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Illustration by Tom Abi Samra

Letter From the Editors: Reflecting on Our Relevance

What is the value of The Gazelle as a student publication? We reflect on victories, losses and the way forward for our evolving publication.

As long-time members of The Gazelle, we have inevitably been confronted with criticism casting doubt on our value as a publication. We’ve heard it all: biased, ineffective, insignificant. We welcome these criticisms, because they are an opportunity to reflect on what our role is as a student publication in a liberal, American university located in the Middle East, with an incredibly diverse student population. How do we explore topics and themes that are relevant to our student body while still being respectful of our host culture? How do we define what constitutes a relevant issue, when our readers have such varied backgrounds? And, more importantly, what is our role as a publication on this campus?
We are strong believers that the best way to have a productive conversation is in a well-researched, eloquent and open manner, being accountable for one’s opinions, instead of hiding behind anonymity. Thus, this semester we have actively encouraged response articles, ensuring that multiple opinions on the same topics are represented, be it Kanye West’s new album – read here and here – or a debate about the effectiveness of the #MeToo Movement – read here and here. The Gazelle is a crucial platform for meaningful discourse, and we intend to continue in our efforts to encourage student participation in this form of debate.
For NYU Abu Dhabi, global is local. With a student body this diverse, events occurring anywhere in the world are likely relevant to at least some students on campus. So we actively invite students to reflect on their country, be it about the current political instability in Kashmir, Lebanon and Bolivia or cultural traditions around menstruation in Nepal. It may seem to many that there is little to be gained from writing about one’s home country in a student publication thousands of miles away. But our readership is not confined within the shores of Saadiyat and the borders of the UAE. Averaging over 15,000 unique monthly readers across 134 countries, we have an important and perhaps surprising reach, well beyond the NYUAD community.
At the same time, we have encouraged a variety of articles on issues that are directly relevant to our community, be it on the removal of the weighing scale from the Fitness Center or the potential introduction of a printing cap. We have also used The Gazelle to introduce various new ideas and opportunities, such as potential changes in student conduct policies proposed by the new Associate Dean of Students, Michael Martinez, as well as to engage more with the often overlooked and underappreciated stakeholders in our community, such as the women who work at Studio X and the work of the Office of Social Responsibility and unified spaces for allyship like AZIZA. Lastly, we have moved our reporting off campus, reflecting on student immersion in the city through ethnographic field research and foodie explorations.
In addition to these editorial efforts, we have stepped up our social media game, covering events on campus, primarily through Instagram, to make sure we are not just a weekly publication, but a daily presence in constant engagement with our community.
While we intend to continue our efforts, the rest of the onus is on you, our community. Join us in the process by reading, but more importantly, writing for us. We challenge you to take a chance at being vulnerable, at voicing your opinion and engaging with our community and our global readership.
If, after reading this letter and our content so far this semester, you are still dissatisfied with The Gazelle, why don’t you help us improve it?
Join us every Saturday for our pitch meetings at 4 p.m. in A4-006 or at our office hours outside the Library Cafe every Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m to learn more about our publication or to pitch an article. You can also email us at
Paula Estrada and Jakob Plaschke are Editors-in-Chief. Kaashif Hajee and Andrea Arletti are Managing Editors. Email them at
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