tough time till 1984. The growth started after the relaunch in 1985 under new management,” said Kareem.
He also reminisced how Gulf News was the point of reference for news in the UAE and world. “For example, in the radio channel if they started playing the Quran or, people knew some royal had died. Immediately the telephone lines would start buzzing. Same with cricket matches. Our lines would be buzzing all the time. To the extent the phones lines would be jammed and we had to call Etisalat to fix it for us.”
He said much of this had to do with the fact that social media was not in the picture for news back in the days. “We were the prime source of news to the public and UAE residents.”
He recalled how back in the days on special occasions like Ronald Reagan’s Presidential win or Margaret Thatcher’s election win, we would bring out special pull outs and distribute them at signals.
“My personal growth too has been tremendous. I feel blessed and lucky to be part of such an organisation.”