Team TMN chat with Emma Hodgson, Digital Editor, Emirates Woman Group, who talks about her current role and offers her thoughts on the media industry in the Middle East.
Name: Emma Claire Hodgson
Current job title: Digital Editor – Emirates Woman Group
When did you first arrive in Dubai? October 2013
Where did you work prior?
I was working in Westminster, London as a political journalist.
What were your first impressions of the media industry in the Middle East? How close knit the media community is over here. Everyone seems to know everyone else.
Tell us about your current role…
I’m managing the digital teams for both the Emirates Woman English and Arabic sites, along with all digital editorial (social media, video, newsletters).
What challenges do you face?
Working in digital is the equivalent of being on print deadline every single day times ten. The challenges lie in navigating that everyday.
How do you overcome writer’s block? Go back to the facts, the basic who/what/where/when/why/how.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Putting in the effort and seeing our audience grow in real time. With digital you have so much data at your fingertips, it’s great when you can use that in a positive way.
How would you rather be contacted at work? Email. Always email.
What do you think of publications in the region? There’s a lot of great publications, but the quality does vary widely. There’s still a lot of opportunity to be the first to do something here, and I think the best publications take advantage of that.
What role has digital media played when it comes to reader engagement in the magazine industry? I could write a book on that subject. Briefly – it’s turned it on its head, magazines used to control the conversation between themselves and their reader. Now digital (and social media in particular) has changed the power dynamic in that relationship. Social media and website platforms are now usually the first entry point at which many readers are exposed to a media brand.
What’s your pet PR peeve? The same as many journalists – when people ring to see if you’ve received an email blast.
Five things you can’t live without? Memory foam pillow, yoga, my Kindle, sleep, travel.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A vet.
If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be doing? Writing books.
What’s your favourite form of media? The internet.
What advice would you offer to someone looking to start a career in the media industry in the UAE? Don’t burn bridges, it’s a close knit media community and if you behave unprofessionally – the news will spread quickly.