In The Hot Seat – Conor Dormer

Conor Dormer, Editor-in-Chief at tells TMN about his current role and what he thinks about the media industry in the Middle East…

Name: Conor Dormer

Age: 31

From: Mountmellick, Ireland

Current job title: Editor-in-Chief,

When did you first arrive in Dubai?

In September, 2015.

Where did you work prior?

I worked as a Prison Officer for eight years after studying Journalism and working in print media until 2008.

What were your first impressions of the media industry in the Middle East?

I found it hard to break into an industry that is reliant on contacts. I was lucky.

Has your opinion changed much?

Not really, it’s a tough industry to be in, just look at what’s happening at 7days.

Tell us about your current role…

As Editor-in-Chief for I’m in charge of content for the website. We cover everything a bloke would find interesting including sport, music and TV. We also do events so we are usually very busy. Our White Collar Fight Night last October was a huge success and we plan on running another bigger and better Fight Night this March along with an oil and gas event in February. Busy times!

What challenges do you face?

We are essentially a startup, even though we have been running for over a year, we have a small team and we need to make money to keep ourselves afloat. We really are the underdogs here in Dubai and I love that. We have a great team with Mike Barker, Kellie Hanley and Caroline Kelly all over performing consistently and Richard Upshall is a constant motivator behind the scenes. We have set ourselves targets of where we want to be and we will hit them. No problem!

What do you think about the sports media in the UAE?

It’s fine. There is scope for change and fresh ideas in how to reach a new audience. In the New Year will be launching some new features and events to breath fresh life into this media.

How do you brainstorm for content?

Usually with the ExpatBloke team over coffee or having conversations with myself when I can’t sleep!

What ways are you using to get your target audience more engaged?

We are re-launching the site in 2017 and we have some new features planned that will increase our visibility in the expatriate community.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Seeing the noticeable progress we make week to week.

How would you rather be contacted at work?

Email me.

What do you think about media ethics in the UAE?

The rules are there, you have to respect them.  If you don’t you have no one to blame but yourself.

How is social media changing the media industry in the UAE?

It’s helping and people are interacting more, not sure if that’s a good thing or not but it’s happening so we have to embrace it.

Has the increasing presence of expatriates in the UAE played any role in its media industry?

Obviously in a city as expat-orientated as Dubai, the news is more orientated to the west especially sport.

What do you think about the future of the media industry in the UAE?

It’s going digital obviously. The recent spate of newspaper and magazine closures here highlights that and it’s a shame because I’m one of these people that loves having a newspaper in his hands.

How would you describe yourself at work?

Happy go lucky as long as I’m not hungry!

Describe yourself in five words…

Friendly, trusting, grumpy (or so I’ve been told) reliable and motivated.

What’s your most overused saying?

I couldn’t possibly repeat it here.

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

Probably living in Ireland in the countryside aspiring to be getting paid to write for a living. I never doubt for a second that I made the right decision in moving to Dubai and I think it has changed my life forever.

What’s your favourite media platform?

Twitter, but I’m starting to see the light and understand how big Instagram is here.

What advice would you offer to someone looking to start a career in the media industry in the UAE?

Move out here, just take the plunge and you’ll more than likely have to work for free for a while so budget for that!