Former Daily Telegraph editor Martin Newland has said his newly launched English-language daily newspaper in the United Arab Emirates has struggled to keep up with demand from readers and advertisers.
Newland, who has spent the past eight months building up a team of almost 180 journalists for the launch, said last Thursday’s inaugural edition of The National sold out and carried more advertising than initially planned.
‘They appear to love it. We’ve sold out two days running,’he told Press Gazette.
The National, which is funded by the Abu Dhabi government, is targeted at the United Arab Emirates’ high-earning English-speaking expat population.
Newland said he was hoping to increase the paper’s frequency from six to seven days a week ‘as soon as we can gather our strength’and was aiming for a settle-down daily circulation of between 80,000 and 90,000.
He said the paper’s editorial team had hit ‘endless glitches’in their preparations for the first edition, which featured an exclusive interview with Tony Blair, now the Middle East envoy for the United Nations, European Union, US and Russia.
‘The printing has been very difficult,’Newland said. ‘We found ourselves without press capacity, so in the true style of things over here they bought a press for millions of dollars from India and flew it in bit by bit.”
Newland, who left The Daily Telegraph in 2005 after two years as editor, has hired a number of former colleagues to join The National’s editorial team, which includes journalists from Britain, Canada, the USA and South Africa.
The Telegraph’s former Paris correspondent Colin Randall is the paper’s executive editor, and ex-Sunday Telegraph comment editor Bob Cowan has taken the same role at The National.
Ex-Telegraph foreign editor Alan Philps has been hired as associate editor, and former Sunday Telegraph New York correspondent James Langton is the title’s news features editor.