Motivate welcomes new Picture Editor

Motivate Publishing has welcomed Diana Bell-Heather to the role of Picture Editor for the Luxury and Lifestyle group. A journalism graduate from Kingston University, Diana also has a Master’s degree in TV Journalism from Goldsmiths, University of London. She has five years of experience working for media houses in the UK in image research and procurement and also founded personal style blog, which she edits. As Picture Editor for the Luxury and Lifestyle group, Diana will be working across Motivate’s Emirates Woman titles, managing the picture desk and assisting with content production.

Charlotte Gray joins Z7 Communications

Charlotte Gray has joined Z7 Communications as Senior PR Executive. Before joining the agency, Charlotte worked within the international PR team at the British Fashion Council for four years, duringwhich she worked on global, high profile events such as London Fashion Week,London Collections Men and the British Fashion Awards. In her new role she will be responsible for working on a number of luxury fashion and lifestyle accounts including; Bottega Veneta, NET-A-PORTER and The Leading Hotels of the World.

“I am thrilled to join such an esteemed agency and team within the region and I’m extremely excited to begin working with the high caliber of clients Z7 Communications boasts,” says Charlotte Gray.

In The Hot Seat – Dominic Beesley

We catch up with Dominic Beesley, from Motivate Publishing, who gives Team TMN his opinions on the UAE media industry, as well as how he thinks publications should be changing…

Name: Dominic Beesley

Age: 25

From: West Kirby, England

Current Job Title: Junior Features Writer for Hype magazine

When did you first arrive in Dubai?
In 2007, at the age of 17, I moved to Dubai with my family. I returned to the UK briefly between 2010 and 2013 to attend university and have been back in Dubai ever since.

Where did you work prior?
I was an intern for Time Out Dubai, at ITP Publishing before I joined Motivate in 2014.

What were your first impressions of the media industry in the Middle East?
I thought it was an exciting industry and full of opportunities. After a few weeks of interning, I’d already written a load of content that’s still on display now, you can find it at At The Top in the Burj Khalifa.

Has your opinion changed much?
Not really. I just feel I know the industry better, and I’ve learnt a lot more about how it works here. Speaking from the experience I have as a music journalist, I think there should be more of a focus on Dubai’s local music scene, rather than just the big international bands or DJs that visit here. There are a lot of talented people living here and making music, and they’ve come from all over the world. Through my writing, I’d like to help bring them to the public’s attention more.

Tell us about your current role…
I write features and news stories, edit the columns that our contributors send in every week and interview people around the UAE with unique jobs and hobbies for the feature United Emirates.

What challenges do you face?
Mainly finding and getting in contact with people to interview every week for the United Emirates feature. I manage it, though it is a struggle, and I’ve now interviewed everyone from stand-up comedians to underwater models. It’s also difficult to find passionate contributors who both know their fields and are capable of producing good writing within print deadlines.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
To see the words I’ve written put in to print (followed by worrying about whether anyone will actually enjoy reading them).

What advice would you offer to someone looking to start a career in media in the UAE?
Persevere. Stick at it. Even if that means interning for months and months, it’ll be worth it in the end (probably).

What do you think of the quality of media publications in the region?
It’s terrific. There’s a wide variety of magazines across almost every genre, and there seem to be more niche publications coming out every year. I especially enjoy the magazine that’s employing me.

How do you find PRs in the region?
I’ve worked with some great PRs so far. I know a lot of people seem to find PRs here particularly annoying ­– check out the #UAEPR hashtag on Twitter if you don’t believe me – but I on the other hand, don’t think that. Maybe I just haven’t heard from all of them yet.

What’s your pet PR peeve?
Spelling mistakes. The people who spell ‘definitely’ as ‘defiantly’ are the worst – you know who you are.

What advice can you offer PRs seeking coverage in your publication?
Be nice to me, please.

How would you rather be contacted at work?
By e-mail, if everything is spelled correctly, that is.

Describe yourself in five words…
I like music a lot.

Five things you can’t live without?
My iPod, my Kindle, a notebook, a pen… and, I don’t know – a box of Wispa Golds?

If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be doing?
Writing novels.

If you could change one thing about media in the UAE, what would it be?
There should be some kind of rule implemented stating that you have to pay all interns. Don’t make them work for nothing – these are the people who are passionate about what they’re writing and will one day, if they’re any good, be editing your publications. By not paying them, you’re simply wearing down talented writers and contributors before they’ve even had a chance to get going.

How do you see media changing in the UAE in the future?
More holograms, and virtual reality magazines. But perhaps in the nearer future, I think times are only going to get tougher for print publications and publishing houses. As a journalist, I think it will be more difficult to succeed although hopefully for consumers, this will guarantee a much better quality of writing within publications. That, or every magazine will simply be kovering Kardashian news (in which case, I might just give up).

If you could have one work wish granted, what would it be?
That I could be a bestselling author.

What is your favourite form of media (i.e; TV, radio, print)?
Print, obviously.

