The year-end holiday season is a time for self-reflection and goal setting. We at Executive are no different, and so as we prepare to bid 2019 goodbye, we are looking backward to recognize our achievements this year—despite the trying circumstances—to understand what we could have done differently, and to explore ideas and opportunities for growth that we will attempt to embark on in 2020. However, there is a big obstacle. No one with a stake in Lebanon’s economy, including media organizations and journalists, can plan for the coming year with any amount of certainty. In terms of any rescue concept, the equation contains too many variables. Even the scenarios of collapse that have been discussed in the waning weeks of 2019 involve mountains of speculation.
Throughout its 21 years of history, Executive has kept a watchful eye on the Lebanese economy, applauding successes while also warning of troubling indicators in hopes they would be addressed. At the end of 2018, Executive warned of an economic meltdown (on its end of year cover) and was proactive in publishing an economic roadmap to reboot Lebanon. Lebanon’s situation did not improve as 2019 continued, and this was reflected in Executive’s coverage.
In this and the previous issue of Executive, editors dedicated substantial coverage to the protests and their impact on the economy. In November, our main focus lay in providing a platform for comments and contributions from experts in addition to our own analysis and reporting. The validity and relevance of these efforts to foster dialogues on saving Lebanon will be made clear in the year 2020, which is certain to be decisive for the country. The thawra of 2019 brought on an avalanche of fake and politicized news from two opposite directions—those who resisted calls to relinquish power and return looted assets, but also those who wanted to get rid of the old regime at any cost. Uncorroborated stories, extreme accusations, and unsubstantiated allegations flooded virtual Lebanon, facilitated by the ease of sharing information digitally on social media and WhatsApp. People no longer knew what to believe or who to trust. Thus, at this historic juncture and turning point, Lebanon more than ever before needs and deserves as many independent and responsible journalistic voices, on the levels of media organizations and individuals in the profession, as possible. Executive is well aware of the need for analytical business and economic journalism as a crucial facilitation factor in securing the future of this country. Editors are resolved to maintain and further increase the magazine’s contribution to improve the fortunes of all groups and social strata in Lebanon that are committed to make this country the dignified home of all its people.
The last quarter of 2019 bought with it a lot of changes, some positive, such as the political elite falling from their pedestals in the eyes of many, and the Lebanese recognizing their own power as citizens. Negative changes were the economic situation that has forced people to survive under a new financial reality. Executive is in no way immune to the winds of economic and financial change sweeping the country.
Looking forward to 2020, what is certain is that change is the only constant. In plain language, this means that management and editors will collaboratively seek new funding and revenue sources in the coming year. The magazine will also explore its digital development options. Executive’s many committed readers—whom editors use this moment to thank and wish the best in their endeavors—and our—hopefully vastly growing numbers of opportunity-based readers—will be witnessing the results of our efforts: new paths to convey our quality content, and new ways to interact with audiences all over the world, as well as new coverage. We will keep exploring all these possibilities and put all ideas on the table, but what will not be up for debate, ever, is our mandate for responsible, transparent, and independent journalism.
As our wish for Lebanon, and with a bow to the paradigmatic narrative on what the year-end holiday season means in its most intercultural and constructive sense for a bunch of economic writers at this particular time, we borrow from Charlies Dickens our wish that in 2020 every scrooge will find the economic health to tell every Bob Cratchitt “I am about to raise your salary!” in the recognition that shadows of things that have not yet happened can lead to different ends if courses are changed, even within a hair’s breadth, to a path that is “open, generous, and true.”