x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Former editor offers cautionary tale

A Filipino magazine that failed in less than a year after its Dubai launch in 2004 was not well thought out, its former editor says.

DUBAI // The former editor-in-chief of a now-defunct Filipino news magazine offers a cautionary tale for the publishers of the new Kabayan Weekly. Ramon Rodriguez says his Pinoy News was underfunded and understaffed.

"In hindsight, the Pinoy News project was long on enthusiasm from the staff but low on funding and organisation," said Rodriguez, 56, a journalist who now works in public relations. "We all pitched in to help circulate the product and market it."

Rodriguez believes the outlook for Kabayan Weekly is much brighter.

"It appears to be a viable product," he said. "It has a professional publishing company and an experienced and qualified editorial team."

Pinoy is an informal term used to refer to Filipinos. The weekly title launched in Dubai in May 2004 with five reporters and a photographer, but folded after less than a year, in February 2005.

Rodriguez had replaced Albert Alba, who worked on the initial stages of the project but resigned two months before the launch.

"The Filipino community was not looked upon as a credible market for advertisers at that time," said Mr Alba.

"I left due to the licensing and financial challenges faced by the company."

Pinoy News published as many as 34 pages of news, comment, fashion, nightlife reviews and Pinoy humour. It sold for Dh2 a copy.

Rodriguez said the publication's tabloid format did not receive information ministry approval, so it was published in magazine format.

rruiz@thenational.ae