Tag Archive | "the straits times"

The Straits Times dabbling in irony?

The Straits Times dabbling in irony?

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New strategy to boost falling newspaper readership?

In an interesting twist of events, it appears that Singapore’s favourite leading broadsheet, The Straits Times, is pulling out all the stops to reverse the trend of falling newspaper readership.

These days, anyone can be forgiven for thinking that the broadsheet is getting readers to spot inconsistencies and incongruities in its reporting and headline-writing to achieve virality online.

This is one of the latest examples on May 22, 2012:

Inconsistency. We have some.

It is not known how effective this campaign will be or it has been given full approval by the news producers.

However, sources not close to the management believe this novel approach might not work too smoothly as the newspaper already has a history of being incongruous.

One such anonymous source said: “In the last five odd decades, they have already been the most inconsistent by constantly failing to report news and perspectives that truly reflect the concerns of average Singaporeans.”

This latest development has done nothing to rattle Singapore Press Holdings share prices, which closed at $3.80 a piece.

SPH claims it does not benefit directly from reposts on STOMP?

SPH claims it does not benefit directly from reposts on STOMP?

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What incessant rubbish.

Here’s the story so far: Singapore Press Holdings is planning on suing the bejesus out of Yahoo! for reproducing at least 23 of its articles without permission.

SPH also claims the infringing acts by Yahoo! were “committed for financial gain”, as reported in this Dec. 29, 2011 article by Marcus Lim, The Straits Times’ Assistant News Editor:

 

 

But Yahoo! is not taking things lying down.

In its counter suit, Yahoo! is claiming that SPH’s STOMP reproduced two of its articles and a picture without permission between Oct. 26 and 28 this year.

However, acting as if it’s all okay, SPH is going into denial mode, as they “stressed that it did not receive any financial benefit directly attributable to the alleged infringement”.

 

 

Basically, SPH is claiming that they are innocent simply because:
1. STOMP is dependent on third-party, user-generated content, so SPH cannot be blamed if third-party users want to steal stuff from elsewhere.
2. Ignorance of the origins of material published in STOMP makes a good defence.
3. It’s not really stealing if they’re supposedly not making money off it.

 

 

For everyone’s information and benefit, STOMP makes money from advertisements. This is their advertising rate card:

 

 

So, if the argument is that content found on STOMP does not belong to SPH, pray tell, then why is SPH still making all the money from advertisements found on STOMP?

Even if SPH does not “benefit directly” from the reproduction of individual copyrighted material uploaded by third-party users, don’t they at least make money off STOMP indirectly but collectively, partly because STOMP as a platform has lax standards of verifying the source of materials posted?

Ipso facto, for SPH to claim that it does not “benefit directly” even though they have a financial interest in seeing STOMP aggregate eyeballs to up page views and derive more ad dollars eventually:

 

In other news, SPH has a knack for stealing stuff online: SPH stole from Red Sports, an online sports news outfit.

The Straits Times reports factually – not

The Straits Times reports factually – not

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Watch the headline go from “hundreds” to “thousands”! But a little too late…

Before midnight on Dec. 15, The Straits Times carried this report on its website about the latest MRT disruptions:

On Dec. 16, some time after 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., the headline was changed to better reflect reality.

Notice how “hundreds” became “thousands”:

Notice how Channel News Asia already reported “thousands” by 8 p.m. on the day of the train disruption itself!

But wait! There’s more!

If, according to the latest figures, SMRT ridership is more than 50 million rides a month, or about 1.7 million rides a day, how many rides will be halted if you shut down the system for Braddell, Toa Payoh, Novena, Newton, Orchard, Somerset, Dhoby Ghaut, City Hall, Raffles Place and Marina Bay during the peak period between 7 p.m. and 12 midnight?

How many people do you realistically think won’t get to ride the trains? Let’s say the disruption lasted only one hour instead of five? Only hundreds?

Really? Can you really safely say “hundreds”?

And how can ST not know if this information is publicly available on the SMRT website?

Therefore, it is common sense that at any given point in time in which the train system malfunctions along a stretch of 10 stations between Braddell and Marina Bay, you are fudging the numbers if you only claim hundreds are affected.

Ipso facto, to even claim caution or ignorance when reporting the figure of “hundreds” being affected is nonsense.

The Straits Times should plagiarise itself

The Straits Times should plagiarise itself

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And reinvent the way its news is served online. Surely it shall be better than Yahoo! News.

By Belmont Lay

Instead of whinging about it, The Straits Times should take Yahoo! News' lead and pinch the good stuff. That way, everyone wins. Photo: rubenerd

Do you realise how heavy the physical copy of The Straits Times can get, especially on Saturdays?

It’s so weighty that in the event you accidentally drop it on your hamster, for example, it will create a mess.

Your rodent will be splattered from the weight of the broadsheet. It is indeed that clunky.

Herein lies the problem with The Straits Times: It is too big and overwrought for its own good at times.

Think: How long will it take you to finish reading a copy of a Saturday’s worth of news from cover to cover, section to section?

Yes, that’s right, approximately three months.

How much of that knowledge is actually worthless?

