In The Hot Seat – Benita Adesuyan

Benita Adesuyan, PR Editor at OSN, talks to TMN about changes to Dubai’s media scene and offers her advice to those looking to start a career in the industry…

Name:  Benita Adesuyan                                

Age: 33                                        

From: London       

Current Job Title: PR Editor at OSN

When did you first arrive in Dubai? November 2013

Where did you work prior?
Before arriving in Dubai, I was working for Northern & Shell Media Group on the Sunday Express Magazine for six years. I started out as an Editorial Assistant on the magazine and worked my way up to the role of Commissioning Editor. Prior to my current position, I was Section Editor at Time Out Dubai for two years. I was in charge of three sections – sports and outdoors, film and community.

What were your first impressions of the media industry in the Middle East?
My very first impressions of the Middle East media industry were largely influenced by the friends that I had from the UK who had relocated here before me. Many were leaving UK titles and seeing their careers flourish. When I arrived, I felt that there was a growth in the industry here and a sense of dynamism and progression which seemed to be lacking from the UK’s market, especially in national publications, at the time.

Has your opinion changed much?
I still feel that the media industry here is very dynamic, and there’s a forward thinking approach to how consumers connect with media in its various formats. The way social media is used here is so creative and there are a lot of opportunities for new titles, and media platforms. That being said, economics obviously has a part to play in any industry and media is highly competitive so when purses and budgets tighten, it constricts the growth of the market.

Tell us about your current role…
My current role is very unique and varied. As a PR Editor I produce an internal magazine for all OSN staff across MENA, I also work with the PR team for OSN on their media events and launches. It’s an exciting role for me as I am responsible for all elements of the magazine from researching and writing the stories, to working with our designers, and liaising with production. I get to use my skills as an Editor to take full charge of production of the magazine, and also write engaging stories about the OSN business, programmes, channels and talent, and I’m also acquiring new skills in PR and marketing.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
As a journalist you always feel proud when you see your work, but in this role, seeing how my colleagues get excited about each edition and want to share their stories for the next edition really gives me a good buzz. 

What advice would you offer to someone looking to start a career in media in the UAE?
Go for it – adapt and bring your whole self to your new role or company. Yes, things are different, but just don’t hold back. The UAE is still full of opportunity, creative companies want and value smart, proactive, and hardworking people and the sky really is the limit.

What’s your pet PR peeve?
Not knowing the publication. Take the time to know a magazine before you pitch an idea. Nip to the shop and buy a copy if you’re totally unfamiliar with it, visit the website, check the magazine’s Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, but people are way too busy to deal with irrelevant pitches that would never run in their magazine. Now that I have a PR element to my role, it’s something that I’m very conscious of.

Work calls via landline, mobile or both?
I prefer to get calls on the landline, especially if it’s during work hours and it’s a non-urgent or follow up call. I do actually pick up my phone, even though that does seem like a rare habit. I only expect to get a call on my mobile if it is really time-sensitive or we’re due to meet. 

What’s your most overused saying?
‘Cool’ – I say it and I write it in emails all the time. I’ve also started to use ‘awesome’ a lot. 

How do you see media changing in the UAE in the coming years?
I think it is going to get more competitive across the board, and that will encourage everyone to up their game, which is good for consumers and makes those of us working in the industry more innovative. 

If you could have one work wish granted, what would it be?
Aside from the obvious wish, I’d love to get free back and shoulder massages at work. I get very tight shoulders, and anyone who has ever worked in the same office as me can testify that I am always stretching and doing my desk exercises, so a free daily back massage would be awesome.

What is your favourite form of media (i.e; TV, radio, print)?
I love it all, I don’t have a favourite. I listen to the radio first thing in the morning, read papers and magazines through the day and check social media constantly. I go to the cinema every week, but since joining OSN, I think I’ve genuinely fallen in love with TV again.