NAME: Danae Mercer
AGE: A lady never tells…
FROM: California, but recently UK
JOB TITLE: Features Editor at Motivate Publishing, focusing on Jumeirah
When did you first arrive in Dubai?
I arrived not long ago – on April 7, 2014.
Where did you work prior?
Sunny London. I worked as a freelancer covering a range of topics ranging from romance, fitness and high-end luxury through to beauty and profiles. I wrote a book with The Guardian, features for Marie Claire, USA Today, The Independent, The Atlantic, THE, The Telegraph and so forth. I was also a corporate and financial PR focusing on content creation.
What are your first impressions of the media industry in the Middle East?
In general, I think the media world here is exciting. There’s the potential for rapid growth, to do new things, to work hard and see things happen. People seem very open minded and outgoing, not to mention very kind and welcoming – nice for a new expat.
Tell us about your role…
I am a Features Editor, which means I manage and write long form content for Motivate. Right now I’m focusing primarily on the luxury magazine Jumeirah, which I know is going to be fantastic.
What challenges do you face?
I need to get to know about all things luxury. In London, I knew whom to contact, but out here it’s a whole new process.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Wrapping up a feature that feels well written, and just constantly learning. I also enjoy meeting fascinating people, which I get to do with features and profiles.
What do you think of the quality of media publications in the region?
I think things have developed extensively since I lived in Doha five years ago, and that they’ll only continue to do so.
How do you find PRs in the region?
A few very clever ones have contacted me already, listing their relevant clients and pointing out those in the luxury space. I really admire such targeted initiative. As long as PRs keep passing me relevant information, I’ll be happy to work with them.
What’s your pet PR peeve?
I don’t like presumptuousness. And I once had a PR ask me what fee I would give the spokesperson for their time. I found another.
What advice can you offer PRs seeking coverage your magazine?
Jumeirah has amazing room for in-depth features that look at not just the latest thing or sparkling new bit, but rather at the history, heritage and story behind brands and people. It’s luxury with depth. It also has a long lead-time.
I’d love PRs to get in contact with me early, let me know what in general they do, point out any relevant clients, keep me updated with relevant news releases and events, and so forth. Right now, especially as I learn the Dubai industry, I’m keen to get out and meet as many individuals as possible, and just start developing that in-depth knowledge of what’s going on. So please do get in touch (with relevant clients, of course!).
Work calls via landline, mobile or both?
Landline. Mobile feels intrusive. Or email me – I’m always connected, and read every email, even if I don’t respond.
Describe yourself in five words…
Optimistic, curious, hopeful, sporty, bookish.
What’s your most overused saying?
I don’t really have a tagline, I’m afraid.
Five things you can’t live without?
My laptop, running shoes, my kindle, cereal and my best friends.
If you weren’t a journalist, what would you be?
An author or a yoga instructor.