BNC Publishing makes new appointment

Dubai-based publishing agency, BNC Publishing has appointed Mahak Mannan to the role of Editor of Catering News Middle East. With over six years of experience in the publishing industry, Mahak previously worked with 7DAYS as News and Features Writer and The National as News Reporter. She most recently took on the role of PR Manager at Le Meridien Dubai Hotel and Conference Centre. In her new role, she will cover everything related to the F&B industry and oversee the end-to-end content as well as design of the magazine. She will also assist with organising the magazine’s two annual events – The Big F&B Forum and Leaders in F&B Awards.

“The F&B and hospitality industry in the UAE is at a very strong point right now with a lot to explore and I look forward to working on a title that highlights the best of the industry,” says Mahak. “The combination of my past experience in publishing and hospitality will certainly benefit as I start my new role as Editor for Catering News ME.”

BNC Publishing appoints new Group Director

Dubai-based publishing agency, BNC Publishing has appointed Samer Alloush to the role of Group Director. With over eight years of experience in the media industry, Samer previously worked with ITP and then Motivate, where he handled local and international agencies and most recently worked with Plan B Advertising, offering solutions ranging from media planning and execution to project management. In his new role, he will oversee the editorial and commercial growth of BNC Publishing’s hospitality publications and platforms by managing all sales activities and the editorial team for Catering News ME, Hotel News ME, Leader in Hospitality Awards, GM Debate, Leader in F&B Awards, F&B Forum and Executive Housekeepers Conference.

“I am privileged to be part of the BNC Publishing team who have developed well-reputed publications across construction and hospitality – which is now my direct responsibility,” says Samer. ”Hospitality is one of the world’s fastest growing sectors with significant potential to strengthen the economy across the country and the region. Even with all the current challenges that the market is facing and the new trends emerging which affects businesses and consumer behaviour, hospitality will always strive for success and I am now lucky to be part of it.”

New Deputy Editor at Design Middle East

Design Middle East, part of BNC Publishing has appointed Roma Arora to the role of Deputy Editor. Roma most recently worked as Associate Editor for Clean Middle East, a publication by Media Fusion Group and will now take on her new role at Design Middle East, where she will be responsible for the planning and creation of editorial content for the magazine’s print issue and website as well as its social media platforms.

“Design Middle East is a fabulous product and I feel proud to be a part of it,” says Roma. “I firmly believe that effort is important but knowing where to make an effort makes all the difference – which is why we are so busy putting all the efforts in the right direction.”

Logistics News ME makes new appointment

Logistics News Middle East, part of BNC Publishing has appointed Mehak Srivastava to the role of Reporter. A recent graduate of Manipal University, Mehak holds a degree in Media and Communication, and previously worked as a reporter for the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF). In her new role, she will be responsible for publishing and reading up on daily online news articles on anything and everything related to logistics. She will also write feature stories for the monthly publication and handle its social media activities by constantly updating it with the latest logistics information.

“It’s challenging, hectic and exciting all at once,” says Mehak. “As someone who has fallen into the lap of the office world straight out of college, I feel quite out-of-place now and then, but my colleagues are a sweet bunch, and I’m all pepped up to be working out in the field.”

Jason O’Connell joins The Big 5 Hub

Construction brand, The Big 5 Hub, part of dmg events has appointed Jason O’Connell to the role of Editor. Jason was previously Editor at Construction Business News Middle East, a publication of BNC Publishing and will now take on his new role at The Big 5 Hub, where he will be responsible for the brand’s website as well as The Big 5 Hub Quarterly magazine. He will also handle the brand’s other publications Preview and The Big 5 Show Daily, which features the region’s construction trade show, conferences and other related events.

“The Big 5 Hub has grown over the previous years and with a lot of developments underway in the MENA region, we are glad that Jason joined us to strengthen the Big 5 Hub team and lead the generation of the content,” says Josine Heijmans, Portfolio Director – Construction, dmg events. “Our website, e-newsletters, magazines and features, and activities at the exhibitions will greatly benefit from Jason joining us.”

John Marsland goes freelance

John Marsland, former Art Director at Motivate Publishing has gone freelance. John brings with him 11 years of experience and has worked in the UK as a Product Photographer and in Dubai with ITP Media Group and BNC publishing before joining Motivate, where he worked on illustrating content and photography as well as across consumer and customer publications including Emirates Woman, What’s On, Emirates Man, Dubai Voyager, Good Magazine, Cyclist Middle East and Campaign. He will continue to work as a published illustrator and on photography for both in studio and on location as well as offer branding and graphic design services.