Yes, that’s right again, exactly 99 percent.

So why does The Straits Times insists that readers read so much? Because they paid 90 cents for it and more words indicate value-for-money?

Because if that’s the logic, the more it should be the case that the news be made free. It can make its way inside the WWW, where everything is free. It can then be made shorter. And hence, better.

When news broke that Singapore’s pride, The Straits Times, is keen on suing the bejesus out of Yahoo! News for rewriting and aggregating its content without permission, I broke into a sly smile.

And then I giggled hard.

Alas, this is the perfect god-given opportunity to tell everyone how exactly ST is doing its journalism wrong, how it sucks and where it can do a heck lot better.

One good reason why Yahoo! News is appealing and getting a whole bunch of hits is because they take the best bits from the fledgling national paper and make it concise and readable.

In other words, they leave out the junk and retain the essence. Brilliant.

Because in this day and age, no one can sit through the tedious experience of reading 1,000-word missives. Especially not when they are Angry Birding or busily molesting their iPhones for other reasons.

Also, how many times have you read a ST article only to find that by the time you’re halfway through, the payoff you get from continuing to read the article doesn’t match the effort you invest into reading it?

Articles get boring. They start to get strung together by a bunch of quotations. And generic facts get tucked in at the end to lengthen the column inches.

With Yahoo! News articles, it’s different.

They will have to stew things down because they are writing for the web. And they most certainly cannot make more out than what the original ST article provides.

News becomes snappy without the information overload. A quickie read would suffice and the mental payoff is equivalent to trudging through the whole ST article.

As a compulsive reader, I can attest that there is a hierarchy that applies to information.

There is the important stuff. And then, there’s crap.

What the mind is constantly on the look out for is the important stuff – the signal amidst the white noise.

And Yahoo! News has developed a knack for picking out the more important, relevant and fancier stuff.

That also explains why Yahoo! News is awesome from a reader’s perspective.

So how ridiculous is it for The Straits Times to sue Yahoo! News over stealing its content?

Very.

Think again: If Yahoo! News can attract eyeballs doing what it does, acting as a filter, then why can’t The Straits Times do the same?

Instead of begrudging Yahoo! News, shouldn’t The Straits Times bring on its A-game to Yahoo! News?

And if The Straits Times “owns” the content, something which doesn’t make sense because facts released into the public domain cannot be copyrighted but we shall let that go for now, why can’t it go on to plagiarise itself?

Given its resources, what with its army of journalists and its ability to hire a truckload more, shouldn’t the competition be head-on?

So here’s the happy solution: The Straits Times can still continue to practise journalism the good old fashion way for old time’s sake. To prove that it is still a dinosaur.

The old-timers can still keep their jobs.

Then hire young upstarts (with attention deficit disorders, preferably) to rewrite the stuff the old-timers churn out industriously, put it online into a neat and concise window to the world.

Not more than 24 headlines a day, please, thank you very much. And no rewrites of Ministry press releases that are as interesting to read as a phone directory.

Everyone can go on doing this till kingdom come and be happy. The Straits Times will even have a new platform inside the Interweb to suck advertising dollars.

But wait? Will this mean that The Straits Times cannibalises on itself?

Yes and no. Even if so, it will be for the better.

Because I know and do understand that the hardcopy of The Straits Times has to have enough pages everyday. That’s what The Straits Times does. They’re in the business of printing paper. Which explains why column inches have to be of certain length. To create pages on the broadsheet to be subsequently filled up by advertisements.

Or else, advertisers will get mad because they have already paid good money to have their logos published but it doesn’t come to pass as there is not enough paper to go around.

But there is no need to worry. As long as The Newspaper and Printing Presses Act of 1974 – that singular piece of protectionist measure that has been in place to groom the behemoth of a monopoly that is Singapore Press Holdings – holds water, The Straits Times will thrive in either digital or physical form.

They will continue to be the ones to be doing news best, in Singapore at least, because they will be guaranteed a market share. (This is not meant to be construed as a compliment, by the way. Not even a backhanded one. They will be the best because they will be the only one around. This is an economic appraisal.)

News consumers will be pleased as punch as they can choose to read the long form written by dinosaurs or the truncated versions summarised by ADD-types.

The written word will be free, the articles are short and you won’t kill your hamster through bad luck.

Editor’s note: Congratulations for coming this far! I take back my above statement about 1,000-word missives. You just sat through one.

Former Straits Times reporter Lynn Lee refutes Wikileaks cable

Former Straits Times reporter Lynn Lee refutes Wikileaks cable

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In Facebook note, she denies suggesting a disconnect between management and reporters. 

The note was originally published here. Also read the original report on the leaked cable.

Hi everyone,

Thanks for reading The Straits Times and for your support of this FB fan page.

I left Jakarta the week before last, after 2.5 years of an extremely exciting and meaningful experience reporting on Indonesia. I have since left The Straits Times to pursue a new career outside journalism.

A few days ago, Wikileaks released a US Embassy cable that quoted my name. This is my response to it. I sent an excerpt of this note to my former editors at the ST. They replied to thank me for making these clarifications. Read the full story