Dubai Autodrome – Communications Manager

Started with Dubai Autodrome in June 2007 as PR & Media Manager. Promoted to Communications Manager in June 2008. Restructured and streamlined all matters relating of the Communications Department to create a cost effective and productive department of the organisation.

Personal fulfilment acquired by being responsible for raising the profile and level of motorsport coverage in mainstream media in the UAE. From a sport that got very little media coverage in 2007. I am told by PR agencies and journalists that my efforts largely contributed the current high level of exposure of motorsport in UAE media – both English and Arabic media.

Roles included:

  • Managing the Communications & Marketing team including: planning, overseeing and implementing PR, media, web and design production
  • Managing and content creation for social media including: Facebook, Twitter, WordPress You Tube, Instagram etc.
  • Writing, editing and distribution of press releases and related images
  • Organising and managing Press Conferences
  • Managing Media Center during national and international events
  • Building, maintenance, managing and contributing to daily website content for
  • Managing all design and publishing projects of Dubai Autodrome including: artwork, presentations, brochures, magazines, race programmes, website graphics etc.
  • Developing and growing the new media, social media and lifestyle media
  • Ongoing development and maintenance of media contacts database – UAE and International
  • Creative input into all areas of business within the organization
  • Creating user friendly workflow systems to effectively service the organisation’s needs
  • Developing and nurturing relationships with government agencies: RTA and Dubai Tourism
  • Special projects input and servicing

paulportiGulf News (Newspaper) – Photo Director

Managed the photo department of the largest newspaper in the region, Gulf News, and its affiliated weekly magazines: Friday, Entertainment Plus and Sport Extra. Also oversaw the photo side of production of special supplements/magazines such as: Day in the Life of Dubai, Dubai from the Sky, yearly News Reviews etc.

Integrated photo department into new age media including database management of digital assets, integrating photo department and photographers into social media (Facebook and Twitter primarily) through training and development of the technology as a tool to enhance coverage while encouraging and growing reader submitted content through these platforms.

Managed a multi-national team of 18 photographers, along with photo department staff in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, who covered events and news throughout the UAE and on the international stage.

Roles included:

  • Responsible for all images chosen for the daily newspaper and affiliated magazines
  • Daily photo submissions, captioning, archiving and management of digital images
  • Sustained teaching, training and coaching of photo related skills
  • Part of planning team and overseeing image content of magazine supplements
  • Co-ordinate coverage of major events and assigning photographers to news events
  • Liaison with senior editorial staff


Sowetan (Newspaper) – Photo Editor

Mandated and executed the digitalizing of the Sowetan Photo department and its production. This was the first newspaper photographic department on the continent to outfit all its photographers with digital cameras and realize an image archive containing over 200,000 images which grew daily.

This digital transformation greatly reduced costs and the Sowetan now has one of the most modern photographic departments in the industry – this fact acknowledged by Kodak in a national advertisement campaign commemorating this achievement by the Sowetan. This was a period of huge personal fulfillment as I trained, coached and empowered people by introducing them to the new digital era of photography.

Roles included:

  • Responsible for all images chosen for the daily newspaper
  • Daily photo transmissions, captioning, archiving and management of digital images – image resales
  • Developing extra income options from image production
  • Sustained teaching, training and coaching of current photo related skills
  • Conceptualizing, overseeing content and production of magazine supplements
  • Co-ordinate coverage of major events and assigning photographers to news events
  • Coverage of major events including the Sydney 2000 Olympics, World Cup soccer
  • Managing of bureaus and personnel across the country


PictureNet Africa Photo Agency Consultant & Freelance Photojournalism

Co-leader in the conceptualization, photography, design and production of PictureNET’s online internet based digital image delivery system, the first of its kind in South Africa and among the first on the internet.

