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Q&A with Ramia Farrage

Updated: Jul 22, 2023

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Ramia Farrage

How could you describe your career path in a few words?

I’ve been fortunate to hold three great positions in 21 years of working in the UAE. When I arrived straight from college in 2001, I approached CNBC where I spent five years, which culminated in me producing and presenting my own show – Business Arabia. Then, I moved to Dubai One TV, where for 15 years I was the News Bulletin Editor and Presenter of Emirates News, the English language news bulletin for the Government of Dubai. Since January 2022, I’ve returned to my business news roots at Forbes Middle East, where I produce and present the twice-daily show, the Daily Brief, plus host webinars and moderate at various events in the UAE and the broader region.

It’s rare that someone would have only three positions in 21 years and each job supported not only my career progress but my personal growth as well. At CNBC I tested and put into practice everything I learned in journalism school, from writing, producing, interviewing, and presenting, to the more technical work of filming and video editing. At Dubai One TV I learned to lead a team of journalists, understood the pressures of working in a live news environment, and the great responsibility that comes with creating and implementing editorial guidelines at the sensitive government TV news level.

Based on your experience, what’s the key success factor for a female leader/manager?

Female leaders need to meet the same criteria for success as their male counterparts.

I’ve never observed the perceived behaviours that traditionally generalized women as inferior to men, including being too emotional, manipulative, incompetent, or somehow sub-standard in myriad other ways. On the contrary, female managers possess leadership skills and win the trust, enthusiasm, and dedication of their team. They have strong communication skills that encourage collaboration to facilitate the efficient execution of tasks. They also use critical thinking skills and objectively analyze challenges to form smart solutions.

I’ve always worked with female managers and have held leadership positions for most of my career and fortunately, I’ve never been treated differently from the men in my workplaces. While I can’t be certain, I may be insulated from common workplace sexism because media is a female-dominated industry, or it may be the conscious effort of my three workplaces to promote and support women, or it may even be that the women in my newsrooms pursued these senior roles more aggressively than our male counterparts. What I am certain of, is that at work we are fundamentally no different from our male counterparts, and as such the formula for our success is the same.

How do you envision the future of news media?

The future of news media is a progression of what we’re witnessing today, where viewers are increasingly accessing short-form news and entertainment content on their mobile devices, instead of gathering in front of the TV. In the months and years ahead, this experience will be powered by 5G with wider adoption and with the release of affordable 5G capable devices. Eventually, viewers will come to expect a more engaging news experience and these media will be produced in streamlined newsrooms with less staff and better technology.

Newsrooms of the past are large and expensive with multiple sets, cameras, directors, producers, reporters, video editors, sound engineers, and autocue operators. Newsrooms of the future may have no central physical location and technology will be doing much of the work. Journalists will film and report using their digital devices, with 5G enabling them to produce immersive content, with improved connectivity and rapid download speeds. The news media industry will transform into one that capitalizes on 5G, using augmented reality and virtual reality to engage viewers on a large scale with less staff and brick and mortar infrastructure.

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