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A bit of news about the Hürriyet Daily News

Coming to this Hürriyet website in recent days, or visiting your newstand to get the Turkish Daily News, you may well have been surpised by the fresh look. Well, actually it’s a radical new look, heft and name for both the site and the newspaper: the Hürriyet Daily News and Economic Review.

In our case, the transformation represents the second name change for the newspaper in its 47-year history. On March 15, 1961, the newspaper came to life as the “Daily News.” Late in the 1960s, the Daily News added “Turkish” in front of its name to more narrowly define its focus. And for similar reasons of focus, “your” Daily News is changing its name again. We have proudly moved beneath the wings of the “Hürriyet” brand, which is actually where we have been since 2006. That was the year in which we were incorporated into Hürriyet’s corporate structure after the Daily News was bought by the Doğan Media Group in 2001.

In the case of Hürriyet English, this site is a breaking news service in place for nearly a decade. It is the English language version of Hürriyet, the most-visited news site in Turkey. Now we are together.

I am confident there will be a great deal of speculation about the motives behind this change, particularly in light of the economic upheaval in the world which is tightening belts in Turkey’s media sector. Much of this speculation will be nonsense, of course. Yes, we have made one large concession to economic realities amidst this change. That is have become the world’s “first newspaper with two front pages.” This is to provide the best prominent possible to our economic coverage, which now begins at what was the back of the newspaper. Here in cyberspace, we are incorporting these changes in various ways, updating some stories that have appeared in the newspaper edition, modifying those that appear in print if you have already learned about unfolding events here first. It’s all a bit tricky. So we beg your indulgence as blend tradition and innovation here at this web site.

Other changes, such as a daily “Metronome” section and a survey of regional river basins we have dubbed “Horizons” have been in the planning stages for as long as a year. A few changes represent inspiration that came as recently as last week, including “From the Bosphorus: Straight,” an institutional commentary that will appear here soon (when we get a logo).

Let me share the main reasons and values driving this transformation.

At the most basic level, this is simply an exercise in transparency. We have been part of Hürriyet for almost three years, we share offices and news and presses and bureaus and a cafeteria. Readers are familiar with Hürriyet bylines in the newspaper, as they are for those of other Doğan Group publications including Referans, Milliyet, Radical, Vatan and any number of periodicals. Within the context of this complex and successful company, the Daily News, which moved its own headquarters from Ankara to Istanbul two years ago, has flourished. While our staff has grown along with our circulation, so has our ability to collaborate and create synergies with colleagues at other publications. No synergy has been as strong as the one we enjoy with the business daily Referans, also a part of Hürriyet.  This will not change, although we hope to accelerate it and use the words and resources of our allies in more timely fashion than has often been the case. And this is what you are seeing here at this site, our collaboration with Hürriyet English, a division of the the most-read news site in Turkey, drawing more than 2 million readers a day to its electronic pages in Turkish.

The second reason for our decision to associate more boldly with Hürriyet is a strategic one. You already know that Hürriyet is Turkey’s leading daily newspaper with a circulation in excess of 600,000. But that important factor is in some ways the least of it. Our decision also derives from Hürriyet’s own emergence in recent years as an international media player with activity and subsidiaries in more than a dozen countries in what one might call Turkey’s “near abroad.” Hürriyet is now very much a multinational corporation; for example its acquisition last year of Moscow-based Trader Media East was at the time the largest foreign investment ever made by a Turkish company.

Hürriyet has published a European edition out of Frankfurt for more than two decades. It is now active in more than a dozen countries ranging from Germany to Kazakhstan. We envision more in our growth internationally. Even now, Hürriyet derives some 40 percent of its revenue earnings from outside of Turkey. Other initiatives are in the works. As the English language face and voice of this company, we intend to be part of this expanding reach.

For in the fact that we publish in the English language, and in the fact that we see it as our mission to tell Turkey’s “story” in an authentic, unvarnished voice, we believe we can do a much better job of communicating both the values of Hürriyet and the values of Turkey with a full statement of just who we are.

We are the Hürriyet Daily News.