Ola Salem is Managing Editor of New Lines magazine, and a member of the magazine’s launch team. She was involved in building the magazine when the idea of New Lines was yet to have a name, designing the website from scratch and building a process to allow staff to work remotely while remaining a cohesive unit through various online platforms.
Ola grew up in England, and spent some early years in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in the 1990s. She moved with her family to the United Arab Emirates and studied at UAE University, where she majored in journalism and minored in Film. In her final year, she completed an internship at The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi, where she wrote cover stories for the then-supplemental magazine, M, and wrote stories for the news and other sections of the paper. A few months later she joined full-time as a national reporter, covering breaking news. She soon transitioned into various beats to cover education and labor, but finally settled as political reporter, where she covered the country’s political news and the quasi-parliament, the Federal National Council (FNC) for the next five years.
She moved to the United States in 2016. She worked as a freelance producer for Al Jazeera English from the U.S. capital, covering a wide range of stories and field reporting and editing. She completed a master’s in Writing at New York University, taking courses in rhetoric, information architecture, website design and user experience, and writing her thesis on the Middle East media landscape.
A longtime journalist, Ola has written for Foreign Policy magazine, The Guardian, Washington Post, New York Post, Al Jazeera English and the National.
Apart from her family, cats and coffee are essential parts of her life. It is pure coincidence that the cat’s name is Mocha.
Latest from Ola Salem
The Jordanian royal wedding was one of the biggest celebrations the region has seen in decades — and, internationally, perhaps second only to that other royal wedding. Above all, it was a night to celebrate love and everything that folklore has told us to expect of a Thursday night, because across the Arab world, Thursday has become the day of weddings.
The provocative plot of the newly released show “Dahaya Halal” (Halal Victims) — an allusion to the operation’s apparent compliance with religious law, since none of the victims was committing adultery or fornication — has stirred drama, with people from across the Arab world going as far as calling for it to be pulled off the air. It was already taken off when it first began airing in 2020, but it returned this month.
We want to create and curate captivating pieces of work in a format that readers can enjoy, one flip of the page after the other. We want to give our readers the mobility and flexibility of taking New Lines with them anywhere they go, in hard copy, to read at their pace and forget about the distractions around them. We want them to be inspired by the work they read. We want to offer our readers not just one or two new stories a day but an entire issue of rich material.
When men feel superior to women, empowered by culture and the law, or the lack thereof, violence and bloodshed follow. By the time you finish reading this piece — and every 11 minutes thereafter — a woman will have been killed by someone she knew, even trusted.
A few in the Muslim world discovered that Shireen Abu Akleh, who had for decades given a voice to the Palestinian people, was in fact not a Muslim but a Christian. After many called her a martyr and thousands joined prayers outside the hospital she was treated in, there was some awkward backpedaling.
The lines were long; getting food was at times a nightmare. The children — who are yet to be vaccinated — need to wear a mask while indoors or on rides. But the magic of Disney is still there, and post-vaccine life is as good as it gets a year after we were hoarding toilet paper in the U.S.
Fear of ending up in a state-run Home of Care was echoed in every interview I conducted with women who sought asylum abroad after leaving the kingdom. Understanding this institution is crucial to understanding what the women are running away from.