Mending Jordanian Newspaper Websites

I have been annoyed for the past year, if not more, about the condition of Jordan Times dot com. So recently I decided to email them and see if I would get a response to my requests. Here’s the email I sent:

To Whomever it may Concern at the Jordan Times

I am a Jordanian living abroad currently and would like to thank you first of all for all your hard work. At the same time I would like to make a request concerning the condition of your website It is extremely unfriendly for users such as myself. The articles are very limited, specifically those which relate to “Home News”. I wish you could publish more articles and news in that section. Also your search engine does not seem to be working for quite some time now. I am forced to use google to search for an article and the results are never what I am looking for. So can you please check on that.

Also you have sections such as “Weather”, “Economy” and “Links” which are usually empty except for perhaps one or two publications every now and then. Is there not a way to keep these constantly updated?

Lastly the design of the site is very poor and somewhat outdated if compared to other newspaper sites. Even AlRai and AlDastour seem to have an edge on the design. I wonder if Jordan Times is neglected because it is an English publication?

Thank you for your cooperation and I hope to see some changes soon
Naseem Tarawnah

a few days later, here is the reply I got back…

Dear Mr. Tarawnah,

Your message was forwarded to the concerned section.

We thank you for your concern. We are currently working on a new design
which will be ready within weeks.

All the best

The Jordan Times

I really hope this is not a brush off but rather the actual reality because as it stands the site is terrible as I outlined in my email. And I could put up with all things except for the search engine. It really really bothers me.

Next on the list is Petra News Agency. If anyone noticed, there is more news in Arabic then there is in English! Not to mention that half the links are broken.

The last line in my email is something that has concerned me for awhile now. Are the English based sites neglected because they are in English? It concerns me because in my experience that’s the way bi-lingual projects in Jordan sometimes go, especially when they are government based projects. Not only do you get a poor translation, often times what’s written in Arabic means something totally different in English.

Why this concerns me is because the world wide media gets alot of its information from news sites like Jordan Times because they are understandably in English. And it’s funny because I’ll be reading it and then turn to Al Ghad or Al Rai and find so much news that wasn’t even mentioned in Jordan Times. This is one reason when you search on the Internet it’s very hard to find news in general being reported on Jordan unless it comes from the major international sources and they tend to report what they feel is “news worthy”.


  • I sent them a letter about the search function over 3 years ago. They said the same thing “we are working on it”. Don’t expect anything to be done. Unfortunate, I know.

  • Luai, are you serious? hmm i expected as much. Actually i didnt expect to get a reply. If it doesn’t change i’m starting a petition for sure ๐Ÿ˜€

  • The JT should have permanent links to stories. Currently, it seems they only keep a weeks worth of articles in their history.

  • athena, yes its only a week’s worth, but if you know what you’re looking for you can dig through a search engine. but the links change as they are not permenant.

    its funny though when i read an article or a blog post that mentions a certain JT article the link takes me to a whole other article that has replaced it since.

  • Nas : When you are contacting the print media the letter should always be addressed in the ombudsman name, if you don’t know his name or there is no ombudsman for the paper, then the letter should be addressed to the Editor. To Whom It May Concern is an outdated mode. The names of all the people working in any paper is publicly known.

    Look at it this way: If there was an intent to have a user friendly updated website, someone would have mentioned it few weeks ago during the celebration of their 30th anniversary.

  • Hatem, thank you for the writing tips but email has changed a lot of the rules I suppose. In the contact page I wasnt sure if that was the editor’s email and I expected it was an email for someone who is responsible to reply to emails and forward them as I used to visit the JT when I wasn in high school publishing and editing our papers. Also I thought it might go to a webmaster so I felt “to whom it may concern” was appropriate.

  • i realized the problem as well with the search engine on their website…. its a shame that the website is dyfunctional since its one of the only newspapers published in english in jordan. the great thing about the website is the weekender section.
    naseem: if you dont mind me asking you attend York U?

    thanks and i hope they fix the website since there are a few articles i would like to go over..

  • Oh how I hate their search engine!

    by the way, about the English version being totally different than the Arabic one, it’s almost like that for every Arabic Website not only Jordan Times. Even Al Jazeera, their Arabic news are not translated and used in the English section at the same time, I’m not sure how much it takes them but I can say at least one day if not longer (I didn’t check after one day actually), not to mention the Arabic breaking news.

  • Nas; you always hit the nail on the head.
    Petition it is!!

    BTW; Ahmad Humeid writes on weekly basis in the weekender, so maybe he knows what’s going on there!
    Just a thought

  • Hi all, my name is Omar Soubhieh, I work at Batelco Jordan, I have developed both Alrai and Alghad websites and we are working on a site for Jordan Times, Iรƒยข??m sure you all will love it, I wish I could give you a demo link to have a look at it but its against the companies restrictions, please be patient till its there.

  • Hello Omar, welcome to the black iris. Thank you for dropping us all a line with this inside info. I was wondering if you would know perhaps when the site will be up (roughly)?

  • since promises brought up the new additions, and just in case you don’t know, the flashing “news” on the left side-bar only works in firefox.

    and i like your banner too.

  • At a recent visit to the website, I felt no changes to the old design, unfortuantly, this sort of problems is not limited to Jordan Times alone, but is commonly found in most, if not all, the Jordanian Websites.

    I greet you all for your nice contributions.

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