Our front page story rallied readers to collect food and other goods for the men and the coverage activated the Ministry of Labour – within two weeks, all had been flown home. There were many other such stories, particularly following the 2008 financial crash.
We’ve spent the week travelling down memory lane searching out our top stories from the past 14 years. We could have published a whole book, but here are a favourite few…
There have been so many stories over the years that have made us proud here at 7DAYS HQ, but the ones that we all feel most strongly about are those where we have highlighted an issue or a personal plight and then got something done about it.
Take the dozens of labourers who found themselves caught up in the fallout of the financial crisis. Stranded in a remote labour camp, their work transport had simply not turned up one day, neither had their food and water deliveries. One of them walked kilometres in the heat to reach a payphone and called one of our reporters. Someone had told him 7DAYS might be able to help. It turned out their company had gone bust and their boss had legged it, deserting them.
78-year-old Brit, Jack Hyndman, ended up in jail because of debt; in the end our readers donated to get him out and get him home. They did the same for Filipina nanny, Desirae Eman, who had a heart complaint she could not afford to treat.
7DAYS has highlighted domestic worker abuse and worker rights on numerous occasions, as well as unpaid salaries and property scandals.
Earlier this year, a cover story about two Syrian families ended up changing their lives. The Ibrahim and Al Mousa families had escaped civil war to find safety here in the UAE. But their children (seven between them) faced an uncertain future still, left in educational limbo, as their parents were unable to find affordable schools. Everywhere was full or out of their financial reach. Step forward Safa Schools, whose owners were so moved by our story that they found places, free of charge, for all seven children. You can read their updated story on page 4 today.
It’s stories like this that show the true power of the media – and good journalism – when used in the right way. It’s what 7DAYS did best.
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
Court and crime stories are the bread and butter of any good newspaper. 7DAYS broke boundaries in crime reporting following our arrival back in 2003. These stories were sometimes reported in the UAE media prior to our launch, but never on the front pages.
The headline ‘Body Found In Satwa’ on a 2004 7DAYS front page, was met with shock and surprise. The decision to run with such a story on the front page was, yes, to get people talking but, also to highlight the good work of Dubai Police.
Since then there have been countless crimes reported on the front pages of 7DAYS and other publications across the UAE. From thefts in the workplace to illegal affairs, the courts and our reporters in the UAE are kept busy daily.