Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Moroccan newspaper in English.

For a long time The View from Fez has been calling for an English language voice for Morocco. Now there is a first step in that direction with the publication of the first edition of The Casablanca Analyst. Our congratulations to the director, Bouchaib El Idrissi, the Chief Editor, Mohamed Oujetti and to all the staff.
Starting a newspaper anywhere is always a difficult and risky undertaking. Creating a viable readership not only relies on advertising and word of mouth, but also on the content of the newspaper. It must be relevant, fresh and engaging, with a range of stories covering as many aspects of life as is feasible. In this regard The Casablanca Analyst is off to a good start.

Yusef & Karima from the View from Fez discuss the first issue

For only four Dirhams the reader is offered poetry, analysis, news, comment and a book review. Sections of the paper are devoted to Moroccan national news and comment, analysis of world affairs, opinion pages, culture, language and communications, literature and so on. It is a heady mix and certainly provides several hours of enjoyable reading and contemplation.

As with all new ventures, there are some teething problems. Despite the credentials of the director ( a writer and teacher of English) and the Chief Editor (a professor of English language and literature), the standard of English needs some improvement. One of the absolute rules of translation is that the translator should be a native speaker of the language. This is obviously not the case here. In the future it is probably necessary to employ an English speaker to proof read the pages in order to correct the language. Reading the paper it becomes obvious that this is needed if only from a spelling and stylistic point of view.

The level of language also needs some fine tuning. In a very interesting article about the wall being built by the Americans in the Aadamiyah district in Baghdad, part of the caption under the photograph contains the question: "What are its semiotic implications" - perfectly correct, but no editor or sub-editor would normally use such a quaint academic phrase in a journal for mass consumption.

The book review was also interesting in that even after reading it several times it is unclear if the reviewer liked or disliked the book. A toughening up of review style would be a step in the right direction.

However, these are minor quibbles and are easily addressed.

What is really important here is the recognition by those behind the paper, that English language is now important in Morocco. There is huge investment in the country by companies from English speaking countries and a leap in the number of visitors from the UK in particular. It is to be hoped that the tourist authorities now move in this direction. A recent incident in which a senior tourist official in Fez told a major travel guide publisher that there was no call for English pamphlets and information was sadly wrong.

Once again we congratulate the team at The Casablanca Analyst and wish them well for the future.

View from Fez translator Karima gives the paper the thumbs up.



Anonymous said...

I like the title though. Usually english newspaper in non-english speaking countries tend to stick to "Name-of-country-here Times" and thats it.

Do they have a website?

Jillian said...

Oh, AWESOME! I'll be putting this up on Global Voices ASAP.

Anonymous said...

I do not think they have an internet site yet, but they have not a Moroccan email, but French.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to all involved and also a very balanced critique of the new paper on your blog. We all hope it is a magnificent success.

Anonymous said...

Good news indeed. Well written article. Thank you

lady macleod said...

Will it be on sale at all news stands such as here in Rabat?

this is good news and thank you for letting us know.

maria said...

great news for world newshounds! hope the website is up soon.

Hicham said...

Great work indeed, congratulations, and good luck.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. I hope that this newspaper will succeed where The Morocco Times failed. But until now, I didn't find their copies in downtown Casablanca. That's strange.

Anonymous said...

I am relly intrigued with the themes of this English newspaper despite its lack of resources like a website and worlwide contribution. Notwithstanding, it meets the needs of many individuals who are interested in English.

Unknown said...

I would like to thank all the writers and who made a great effort to spread this Newspaper , I would be very greatfull to you if i find it in Marrakesh , i was walking once in fes while i came across this lovely newspaper , it is chaper , more realistic ,helpfull , and fit to all readers .