A first for a newspaper

Abu Dhabi's first English language newspaper has already achieved another first even before hitting the news stands. And this too has to do with the English language.

It's called The National. This is the first time I have seen the word "national" being used as a stand-alone noun.

When used as a noun, it has always been part of a phrase like the "Grand National" or the "Indian national". But vive le difference, as the French might say. The National clearly wants to be different.

But it looks like its editor, Martin Newland, can't let go of his past. The former Daily Telegraph editor had also once been deputy editor of the National Post in Canada. He is hanging on to one half of that title.

The National will be launched within a fortnight, the Guardian reported last Thursday. I am looking forward to reading it online for two reasons:

  • The publicity it is getting
  • The  staff it has assembled — hiring journalists from the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, New York Times and the Wall Street Journal among other publications.

An Arab government-owned newspaper with top-drawer Western talent is — well, I can't think of an adjective to complete the phrase. But it should be interesting, from what one hears about Al Jazeera.

Meanwhile, one can find out more from The National executive editor Colin Randall who is blogging all that's fit to blog on francesalut.com, which he apparently started as the Paris correspondent of the Daily Telegraph.

That also I found out from the Guardian. It's really got its eyes on the new paper. But, as Randall says, for a newspaper to be launched anywhere today is almost unimaginable. That itself makes it newsworthy.