What’s On Web Editor, Matthew Fortune

NAME: Matthew Fortune
AGE: 27
FROM: London, UK
JOB TITLE: Web editor, What’s On

When did you arrive in the UAE? August 17, 2013

Where did you work prior? Daily Mail/Mail Online – reporter and sports news editor.

What are your first impressions of the media industry in the Middle East? First and foremost it appears chock full of genuinely lovely people, all willing to lend an ear or some advice on settling in to a new country. The industry’s attitude is progressive and therefore exciting, and frankly I can’t wait to become fully immersed.

Tell us about your new role? I’ve left newspapers behind to take up the role of ‘web editor’ at Motivate with the primary aim of launching a site to partner with the print edition of What’s On. We want to make WhatsOn.ae the go-to place for residents and tourists as they look to get the very best of life in Dubai and beyond. We’ll cover everything – and a little bit more – already so brilliantly packaged in the magazine. We want WhatsOn.ae, with its breaking news and special features, to be your homepage.

What challenges are you facing? Having come from one of the top six news websites in the world (140million unique visitors a month) to one that doesn’t even exist (0,000,000 uniques!) has been quite a shock to the system, as has the change of pace from churning out breaking news. Getting to grips with a new lifestyle and city will also be challenging, but I know that my willingness to try everything once will stand me in very good stead moving forward.

How do you plan to make your mark? By delivering an original, innovative and ultimately successful website that the good folk of the region will wonder how they ever lived without.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job? At the moment it is seeing the daily development of our site as we move towards delivering a product that continues the excellence set by 34 years of print editions. I hope as time progresses I will take great pride in being behind the region’s most useful and entertaining website.

How do you find the PRs in the region? So far, so good, but limited in my short time here. Fear not, though, I want to know you all know as soon as possible and count many of you as friends in the not-too-distant future.

What’s your pet PR peeve? False niceties. If I make a mistake (it happened once in 2007, I think), or let you down, don’t sugarcoat it, because I won’t do the same. Working relationships are always more profitable for all concerned when at the heart of it is trust, honesty and friendship. In my previous role, the best content came about on both sides when journalist and contact/PR were more than just ’emailers’. Let’s grab a coffee, talk it out – loudly if needs be – and see how all parties can come out winning.

What advice can you offer PRs seeking coverage in your magazine? Know WhatsOn.ae better than I do.

Work calls via Landline, mobile or both? During work hours, it is best to call the office, but I am always on the end of my mobile, unless Arsenal are playing…Emergencies happen in this industry, so if at 11pm you see something that isn’t right on the site, call me, and I will always do my best to help out.

Describe yourself in five words. I’ll leave that for others.

What’s your most overused word or saying? I sign off almost every discussion with ‘cool, yep’. I hate myself a little more each time I do it.

Five things you can’t live without? Cinema, Spotify, good food, my coffee machine (although I currently am living without it as it is back in London)… and PRs!

If you weren’t a journalist, what would you be? (**avoids making joke about being in PR**) Whether or not I’d be capable is up for debate, but I’d love to have been a chef.


Matthew is the new Editor of www.whatson.ae. Say hello by emailing matthewf@motivate.ae or pick up the phone and chat on +971 (0)4 427 3091

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