The opening of a new Dubai Metro station received starkly different coverage in two local news outlets. The Khaleej Times opened with a positive angle:
Dozens of enthusiastic workers from Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) thronged the local metro station as it opened for commuters for the first time at 1pm sharp on Friday.
However, readers of Abu Dhabi’s The National newspaper got a different message from the lede:
The good news is that Jebel Ali Metro station opens today. The bad news for anyone on the south side of Sheikh Zayed Road is that there’s no way in or out.
Changes to a construction project nearby made it impossible to build the planned south-side entrance, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said yesterday.
Good journalism tries to paint a picture of “actual reality.” It’s pretty clear which one of these articles succeeds on that mark. Yes, the new station is open, but it features a huge flaw since commuters from south of the city can’t actually reach it. (Dubai’s Gulf News similarly downplays the problem with new station.)
The Khaleej Times article does address this inequity — indeed three-quarters of the story deals with it. However, the headline and the lede only amplify the positives. Why? Because journalism in the UAE has traditionally focused on accomplishments rather than any problems. Good journalism provides a healthy balance between the two. Good to see The National filling that important role for the UAE.
Hattip: Gregor Hunter