The Journalism Society recently hosted Mr Simeon Kerr, the Gulf Business Correspondent for The Financial Times. Mr Kerr is currently based in Dubai, and has covered the Iraq War and investigations into the Dubai International Financial Centre. He spoke to a virtual audience about the skills required to report on such a diverse region.
Mr Kerr explained that his ‘big break’ was enabled by his knowledge of Arabic. His passion for the language and cultures of the Middle East helped him to carve out a niche in a publication as expansive as The Financial Times.
As many questions from the audience revolved around the current financial situation in the Gulf, Mr Kerr explained the difficulty of reporting in such volatile circumstances. Despite The Financial Times being a globally-recognised newspaper, with comparative freedom of movement, the states from which he reports sometimes have a different conception of media freedom. It is imperative his journalism doesn’t offend the ruling families of each nation, which can make it difficult to report with complete transparency, and some articles require re-writing because of this. These setbacks make it all the more important to report on this fundamental part of the global financial system.