The year prior to the launch, the head of one of Pakistan’s most important media buying companies would raise his eyebrow and skeptically question whether I and our company should really be investing time and resources in a ‘boring’ newspaper when TV is all the rage. The day we launched and he saw the first copy, he sent me a text message in which this very intelligent man said he was wrong. He is now one of our biggest fans.
One year on I find myself marking the anniversary of The Express Tribune, reflecting upon what has been achieved, what has worked, what clearly has not, and what remains to be done. Anniversaries are also, of course, a great excuse to celebrate. And today, as I allow myself a moment to feel proud, I want to celebrate those that made this day possible.
Many of you began reading because of the paper’s aesthetic appeal but hopefully have come to see that we’re not just skin-deep. Thank you for reading us, for writing to us, for commenting on our pieces, sending us letters, telling us what you think we could do better, but also for appreciating what we are doing right.
Second, our clients. To our clients, advertisers, media buyers and planners: we are grateful for their support today on our one-year anniversary and for believing that print journalism as a medium is alive, kicking and unique in its ability to deliver a durable message.
Third, I want to thank our reporters, editors and designers. We have the most hardworking and talented staff of any newspaper in the country – perhaps even the region. Thank you all for the work you do.
Fourth, our sales and marketing team. Good journalism is simply not possible without a healthy balance sheet. The former is completely dependent on the latter. Without the support of our sales staff we would not be able to afford to invest in producing quality journalism and attract more of our country’s most talented human resources into this calling.
Finally, our technical and production staff: there are many thankless tasks in any business, but in ours, the job of the production staff is perhaps the most unacknowledged. The consistently high quality of our printing and production is due to their genius.
Similarly, the genius of our web development team must be acknowledged: amidst a hodgepodge of ugly and user-abrasive websites, they have created an accessible, interactive website that has played a huge role in showcasing our newspaper to the world and bringing us into the spotlight in a startlingly short time frame.
Besides expressing gratitude (in random order, as they are all integral to the process) to all these key team members and our exceptional distribution, circulation, finance, sales and helpline department and the many others who have helped us, I would also like to take this opportunity to recognise our achievements.
The Express Tribune has broken the mould of the myopic form of inaccessible and self-contained journalism that was prevalent prior to our launch. It was the kind of journalism that would not credit other newspapers, media or their staff, in the belief that conservatism was the highest possible journalistic value.
Our pages are alive with opinion and creativity. We experiment constantly and fervently. We try to tell the same story in different ways, knowing that its relevance remains undiminished and so knowing that we must engage our readers – that this is our job.
We are proud to be the first newspaper in Pakistan to appoint an ombudsman, and in the interest of spreading fair, transparent reporting I hope other newspapers follow us, including our sister paper, the Daily Express.
The result is that now The Express Tribune is among the top three English language newspapers in the country in terms of circulation; online we are neck and neck with a paper that had a 60-year head start.
I hope you enjoy this special supplement. We have tried to showcase our best work (but you will also enjoy the section on our biggest bloopers of the year!). We have invited some of our columnists and many of our staffers to share their experience at The Express Tribune. Some of it is glowing, some of it is difficult reading (for me). But that is as it should be.
Whether you are a home subscriber or whether you read our work online, I hope you find value here and I promise that we will endeavour to improve and strengthen our newspaper in the coming year.
The writer is Publisher, The Express Tribune.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2011.
This article has been revised to make the following correction.
Correction: April 17, 2011
Due to an editing error, an earlier version of the article stated ‘neck and neck’ as ‘neck in neck’. We thank our commenter ‘ali’ for pointing it out.
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