The Business Year

KW23_IT_TimesKuwait_Reaven D’Souza_PORTRAIT

KUWAIT - Health & Education

Reaven D’Souza

Managing Editor, The Times Kuwait

Bio

Reaven D’Souza is the founding Managing Editor of The Times Kuwait. With more than 30 years of experience in journalism, he has exceptional knowledge of the changing developments in the region. Widely traveled, he has attended and covered numerous international seminars and conferences on journalism, investment, peace and security, health, education, tourism, and climate change. He has had the privilege to interview heads of state, ministers, and high-ranking diplomats.

"We started the publication in 1996, obtaining our licenses based on our understanding that there was a market for a weekly news magazine, because while there were daily papers, there were few English-language titles that explored and explained the week’s daily news in more detail."
A widely circulated weekly printed news magazine and daily online news content portal, The Times Kuwait has been able to reach out to the country’s highly diverse English-speaking population language.
What is the story behind The Times Kuwait?

We started the publication in 1996, obtaining our licenses based on our understanding that there was a market for a weekly news magazine, because while there were daily papers, there were few English-language titles that explored and explained the week’s daily news in more detail. In 2012 we embarked upon a rebranding process, as the potential of the Internet and social media became apparent. By then, our magazine was well-known and established. We saw that other English-language publications were not reflecting the totality of local news and often failed to cover different segments of the population. So, we restructured the editorial team to reflect a much more diverse point of view. We had to cater to an audience of over 100 nationalities. Kuwait’s population is highly diverse and as an English-language publication we have the responsibility of reaching them all. That change immediately reflected in our website’s success. By providing daily and weekly news, we were able to address the topics the public cares about on a regular and timely basis. With the increasing incidence of fake news and the pandemic shaking the world, we have been effective in adopting strategies that allow us to sustain reliable and fact-checked content, with our audience, even at the worst of times. As a news portal, we are responsible for providing our readers with useful information that could impact their decision-making.

How can we ensure that the media presents Kuwait in a truthful and beneficial way?

It is important to recognize that the media is never the message, rather the messenger. The moment you become a part of the message; your impartiality ends and you lose credibility. Unfortunately, many media outlets in Kuwait are taking advantage of the people’s curiosity and creating news that is assumptions driven. Instead of reporting the now, they report about the potential future, which is never a surety. Such a process creates unnecessary negativity among the public. We need more positive stories and stories about the here and now. We should focus on what is happening and what it means, and not on what could happen and what that could mean. Kuwaiti media can play a significant role in empowering the changes driven by the government and really enhance the image of the country internationally. On another note, our media needs more fresh and well-prepared journalists. Experience of worldwide travel and qualifications are essential to becoming a great journalist and we should try to emphasize that to our students. We should help them develop their voice and recognize the qualities of a good media person.

How is digital transformation influencing the media, and The Times Kuwait?

Thanks to technology and analytical systems, we are becoming better at understanding our readers. We are more familiar with our readership base and can tell what articles, themes, and news they want to read. Then, a question appears—what is more important? Should we write what the audience wants to read or what is, in our view, important to report on? It is a conflict of interest. That is why digitalization on one hand is practical and useful, while on the other potentially leading to the demise of news outlets. And you can see this around the world already. Based on algorithms, people are being fed the news they are looking for, not the news they should be aware of. As a respected newspaper, we need to strike a balance. Ultimately, I believe that technology can be used for both good and bad, and that it is up to us, the users, to make that choice. However different the message form may be in the future, journalism will never die, as information is the most valuable commodity of the world. We may take some time to change and adopt more appropriate strategies, but the change will come.

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