Note from the publisher

Published: April 12, 2012

The newspaper’s online presence has been, what I consider, our greatest edge.

Over the past year our newspaper has come of age. Many wonderful individuals have come and gone, leaving their mark on the pages and on the way we see ourselves. In the process, The Express Tribune, as an institution, has become stronger. Although sometimes one is nostalgic for the initial idealism which often burst onto the pages in eccentric and interesting ways, on the whole the changes have been good for the paper and the quality of journalism has consistently improved.

Thanks in part to the steep learning curve and inevitable growing pains, we have also moved beyond being seen as a paper only for the young and we now attract a more broad-ranging readership in terms of age and demography.  The paper has arrived, carved out its niche, and has now begun to sink ever-deeper roots. I’m proud to say that we have done this without losing sight of our original ethos and principles.

People often ask me – and I ask people in turn – what explains the success of the paper? More often than not, the answer I receive (and now give), is our presence on the internet and on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. People say we have a good-looking and easy to navigate website, that we are ‘all over Facebook’ and that our Twitter presence is very active. Although the internet poses fundamental issues, especially to the business of our business (the print industry itself), the newspaper’s online presence has been, what I consider, our greatest edge.

Last year, I claimed that our online circulation or ‘traffic’ was neck to neck with the country’s most widely-circulated and oldest print newspaper. Today, I claim with increasing confidence that we are now the most read Pakistani English newspaper. An article that gets printed will have more readers – and ultimately more impact – if it is published in our paper versus any other.

Initially almost our entire online readership was from within Pakistan, but today only 44% are from within the country, a fact that I find astonishing.  25% of our total online readers now hail from the UK or the United States and the rest are from just about every country in the world that has internet access.

Although we always understood the importance of the internet, what I personally underestimated was the virtuous cycle of network and social effects this would lead to. As more people read us and share us, other people also feel compelled to read and follow if only to be abreast of the conversation taking place. It’s a snowball effect.

Which brings me back to the theme I started with: coming of age. As we have accrued more readers across the world, and as increasing attention is directed at us, maturity becomes paramount. We have grown quickly from a new newspaper into one that is seen as leading the pack. And as a leader we are now held up to a higher standard of responsibility. As expectations grow higher, the need for us to live up to those expectations also becomes greater, and so does the need to move forward in a more methodical way.

This does not mean that we won’t push the boundaries, or that the journalism we produce needs to be any less bold or dynamic. Far from it. But it does mean that we have a responsible and attendant understanding that now, more than ever, what we print and publish matters. Almost any piece published in The Express Tribune today will surely offend someone out there. It will have its supporters and detractors. But what is guaranteed is that it will have a reaction, and often a visceral one. And as we think about the coming year and how our journalism can play a role in helping our country progress, this is important to note and consider.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2012.

Reader Comments (17)

  • che
    Apr 12, 2012 - 11:54AM

    its true that ET has left far behind the other newspapers in terms of content quality and look…hats off and keep up the good work.

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  • Bilal Mughal
    Apr 12, 2012 - 12:04PM

    controversies make best brands in the world.

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  • Raza Abbas
    Apr 12, 2012 - 12:10PM

    Great work indeed. Trbune has overtaken Dawn by a storm in just a short period of 2 years. Social Media no doubt has played a pivotal role in it’s success. Moreover, the wide variety of contributers from all walks of life having diverse opinions, have truly helped in making Tribune an all time favorite. Kudos to you and your team!

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  • Uzair
    Apr 12, 2012 - 12:52PM

    Job well done to the ET team. Its a breath of fresh air in the xenophobic misogynistic and usually crass propaganda that passes as journalism in the mainstream press, Dawn being an honorable exception. As a Pakistani expat ET is my main news source now, but I continue to have respect for Dawn. ET is edgy and daring, and I love it for that, and Dawn has retained a respectability and impartiality I find refreshing when compared to the other big media house. Both have an excellent set of contributors, and ET you had a major coup with Kamran Shafi, now you just need to get Nadeem Farooq Paracha to also write for you (but I want him to stay at Dawn also, he should get maximum readership).

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  • Apr 12, 2012 - 1:42PM

    Your are right, Mr Bilal Lakhani. Undoubtedly The Express Tribune has an active presence in the cyber-world. It is therefore I regularly quote this newspaper in my blog on Asian Correspondent regularly.

