Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—Prince Turki Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz, Chairman of the Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG), inaugurated the new Arabic website of the leading Arabic international newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Tuesday as part of an event celebrating the 35th anniversary of the newspaper’s founding.
The celebration was attended by President of the Saudi Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) Abdulrahman Al-Hazza’a, head of the Saudi Journalist Association (SJA) Turki Al-Sudairi, in addition to a number of other well-known political, cultural, and intellectual figures, and witnessed the launching of Asharq Al-Awsat’s new website, which has been developed and restructured using the latest technology.
The new website will integrate online services and digital publishing, and feature social networking, video reporting, and the latest breaking news updated around the clock by a network of reporters based in key capitals across the world.
The event started with a speech delivered by Asharq Al-Awsat Editor-in-Chief Dr. Adel Al-Toraifi who welcomed Prince Turki Bin Salman and expressed his appreciation for the SRMG chairman’s support of the newspaper and its new website. He added that this website will allow Asharq Al-Awsat to keep pace with the technological and professional developments taking place in Arab Media on a local, regional, and international level.
Dr. Toraifi explained that the celebration was to launch the newspaper’s new digital platforms, making note of the quantum leap achieved by Asharq Al-Awsat’s Arabic, English, and Persian editions, in addition to the newspaper’s pursuit of offering additional services in Turkish and Chinese. He added that these achievements come within the framework of Asharq Al-Awsat’s keenness to continually develop its journalistic practices and content to keep pace with the modern world.
This speech was followed by one delivered by Asharq Al-Awsat Managing Editor Eyad Abu Shakra who has been with the newspaper since 1978.
“I spent half of my life with Asharq Al-Awsat,” he said, adding that he worked with a number of the newspaper’s editor-in-chiefs, starting with Othman Al-Omeir to Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed, and Dr. Adel Al-Toraifi.
Abu Shakra affirmed that innovation has always been the watchword of Asharq Al-Awsat, adding that the new website’s design emphasizes the newspaper’s distinctive identity and excellent editorial style, in addition to its investment and benefiting from its own heritage.
Following this, Head of Digital and Online Services, Adwan Al-Ahmari, gave a demonstration of the new website’s most prominent features. He added that the launch of the new website should not be framed as being part of a struggle between print and digital media.
“Rather, we say that Asharq Al-Awsat is a pioneer in being the first Arab newspaper to have published its content online since 1995; namely, one year before Mr. Bill Gates’ well-known saying ‘Content is King.’ Asharq Al-Awsat’s content was, and remains, its strongest weapon, allowing it to produce material compatible with the status of the leading Arab international newspaper,” he said.
“Today, for example, journalist scoops are no longer the most important thing; rather, it is the diverse content on offer by the newspaper that brings readers back time and again,” Al-Ahmari added.