Friday - - Editor’s Letter -

If you want to know where I was when Fri­day launched 20 years ago this week, see the col­umn on the right (no picture to hand, I am afraid – I was an ante-Face­book teen). al­ways hoped to work in the media and be­gan by pho­to­copy­ing an­i­mal-print wrap­ping pa­per to use as a lay­out back­ground for my home­made mag­a­zine. (I have promised Mark Setch­field, who cre­ates the pages you read ev­ery week­end, that I will never ask him to do such a lay­out.)

It’s been an en­joy­ably nostalgic few weeks as we com­piled this is­sue to cel­e­brate two decades of the UAE’s most-read mag­a­zine – a bril­liant feat that has in­volved so many peo­ple over the years – both on the staff, and in the pages.

We’ve been look­ing back over many lay­outs from 1997, leaf­ing del­i­cately though the care­fully pre­served mag­a­zines in our ar­chive – hon­estly, one of the best things to do on one of our calmer af­ter­noons. It’s been amaz­ing for me, and some of the newer mem­bers of the team, as we think about how the mag­a­zine’s first staff man­aged to get their work done with­out Google, email, or pro­fes­sional mod­els. We looked to the orig­i­nal mem­bers of the team in won­der, and gath­ered round to hear tales from the early days, es­pe­cially of the down-to-the-wire com­pil­ing of a spe­cial photo edi­tion cov­er­ing the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, which hap­pened just a few months into the mag­a­zine’s launch. Luck­ily we have Fri­day vet­er­ans on hand – Anand Raj OK, who was on board from the sec­ond week, and Malavika Ka­ma­raju, the orig­i­nal editor, now on Gulf News’s fea­tures desk. They take us down mem­ory lane on page 26.

Many of you know Mri­nal Shekar’s by­line – a com­par­a­tive rookie, hav­ing been with Fri­day for only 15 years. She spent a cou­ple of months speak­ing to some of those who told Fri­day their sto­ries over the years – and whose lives have, in some way, ben­e­fited from the ‘Fri­day ef­fect’. Catch up on page 18.

I’ve been with Fri­day for only a few months, but I’ve al­ready lost count of how many peo­ple have told me about the piles of back is­sues they have in their home, or how they al­ways clip out the recipe cards. One of the best things about this job, for me, is hear­ing from readers – the only thing that’s changed is how we do it – my email ad­dress is be­low.

Natalie Long Editor nlong@gulfnews.com

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