Ask any business leader about their company, and chances are they’ll tell you it’s the people that make it. Well, that’s certainly the case with 7DAYS.

screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-3-55-23-pmIn the nearly 14 years since we launched, staff have come and gone, but there’s always been one constant: hard-working, dedicated people who have showed immense loyalty to the brand.

It’s been a difficult few weeks for the 47 editorial and commercial staff and our 85 distributors as they look to what the future may hold. But all have looked back with pride at what we’ve achieved in serving communities across the UAE, having fun along the way. As you enjoy this final edition, we hear from the people who made 7DAYS…

screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-3-51-12-pmSINK OR SWIM

“I can’t imagine there are many more rewarding jobs in the UAE,” said Editor Barry King. “Like everyone else, when I started here I was told here’s your seat, here’s your computer and there’s the kitchen, now get on with it. But for me that’s a better way to be. You learn on the job and you sink or swim.”

For the 38-year-old Geordie, today will mark an end to gruelling 12-hour shifts, but he’ll be sad to see the back of them. “I’ve always been proud of what we do here. There’s going to be a huge void in UAE media. We’ve always pushed and tried to do things right, there’s two sides to every story and we’ve always tried to get the full story.”

Simon Pluckrose, Deputy Editor, said he has always been taken aback by the warmth of feeling for the news outlet since the beginning. He said: “I’m going to miss being from 7DAYS, I’ve never worked on a publication that’s so loved by its readership. It will be very hard not to be ‘Simon from 7DAYS’ any more and just be plain old Simon.”

Chris Fraser, Head of Features and a 10-year veteran at 7DAYS, said the brand has set itself apart from other media in the UAE, particularly in the early days.

“It was vanguard material with nothing like it before,” he said. “I’m proud of what we’ve done in the UAE.”

Rory Reynolds, Head of News, said: “I’ve worked for four other newspapers in my career and 7DAYS stands out by a mile. We set our own agenda, we wrote solely for our readers and stood by what we ran with.”

screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-3-51-25-pmBEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY

Lifestyle Journalist Glaiza Godinez was working from her hospital bed on the day she gave birth. “I was filing my copy just a few hours before my daughter arrived – that was interesting,” she said.

Sarwat Nasir was the newspaper’s first trainee reporter and quickly became one of our best story-getters. “I remember going undercover for a feature on psychics conning people. I’d wake up at 2am because I thought I had evil spirits around me,” she recalled.

Veathika Jain, Digital Content Manager, said: “I think I was the perfect piece in this whole jigsaw puzzle of craziness.”

And Adrian Back, Chief Sports Writer, said: “It’s a little bit special compared to most places, everyone has the same philosophy.”

News Reporter Shoshana Kedem said: “Personally I thought it was a massive achievement for a UAE paper to be reporting on Yemen and the realities of that conflict.”

News Reporter Nawal Al Ramahi says she will miss the thrill of chasing a big story. MY DREAM JOB “I’ll never be me in any other newspaper, I won’t be able to act so spontaneously. I know that for a fact,” she said.

Charlotte Turner, Head of Content Marketing, was a fan of the brand long before she joined, adding: “I was in Dubai looking for my dream job and found it in 7DAYS.” When

Sales Manager Claire Dalby first arrived at the dusty 7DAYS Towers in Garhoud she thought: “My first impression was where the hell is this place? “I’m going to miss the clients actually.”

Michelle Quinn, Sales Manager, won’t forget being blown away by the buildings on the Sheikh Zayed Road when she first arrived in Dubai. “One thing I’m very proud of is to be part of the family we have here,” she said.

screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-3-50-30-pmMY FIRST STORY

Aboobacker Ummer, Digital Operations Manager, said: “I will miss everything, all my friends and the atmosphere.”

Ismail Sebugwaawo, News Reporter, said: “My first story making it to the cover was a fantastic thing for a new reporter.”

Mike Starling, Assistant Editor, said: “What I will miss most is the people. It’s all down to who you’re working with and how well they work together.”

Conor Enright, IT Manager, said: “In most places you get one or two people who are fiery or whatever, but that wasn’t the case here, everyone was super friendly.”

Agency Head Scott Walker praised what he saw as the paper’s tongue-in-cheek style, which sometimes caused him issues. “It was always to do with community focus and it kept us on our toes,” he said.

Prachee Kapoor, Creative Head, said: “It’s not your typical company culture.”

Wafa Qasim joined the company four years as an intern, today she is the Marketing Manager. “I was a bit nervous when I joined thinking it was going to be tough and strict, it was the opposite,” she said.

Katherine Wong, Credit Controller, said: “7DAYS is one of a kind newspaper in the UAE, it’s a brand we are proud of.”

Anil Kumar, Finance Manager, said: “It’s a wonderful brand as anyone can see.”

Maricel Dienzo, Credit Controller, said: “Everybody’s friendly. In previous companies I worked for the feeling was not the same.”

Khaled Mubeen – who has been at 7DAYS since 2003 – enjoyed the staff’s legendary get-togethers. He said: “I will definitely miss the Christmas parties. Every year we would have crazy Christmas parties, there are no boundaries, everybody’s there.”

Faseeh Umer, Graphic Designer, said: “I’m going to miss my colleagues as they are my friends.”

Shaik Rizwan, Graphic Designer, agrees: “I’m going to miss everyone especially at the Christmas party.”

Advertising Creative Designer Najoua Ajjour said: “Here we are family. It’s not just co-workers or colleagues, you see them every day.”

Ahmed Al Saidy, the Social Media Manager, remembers one hugely successful campaign. He said: “One highlight was the Ramadan recipes with me putting videos of my mother’s cooking up online.”

News reporter and Liverpool FC fanatic Mahak Mannan is clear as to what her favourite memory is. She said: “It was getting to meet and interview Robbie Fowler. Just brilliant!”

patrick@7days.ae

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