'This is no time to be intellectually honest': What it's like to work at The National

Former Plain Dealer Managing Editor Tom O'Hara remembers his time at Abu Dhabi English-language paper The National

When the newspaper launched in 2008, its goal was "to establish an institution on par with some of the greatest newspapers in the world," according to its Web site. Well, that hasn't happened. The mission statement should say: Don't offend the government or anyone who has a link to it. ...

[Deputy Editor Bob] Cowan said he wouldn't put a story about a power struggle in Jordan on the front page because the paper's new general manager was Jordanian and he had worked for the royal family there. Cowan was sure something would be wrong in the story and he didn't want to irritate the new GM. ...

Our stringer in Australia wrote a story about the Indonesian government trying to legislate the length of women's skirts as part of a crackdown on porn.

The reporter put "miniskirt" in the subject line of her e-mails. She kept insisting she had sent the story but no one could find it. Eventually we discovered that someone had programmed the system to block any e-mails with "miniskirt" in the subject field.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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