Gulf News closes Xpress tabloid and lays off staff at main paper
Dubai-based weekly tabloid newspaper Xpress, published by Gulf News, has closed down its print publication, with the paper’s final edition hitting newsstands on August 30. On the same day, Gulf News laid off staff from its main newspaper, including 18 from the editorial department.
Abdul Hamid Ahmad, editor in chief at Gulf News, called the decision to close Xpress “painful” and blamed market conditions and declining revenues.
“We felt that we could not continue doing real journalism without revenue,” he said.
Xpress, which was launched in 2007 and specialised in local news coverage and investigative journalism, will continue to exist online, and Ahmad said there would be no staff layoffs from Xpress, but confirmed 18 members of Gulf News’s editorial team had been made redundant.
Ahmad said Xpress had brought readers “quality community stories and investigative reports” for 11 years, many of which were picked up internationally.
However, he added: “These stories did not come easy – we had to fight in the courts as there were cases filed against Xpress. Certain parties, who felt they had been targeted by these investigative reports, did not think twice before filing cases against us.
“We are thankful that we won all the cases. This proves two things. First: Justice is always meted out at UAE courts. Second: Our reports were strong and backed up by facts – confidence was reposed in our stories. That is why losing a newspaper such as Xpress, which focused on communities, people and investiga- tive reports, is painful.
“But then reality takes priority over the wishes and hopes of editors. Market conditions do not help real journalism with declining advertisements and loss of revenue. Though we took the tough road to keep Xpress going, there had to be an end to all roads. And we felt that we could not continue doing real journalism without revenue. Hence, the road had to end. We have taken the decision to close Xpress, but we promise our readers that we will keep our content alive online. We will post stories daily or weekly on our microsite Xpress, which falls within gulfnews.com.”
He thanked the newspaper’s readers and staff.
Out of print: Xpress will now exist only online