Sara Hamdan launches

Journalist Sara Hamdan has launched, a luxury hotel review site with a section dedicated to packing. Sara has been writing for the New York Times from Dubai since 2010, she has previously worked for publications such as VIVA, Stylist Arabia and Dubai Magazine, she is also currently working on a part-time project with Google. was launched as a result of her passion for escapism and the curated styles featured on the site will be displayed in a way that allows readers to click and buy outfits directly from online stores such as Retailer Bmore Bugatti, that stocks Tom Ford, Roberto Cavalli and other designer brands in the region, is currently sponsoring

“I chose to launch this site because travel, fashion and books provide the ultimate escapism for me,” says Sara. “I used to be in charge of the food and travel sections at VIVA and continued to write on these topics at Stylist Arabia and Dubai Magazine. I figured, why not write about topics I love for myself this time?”

Z7 welcomes Sagar Munot

Z7 Communications has appointed Sagar Munot to the role of Social Media Manager. With over three years of digital strategy, planning and content development experience, Sagar has worked in building digital presences for brands such as the Walt Disney Studios, Marvel Studios, GQ Bar Dubai, Vogue Cafe Dubai, Fitness First Middle East, Masafi and Jet Airways. In his new role, he will be working on growing the Z7 Communications roster of services to include digital media capabilities for new and existing clients.

“Marketers are becoming increasingly aware of the inherent advantages of having an integrated marketing agency which offers PR and digital services under the same umbrella,” says Sagar. “I am elated to have this opportunity to join such a skilled team. Z7 is a well known name in luxury PR circles and I look forward to working towards making the same hold true for digital.”

7DAYS launches content marketing studio

UAE Publisher 7DAYS has launched an in-house content marketing studio, DEEP, which offers advertisers a new approach to their marketing requirements. DEEP will provide brands with creative opportunities to share their stories with the 7DAYS audience and beyond.

“DEEP delivers the opportunity for brands to immerse themselves within 7DAYS content at many levels and across all channels,” says Charlotte Turner, Head of Content Marketing, 7DAYS. “By working collaboratively with commercial partners, DEEP will deliver a client’s desired result through creative, solution-based thinking. Using content to engage customers has become a must on any media schedule. It’s no longer about talking at the audience, it’s about starting conversations with them.”

Mark Rix, CEO, 7DAYS, adds “This is the perfect time to launch an in-house content studio and we are proud to be the first publisher in the UAE to do so. The rapid evolution of social media and in particular the voracious appetite for quality video content, has prompted the creation of this dedicated team to devise multi-platform content concepts that meet the objectives of commercial partners, while also aligning with 7DAYS own vision of engaging and inspiring communities.”

House of Comms appoints Senior Account Director

Integrated communications agency House of Comms has appointed Tryphena Greenwood to the role of Senior Account Director. With over nine years of experience in the MENA region as well as Europe, Tryphena most recently worked at ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller where she worked across accounts such as Dubai Parks and Resorts, Starwood Hotels and Resorts ME and The Walt Disney Company MENA. In her new role, she will work across a number of House of Comms key PR accounts, reporting directly to the agency’s managing partners.

“We’ve been searching for someone like Tryph for a while,” says Abby Wilks, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, House of Comms. “When you invest your blood, sweat and tears into building a business, every hire is crucial. In recruiting Tryph we have found ourselves with a solid, experienced and extremely dedicated leader, who will support Kaja and I as we head into the third quarter of the year with more ambitious growth plans than ever.”

Swiss Media Group closes

Swiss Media Group is to cease its operations, after 12 years of publishing in the UAE. Founded in 2004, Swiss Media Group was formed by an experienced publishing and editorial team from Switzerland and the UK. The group’s portfolio of magazines included EquestrioPrestige and the recently re-vamped SWR. The publishing group has cited the evolution of the publishing world as the reason behind its closure.

“There are no words to describe the gratitude we feel towards our clients, partners and suppliers, ever single one of whom helped not only to make our journey possible, but also to make it thoroughly enjoyable,” says Michael Lahyani, Publisher and CEO, Swiss Media Group. “We look forward to seeing you again on the polo fields or at the next watch fair and for now wish you a continued success.”

Peter Brun joins VFS Global

Outsourcing and technology services specialist VFS Global has appointed Peter Brun to the role of Chief Communications Officer. With over 28 years of experience in communications, Peter joins VFS Global from Kuoni Group where he was Chief Communications Officer. In his new role, he will be responsible for corporate communications, marketing and branding as well as corporate social responsibility. Peter will be based in the company’s head office in Dubai, UAE and he will also join the Extended Executive Board at VFS Global.

“VFS Global is an incredible success story,” says Peter. “I have been following the company and its global progress for many years and I am very pleased that I will now have an opportunity to contribute to this success.”

Zubin Karkaria, CEO, VFS Global, adds “As we look at further developing and expanding our business, we are pleased to have Peter on board at VFS Global, strengthening our management team. Ours is a very people driven business and we have always focused on attracting and retaining the best professionals.Peter’s appointment is a validation of this.”