As the country has grown so we have grown with it

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Martin Newland, the first editor-in-chief of The National, share a joke at the paper’s launch on April 16, 2008. Philip Cheung / The National
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Today is the seventh anniversary of The National.

When we launched in 2008, the world economy was booming and the marketplace was saturated with newspapers both in English and Arabic. But The National carved out its own readership by offering real news and authentic journalism.

Within a few months there was a deep need for our brand of information and analysis as the global recession struck.

Although the rest of the world was deeply affected – and there were undoubtedly problems here, too – the UAE showed its resilience. The economy bounced back and the country continued its extraordinary progress: every step of the way charted by The National.

We not only interpreted world events for readers living here, but we opened a window on the UAE, telling the world about the inspiring success of the UAE and its people.

Yet our narrative is not one simply of praise for the remarkable achievements of this remarkable country. With expansion come inevitable challenges: housing, schooling, health, traffic, labour issues, and many more. The National has never shirked from covering these important stories.

We inform the people of what the Government is planning and the reforms it is implementing, and channel the reactions of citizens and residents back to Government.

We take this two-way role as fundamental to our existence. It is our mission.

The National has widened public debate on a range of subjects that were previously avoided. We have shone a spotlight on women’s health issues – and on the wider health of the country.

We have investigated the performances of public entities in the various emirates and pushed for greater transparency. We have continually highlighted the important work of the FNC and its members, as well as revealing the personalities behind the official titles.

And we have campaigned tirelessly on a range of issues: health, innovation, the environment and, of course, safer driving. We would like to think that some of the credit for the falling death rate on the roads is due to The National’s campaigning for drivers to take more responsibility for their actions.

Being an Arab institution, The National has become a key source of news and analysis of the region written from the perspective of the region. Across the Middle East, through all the many wars and upheavals of our seven-year existence, our reporters and commentators have reflected the balanced, common sense, fair and open-minded viewpoint that is the hallmark of this country. It is little wonder that in foreign capitals, what The National reports forms part of the briefing papers presented to presidents and prime ministers.

But it is not just the news that makes The National a compelling read. We aim to inspire, spark innovation, engage, even amuse. The National provides intellectual gravitas and an outlet for serious thinkers in the UAE through our Review and Comment pages. We cover the arts in a manner never previously seen in the UAE… and still not matched by other publications.

Through our Frontiers pages we reveal and discuss the latest discoveries in a range of sciences, from astrophysics to archaeology, energy to the environment. It is notable how, increasingly, more of this research and innovation is home grown, through Masdar and the ever-expanding university sector.

Seven years ago, when we started, our website was little more than an adjunct to the printed paper. Today, our various digital platforms are accessed on a variety of devices from people around the world. In the last year alone, circulation has doubled in size, with more than half of our readership overseas.

We are determined to keep growing, to keep telling the stories of the UAE, to keep making a difference.


Read more from our anniversary edition:

TheNational@7: A credible and fair voice by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed

TheNational@7: An essential part of our everyday life by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak

TheNational@7: Time capsule

TheNational@7: Citizen journalists answer the call

TheNational@7: Cycling and healthy-living campaigns aim to counter a life of luxury