Watani embarks on its 7th decade

23-12-2018 05:13 PM

Youssef Sidhom


Youssef Sidhom

As 2017 drew to a close, Watani celebrated its 59th birthday and promptly stepped into its 60th year. Two days ago, 21 December 2018, Watani completed 60 years since the first issue of the paper hit the newsstands back in 1958. So this issue of Watani is the first in its 61st year.
Sixty years is Watani’s age in journalism, sixty years of a national mission abrim with hard work and challenges. Watani carved for itself a niche in Egyptian journalism through successive generations of editors and reporters who held the torch. Founded by the prominent zealous Egyptian Christian Antoun Sidhom, Watani set root and grew at the hands of great men and women. Generations of reporters blossomed, held the torch and passed it on to younger generations. New budding branches took over as dear older ones departed our world altogether.
Watani’s long journey was marked by continuous expansion and development not over yet, but will continue to flourish with the zeal and will of her new generations who faithfully uphold her mission. “Watani” is literal for “My Homeland”, and the paper’s mission derives from her name.
Throughout 2008, Watani’s golden jubilee year, a team of our reporters delved into the paper’s 50-year long archive, and offered readers 52 weeks of glimpses into pages, stories, and events covered by Watani in the half-century since it was founded. The material chosen by the team was re-published as it appeared back then; no adjustments were made to texts, pictures or layout. The aim was to preserve the flavour of the past, and transport the reader on a journey that involved more than mere reporting on past events; it revealed a record of 50 years in journalism: writing, reporting, page design and printing techniques. This time round, however, Watani in 2018 dedicated a full page in its paper editions to shed light on the past 10 years, marking the paper’s journey from its 50th to its 60th year with diverse local and international events.
Watani’s mission was not restricted to the journalistic and national facets alone, but stretched to include service and enlightenment aspects too. This in addition to issuing pages in English and French. And to match the technological evolution taking the world by storm, Watani’s website www.wataninet.com and social media pages established themselves as indispensable to readers and visitors.
Milestones in the life of any institution reflect significant posts, and warrant contemplation. They offer excellent opportunity to refresh memory, evaluate performance, and draw conclusions. Without looking back into the past, it is impossible to mull over the present or make careful plans for the future.
In 2008 Watani chose to re-publish articles and stories of the previous 50 years as they appeared back then without interfering with their original printing techniques or layout in order to preserve the flavour of the past, and transport the reader on a journey that involved more than mere reporting on past events. In 2018, Watani reporters delved into the paper’s archives and presented the juice of the last 10 years in a new modern look and technique free of restrictions. The “Watani from 50 to 60” page presented the readers with glimpses of stories printed from 2008 to 2018, with pictures and headlines that shaped the decade.
Next week we bid 2018 farewell, and it will also be goodbye for the “Watani from 50 to 60” page. In ten years’ time we hope to meet again to journey down Watani’s memory lane from 60 to 70. Until then, Watani will continue with the same zeal to work on developing its work and visiting new horizons. Some two months ago we embarked on a new mission to survey readers’ response to the paper, and their aspirations for it. This led us to bring back old sections that had left the paper, and reinvent new sections. Watani will thus appear in a new look as it embarks on its seventh decade, a new look I will give readers a peak into in my upcoming editorial.

Watani International
23 December 2018

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