Lina Sawan's is one
of the most familiar faces on CNBC Arabiya. TBS caught her for a few words between
TBS: What do you do
here at CNBC?
I'm a presenter and the
presentation advisor. I present a couple of shows. As presentation advisor, I'm
in charge of training the new faces, from how to present to how much lipstick
to put on.
I'm co-anchoring a show
called Uruppa al-Layla ("Europe Tonight") for which we connect with our
bureau in London. We follow that up with Amrika al-Layla ("America Tonight").
We follow these up with a show called al-Nabd ("The Pulse"). And I do two
other shows twice a week. On average I'm on air two and a quarter hours a week.
I also co-anchor The Middle East This Week.
TBS: Tell us about
your personal experience.
My family is in media.
Both my mother and father and my close relatives are in media. My aunts are in
Egypt, radio mainly. My dad is at the BBC. I'm Palestinian. Basically both my
mother and father are quite well-known radio names.
I was born in Baghdad,
then we moved to Kuwait. My parents started the radio station there, one of the
first teams. Then we came to Abu Dhabi and they started a radio station there.
I went to school in the States, then at AUS [American University of Sharjah],
where I got a scholarship. Then we went to London, where I did a lot of work in
the advertising business. I moved into the media when the Arabic media took shape
in London. I was one of the people in the original team at MBC [Middle East Broadcasting
Center]. I started presenting in '91.
TBS: How did you join
I happened to be in the
country, came over met the guys, and we agreed. I miss London, but after 22 years
of London, I wanted a change, and I like it here. I have a son and he's doing
more than he could do there.
And also I have to tell
you this, there's no more media biz in London. Everyone has moved out.
The push factor is that
it is very expensive. Arab broadcasting institutions do have a habit of inflating
themselves. It became too heavy and a big burden.
TBS: When you were
working as an anchor, was it in business or in general news?
I've never done business
before. I like it very much, because it's very exciting, I keep telling my bosses
to let me get at those numbers.
TBS: What is the look
you strive for?
Simple. On our media,
our screens, we have a lot of over-done presenters, so we are not totally plain,
totally down to earth, but we are more professional, a little closer to the Arab
woman. To be truthful I don't think we're coming out every single time the way
we'd like to have it. That comes with experience. After you develop your screen
personality, you know what to wear.
TBS: What do your parents
think, as pioneer broadcasters in the area?
They come from a generation
that was more professional than us. We come from a world of a lack of training
in good journalism. The reason is that somehow standards have fallen. My parents
are not that impressed by television anymore. Unfortunately, the medium itself
is not that serious about itself. The only people who are serious about it look
at its commercial aspect only. But if you are talking about standards of TV journalism,
I don't think we are there yet. TBS