    But I failed to get which media you are afraid of when you say “I claimed that our online circulation or ‘traffic’ was neck to neck with the country’s most widely-circulated and oldest print newspaper.”

    I personally think this concealment of information is not suitable on part of media giant like Express. Anyhow, hats-off for introducing an interesting website for The Express Tribune.

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  • Mard-e-Haq
    Apr 12, 2012 - 1:49PM

    Well done ET. I consider this one of the best newspapers anywhere in the world. Do publish more feature pieces as there are also many worthy things to report on Pakistan.

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  • Apr 12, 2012 - 1:50PM

    The Tribune has, indeed, emerged as a leader in Pakistani online media. Its pace is quite terrific as far as changing media landscape of the country is concerned. Keep going!!!!!!

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  • Jenai dau
    Apr 12, 2012 - 2:09PM

    Iam addicted to ET.

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  • Democrat
    Apr 12, 2012 - 2:46PM

    congratulations for being the first nationwide tabloid in pakistan… :)

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  • Maryam
    Apr 12, 2012 - 3:00PM

    the first thing i do five days a week is to come to work n open tribune….seriously…all that i know of current affairs is due to Tribune…
    cheers to the team…keep growing!

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  • Apr 12, 2012 - 4:52PM

    I am a great fan of the Express Tribune. But no, content and quality-wise, Dawn is still the best. You are 2nd to none in Pakistan but that old venerable Dawn.

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  • Babloo
    Apr 12, 2012 - 5:19PM

    One of the reasons for Tribune’s success, is because it has no hidden agenda and bias. When people perceive certain fairnes and honesty in coverage, they are attracted. The moderators have done a good job so far on comment section. That challenge will be always there. The challenge to allow a diverse opinion but weed out abusive comments.Wish you success and always keep aspiring to do even better.

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  • American Desi
    Apr 12, 2012 - 5:50PM

    One of the best News Papers! Period. Keep up the good work!

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  • Talat Haque
    Apr 12, 2012 - 7:17PM

    Love you Tribune – The comment section is the life of the newspaper online – your readers are half the news! Amazing!

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  • Sobriquet
    Apr 12, 2012 - 7:22PM

    @Bilal Lakhani: One of the good things about the world today is that it allows people to get additional information on what others claim. For instance approximately 67% of your visitors are from Pakistan and not 44% as you claim. The UK accounts for less than 5% of your visitors, but you claim 25%.

    Either you are trying to feed your audience false information or your IP logging is inaccurate. If the latter is the case then it is probably because you are unable to place the origin of concealed/shielded IP addresses accurately.

    PS: the popularity of your site is based on factors other than the quality of your content, but this is not the place to talk about it.

    Visitors by country and region to tribune.com.pk

    Pakistan 67%
    India 9.5%
    USA 5.5%
    UK 4.5%
    Canada 2%
    UAE 1.8%
    Australia 1.4%
    Bangladesh 1.1%
    Malaysia 0.6%
    Norway 0.5%
    ROW 6.1

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  • @plarkin
    Apr 12, 2012 - 9:02PM

    All good and well but your letter to the editor policy says it all. You will correct content for policy? What does that mean? You shouldn’t be in the business of editing “policy”. God knows you let enough misspelled, grammatically incorrect materiel to appear on your pages. Don’t censor. Let ideas and opinions flow. The very fact that whatever is submitted must be “approved” for publication is silly in this day and age. As an example you should see The Guardian’s CIF. Every comment is displayed immediately but if it violates community standards and someone complains it’s removed. Incidentally I don’t expect this to see the light of day but if YOU read it I’ll consider my job done.Recommend

  • Apr 14, 2012 - 10:41AM

    @Sobriquet Actually it’s the other way around. It may be clear that sources that you applied to check traffic flow may not be accurate I’m guessing since It’s been some time but I used to head an online division of sony online entertainment (non-ps gaming wing) and we are quite trained to see through and differenciate between tools; and by any chance if you checked it through spy webs then these mechanics have lower quality checkpoints and address differenciators; if stats were available freely then analytic companies would be out of business. However if you used an authentic tool then thats a different ground altogether and then again what did you average the traffic on, month, day or an year and what does the author average on – so two different things.

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