Roles with PictureNet Africa Included:

  • Roll out, delivery and prototype testing of new image archiving system
  • Archiving and digitizing physical image assets (photo prints, negatives and slides) for online database
  • Training staff to digitalize images and database management. http://

Other Activities: 

  • Freelance photography for magazines and international agencies Gamma, Reuters, The Associated Press, Der Spiegel, New York Times to name some
  • Contract with Mail & Guardian as temporary Picture Editor (three months).

Paul Archive Work To Sort1

1993 to 1996 – Contract Photojournalist for Reuters

The Johannesburg office of Reuters was at the forefront of covering the fall of apartheid and the birth of the new South Africa and I worked for them as a contract freelance photographer covering news and sport.

Tasks included:

  • Coverage of major sporting and news events across the Southern Africa region
  • Various freelance photo assignments with magazines, newspapers and agencies

Photo Director & Owner – Southlight Photo Agency

Southlight was the first agency in South Africa to employ digital scanning and transmissions through the Internet. Southlight evolved into PictureNet Africa to become the first digital photo agency in Africa. 

Roles included:

  • Liaising with international magazines and syndication of images and feature packages, photography
  • Negotiating contracts and deals for photographers (12 contributors) and small business administration

1987 to 1992 – Contract Photographer – Reuters & IPA

  • Based in London. Contract with International Press Agency (IPA) where function was to cover all European based Formula 1 races in the FIA World Championship and MotoGP with emphasis on Marlboro’s investment in the sport. The images would the syndicated for press releases to magazines and newspapers
  • Photo desk shifts in Reuters (London) head office which entailed editing images supplied from around the globe to the Reuters photo hub in their HQ on Fleet Street
  • For the 1990-1993 seasons joined The Associated Press as their motorsport photographer (Europe) focusing on the Formula One World Championship and MotoGP events

Early Years

1986 – Freelance

  • Embarked on a freelance photojournalism career. United Press International (UPI)
  • Contracted to cover sport and news which included the unrest and political situation in Southern Africa. Freelance work for major magazines in the field of news, sports, features, travel, tourism, etc.

1985- The Star (newspaper)

  • Senior news/sports photographer. Responsibilities included news, sports and feature assignments, darkroom work and photo desk administration duties. 

1982 to 1985 – Rand Daily Mail (newspaper)

  • Senior news/sports photographer. Responsibilities included news, sports and feature assignments, darkroom work

1981 – Die Transvaler (newspaper)

Junior news/sports photographer. Responsibilities included news, sports and feature assignments, darkroom work

1980 – SA Auto Magazine Group

  • Commenced my career as photojournalist at Traveler, Bike & Track and SA Auto specialist travel and motoring magazines.
  • Responsibilities including photography, darkroom and general administration.

1979 to 1983

  • Bachelor of Arts in Communications at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg South Africa.
  • Completed successfully with honours in English and Communications
  • Matriculated from Damelin (distinctions in English and History)

Courses, Workshops, Diplomas & Fields Of Expertise

  • Expert with both Mac and PC computer platforms
  • Web Concepts and Design, Advanced WordPress, Basic Joomla, Social Media, Advanced Photoshop, Advanced InDesign, Illustrator, Modern Media Workshop (IAJ), Digital Transmission Technology, Damelin Management Skills Course
  • Have participated in several workshops and seminars on Sports Management as well as Media and Photography
  • Guest lecture at Rhodes University, the Institute of Advanced Journalism and American University of Sharjah

Hobbies & Interests

  • Grand Prix website:
  • Photography, Videography, Motorsport, Football, Rugby, Cricket, Athletics, Tennis and sports in general

Career Milestones

  • Meeting and chatting to Nelson Mandela while also documenting his return to freedom
  • Photographing Sheilkh Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum
  • Working as photographer in the era of Ayrton Senna
  • Covering Formula 1, Le Mans and MotoGP as a photographer
  • Coverring the Olympic Games Sydney 2000 as a photographer
  • Training and coaching photographers in the digital age at Sowetan and Gulf News
  • Contributing to the growth of motorsport exposure in the UAE

– Available on request

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