“While I had a fantastic time working at Motivate, I felt like the time was right to broaden my creative horizons,” says John. “I’m really excited about taking this next step and seeing what challenges lie ahead.”

In The Hot Seat – Paromita Dey

Paromita Dey, Editor, Logistics News ME at BNC Publishing talks to TMN about her current role and what she thinks about the media industry in the Middle East…

 Name: Paromita Dey

Age: 30

From: India

Current job title: Editor, Logistics News ME, BNC Publishing

When did you first arrive in Dubai?


Where did you work prior?

I worked on Construction Week at ITP Media Group as a Reporter and before that, I worked with an independent real estate magazine, Gulf Property, for a year. Prior to arriving in Dubai, I worked in Oman with daily newspaper, Muscat Daily as a Senior Business Reporter and prior to that, in India with an online news portal as a Reporter.

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

Although we say that ‘first impression is the last impression’, it has not been the case with my first impression of the media industry in the Middle East. Coming from a journalism background in India where media is considered to be the fifth pillar of the economy, I was definitely in for a shock since the Middle East was still way behind in terms of exposure and content production.

Has your opinion changed much?

Yes, I would say the opinion is changing at a slow pace. Slowly and steadily, the industry is opening up to a lot of global exposure, which is pretty much needed to survive in these times.

Tell us about your current role…

My current role as the Editor of the Logistics News ME entails me to write about the thriving logistics, supply chain, shipping and transportation industry in the Middle East. It also includes taking full control of the content production, design of the magazine and timely delivery of the product.

What challenges do you face?

The main challenge that I face in my job is the adherence to deadlines. Even if one person fails to stick to the mentioned deadline, we have to burn the midnight oil to put the issue to bed on time.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

With music…

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is the moment when I receive the first copy of my magazine on the first day of every month. It represents my dedication and the hard work that I had put through in getting a fabulous product out for my readers.

How would you rather be contacted at work?

At work, I prefer for people to contact me through my official email. Receiving a phone call might be a bit difficult sometimes due to work commitments.

How has digital media impacted the role of the readers in the magazine industry in the UAE?

Print and digital media fill in the gaps where the other lacks. Print has its own brand recognition and high level of engagement, whereas digital media is more suitable for video storytelling and wide exposure. Readers enjoy both depending on the available circumstances.

Is traditional media still relevant in the UAE today?

Traditional media, generally referred to as print, is still quite relevant in the UAE because it is tangible, creates a huge amount of engagement, establishes the brand and creates a feeling of legitimacy for the advertisers.

Has the region’s diverse audience posed as a limitation or advantage in producing editorial content?

It has been a mixed bag. Not knowing the local language posed limitations, but one should know the ways to work around it to produce quality editorial content. And I have had to learn to do that.

Describe yourself in five words…

Hardworking, focused, charming, punctual and friendly

What’s your most overused saying?

I will get back to you…. (Although I do make it a point to get back to each one).

What’s the most exciting thing that has happen to you in your career?

Everyday has been new and exciting with different experiences. I can’t single out any particular episode.

Five things you can’t live without?

My appointments diary, my Samsung S7 Edge, my iPod, my Guess wristwatch and L’Oreal Slim Eyeliner.

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

If it wasn’t for my current role, I would be a software engineer and in addition to that, I would be a choreographer.

What is your favourite form of media (i.e; TV, radio, print)?

It must be print because nothing still beats picking up a copy of a magazine or newspaper and reading it along with a hot cup of coffee.

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

The media industry in the UAE is quite competitive. Three tips for a young and budding journalist in the country – be at the top of their game every time, build contacts and be original.

In The Hot Seat – Crystal Chesters

Crystal Chesters, Group Editor for Hospitality titles at BNC Publishing tells TMN about her current role and what she thinks about the media industry in the Middle East…

Name: Crystal Chesters

Age: 30

From: Scotland

Current job title: Group Editor for Hospitality titles at BNC Publishing

When did you first arrive in Dubai?

November 2013

Where did you work prior?

Prior to arriving in Dubai I worked for VisitScotland looking after stakeholder communications and producing its publications for the tourism industry. I later moved to Dubai, where I worked as Editor of Hotelier Middle East at ITP Publishing before joining BNC Publishing.

