STRIVING FOR EXCELLENCE

Qatar 2020 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

As the leading English newspaper in Qatar, The Peninsula has undertaken the responsibility to highlight issues that concern both locals and expats.

Khalid bin Mubarak Al-Shafi
BIOGRAPHY

Khalid bin Mubarak Al-Shafi is the Editor in-Chief of The Peninsula newspaper, media consultant at Qatar Media Corporation, and assistant professor at mass media communication department of Qatar University. Before joining The Peninsula, he worked at Qatar's diplomatic mission in Thailand, where he served as deputy head of mission. He also worked at the Ministry of Commerce and Trade as head of the public relation department. He started his career as a journalist at the Qatar News Agency, where he worked as managing editor of the press section. Al-Shafi has published two books and hundreds of articles on the current Gulf crisis.

The Peninsula is one of the leading English newspapers in Qatar. What have been its main areas of focus over the last few years?
Since its inception in 1996, The Peninsula has assumed the responsibility of highlighting the issues of Qatar and its citizens and residents. Our top priority is focus on all sorts of local issues, such as economic, social, cultural, and political, as well as those related to expats. At the global and regional levels, we provide coverage of news and international affairs with dedicated pages for the Gulf, Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. This is to keep Qatar's citizens, residents, and institutions updated on current happenings in other countries. To achieve this, the newspaper has subscribed to several esteemed international news agencies and well-known media organizations.

What are some of the major milestones of your organization?
One of our most significant achievements is our ability to compete with newspapers that were established decades before us. This has enabled us to reach a wide readership in Qatar. We also cover economic and political events taking place outside the country, including conferences and inaugurations of several Qatari investment projects and ventures. The newspaper also has a distinctive website and special publications that provide more space for initiatives and activities carried out by some entities in Qatar, benefiting not only readers but also researchers. Based on all this, in 2017, The Peninsula won the prestigious Middle East Digital Media Award for its website from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). The newspaper has also been able to attract qualified cadres and establish partnerships with institutions in the public and private sectors.

What have been the main reasons behind the success of The Peninsula?
The most important factor behind the success of The Peninsula is its strategy that focuses on local issues without undermining regional and global issues that concern its readers. Good planning and a strong commitment to materialize plans chalked out for short and long terms are also factors behind our successful growth. The Peninsula believes in healthy competition and always strives to be the best in the arena. Other factors behind our success are our creativity and the innovative technologies that we have incorporated.

What has been the impact of new technologies to the operations of your company?
Social media has become part of the global media system and emerged as a strong force. It is different from traditional media because of its ability to transfer news quickly and reach any spot in the world without censorship. But social media is facing a number of problems. No code of ethics regulates its use or operation, making it difficult to distinguish between authentic news and propaganda. Nonetheless, everyone acknowledges the importance of social media. We provide news and media material on our website and various digital news applications and social media platforms.

How will the launch of Media City impact journalism in Qatar?
Media City will attract international media and create a wider space for the Qatari media companies. This will help the local industry exchange experiences and improve their quality. In addition, Media City will provide a sophisticated media infrastructure that will revolutionize communications and media services. It will have a positive impact not only on the press and media in Qatar but on the entire region. One similar example from the past is that of Al-Jazeera.

What are your plans and expectations for 2019-2020?
We will continue to provide the best content and service, and strive for excellence. We will maintain our position as the top English newspaper in Qatar, while striving for renewal and keeping pace with the local and international developments. Without going into details, we will maintain readers' loyalty to our newspaper and expand our reach to every reader in Qatar and beyond, by touching on people's needs and interests.