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

It’s very fast-paced with small teams looking after large workloads.

Has your opinion changed much?

Not really, but now I’m used to it!

Tell us about your current role…

I oversee BNC Publishing’s hospitality portfolio, which comprises of the events, publications and digital activity of Catering News Middle East and Hotel News Middle East. I am also still the Editor of Catering News Middle East, a role I’ve been doing since January, 2016.

What challenges do you face?

I’d say the biggest challenge of my role is juggling a wide range of responsibilities – from social media to events and awards and of course the monthly magazines. In addition, dealing with a huge volume of emails with interview pitches, events, meeting requests and press releases is time consuming and can be stressful. However, this is part of my role and it’s important to be organised to stay on top of it all.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Getting to try out the latest restaurant openings and travelling to different countries on press trips.

How would you rather be contacted at work?

By email – phone calls can be intrusive, particularly during deadline week. Whatsapp is even more intrusive, unless I know the contact already and that relationship has already been established.

What do you think of publications in the region?

I’d say overall the quality is lower than in more established markets like the United States and Europe. If you look at the teams on international titles here they are far smaller than the teams you’d find in London or New York and with the current economic climate, resources continue to be stretched and this, of course, has an impact on quality. That said, the Middle East is a very young and developing market when it comes to publishing and there are some great titles doing well in the region.

How has print media managed to stay relevant in today’s digital community?

I think it’s currently still relevant, particularly when it comes to B2B magazines. That said, publishing companies are being forced to diversify and move quickly into the digital age to keep up. I think challenging times lie ahead but there will always be a need for quality journalism.

What do you think of media ethics in the region?

I think it’s challenging. You’ve got to be careful when talking about anything culturally sensitive and the defamation laws are very different to what we’re used to in the UK. Working for trade magazines, it’s not a huge issue, but for those journalists working on newspapers I imagine it can be challenging.

What role has digital media played when it comes to reader engagement in the magazine industry?

It’s really important, you’ve got to push content on social media as a lot of your web traffic will come from this. All of our magazines have digital editions and every feature gets published online and in our newsletters, which go out to a large database.

Describe yourself in five words…

Adventurous, kind, open-minded, tenacious and forgetful.

What’s the most exciting thing to happen to you in your career?

Going on a press trip to New York. It was my first time there and I went to see the new Element brand from Starwood.

What’s your most overused saying?

At the end of the day…

Five things you can’t live without?

At the moment, my daily flat white from Costa, The Salad Jar, Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge, Kerastase shampoo and Bojack Horseman.

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

I’d be a painter if someone would pay me to do that.

What is your favourite form of media (i.e; TV, radio, print)?

Does Netflix count?

How do you see the media industry changing in the Middle East in the coming years?

I think it will get harder for the newspaper industry in particular and we could see more closures and redundancies across the region. I think both newspapers and magazines will continue to diversify into digital and video.

Logistics News ME welcomes new Editor

BNC Publishing has appointed Paromita Dey to the role of Editor for its B2B publication, Logistics News ME. With over five years of experience in the region, Paromita was most recently a Reporter at Construction Week, part of ITP Media Group. In her new role, she will be responsible for the content creation and design of the entire magazine as well as it’s development as a brand.

“I am really excited to join Logistics News ME as its Editor,” says Paromita. “It’s a new challenge for me and I definitely look forward to it. These are exciting times for the logistics sector in the Middle East with so much activity happening. Which will surely give me an opportunity to tap into these areas and create something engaging out of it.”

BNC Publishing makes new promotion

Media production and digital house, BNC Publishing has promoted Crystal Chesters to the role of Group Editor for hospitality titles. Former Editor of Hotelier Middle East at ITP Media Group and most recently, Editor at BNC Publishing for Catering News Middle East, Crystal will now oversee the editorial growth and development for both hospitality publications under BNC – Catering News Middle East and Hotel News Middle East as well as digital content, events and awards.

“Having been in the region for over three years editing hotel and F&B publications, I am delighted to have the opportunity to oversee BNC Publishing’s young and fast-growing hospitality portfolio,” says Crystal. “As we move into the third year of Hotel News Middle East, I am excited to help set the agenda for the publication and build the brand’s portfolio of events, while continuing to consolidate the profile of Catering News Middle East on the region’s competitive publishing market.”