Tag Archive | "journalism"

Effects of Prof Cherian George’s departure obvious as NTU journalism students resort to making up words

Effects of Prof Cherian George’s departure obvious as NTU journalism students resort to making up words

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Look what you’ve done, Bertil Andersson.


The Nanyang Technological University’s Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information looks set to go to the dogs now that Singapore’s only credible journalism academic Professor Cherian George has departed for greener pastures in Hong Kong, where academics are not made to wind up their careers for political reasons.

Sources familiar with using spell-check and the online dictionary pointed out the irony and impending fate of NTU’s WKWSCI.

This is after a recent student-produced article in The Nanyang Chronicle about Prof Cherian George’s departure saw journalism undergrads feeling the acute effects of their ex-professor’s absence as they resorted to making up their own words for reporting the news, a sure sign the standards of journalism are falling rapidly.

One word the NTU undergrads pulled out of thin air is “tenureship”, when the correct word to use was simply “tenure”.

One reader of the Chronicle, Luan Luan Lai, said: “I hope the irony is not lost on NTU. They lose the best journalism professor in the country and their news writing about the loss of their journalism professor suffers.”

Other readers of the Chronicle are more philosophical.

See Mee Sai, a reader, said: “‘Tenureship’ is not even a real word. When you type it out in Word Document or Gmail, for example, you’d see the red squiggly lines below indicating there is something wrong with it and you might want to check it out.”

“I don’t know if you can teach such skills in university, such as learn how to use spell-check. Because it usually comes with this package bundled together with ‘common sense’.”

“With Cherian George gone, I guess it’s even tougher to get news reporting right these days.”

“Look what you’ve done Bertil Andersson, look what you’ve done.”


Here’s why NTU is always striving for excellence, as opposed to being excellent:

NTU president Bertil Andersson is the epitome of academic honesty in S’pore






Khaw Boon Wan could be next journalism professor

Khaw Boon Wan could be next journalism professor

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Enough said.


Party pooper on Thursday, still timely on Saturday

Party pooper on Thursday, still timely on Saturday

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What has an unlikely encounter with SDP man James Gomez got to do with what New Nation is about?

By Belmont Lay

JUST THE other day I bumped into James Gomez at a mall restroom in Farrer Park. This was on a Thursday while coincidentally on my way to the first-ever editorial discussion with the New Nation team.

I have never met the man in the flesh before. But I recognised him. Enough for me to promptly violate all male toilet etiquette by striking up a prolonged conversation.

An academic discussion about the press, public relations (his forte), social enterprises and the shortest possible route to Boat Quay were preceded by the usual what gives, the weather and what you doing this General Election.

All under 30 minutes and on the way from lavatory to the MRT station.

Not too bad for two people who have never met before.

Shortly after, we shook hands (which were already washed), wished each other all the best and went our separate ways.

And here’s the kicker: What was a foregone conclusion to me at that time – that Gomez was going to be a member of the Singapore Democratic Party – turned out to be news to the rest of the country only three days later.

The “if onlys” have culminated into a publication about giving you some fresh kicks from sources in the know and letting you on to what you can’t seem to find in the mainstream press – yet or never.

The public announcement about his SDP membership at the party’s pre-election rally at Hong Lim Park that Saturday was reported by the mainstream media only on Sunday.

And here’s the point of this missive: You wouldn’t have had to wait till Sunday for that piece of news. I could have told you so on Thursday. And I would have been a party pooper.

Or I could have waited till Saturday evening, and I would still have been timelier — with better, quotable quotes. It would have been a scoop.

But it wasn’t. The news didn’t reach the public until Sunday and it was hardly timely as there was no where to put the news out.

If only there was an outlet, if only bottom-up news and views could be credibly reported, if only there was an initiative and if only…

So this is what New Nation is about. The “if onlys” have culminated into a publication about giving you some fresh kicks from sources in the know and letting you on to what you can’t seem to find in the mainstream press – yet or never.

It is not exactly alternative press either. Or anti-establishment.

And God forbid should it actually become the much hackneyed “citizen journalism” – a noun that has been so loosely thrown around it has become an adjective to be used for purely descriptive purposes. Like how fresh sushi is described as “unctuous” or a salad as “crisp”.

What it shall be is a platform dedicated to bottom-up news and views. It will be helmed by young people who are staking a claim in wanting to be heard in this country.

With a bit of boundless energy to spare and a keen eye strained on current affairs, we are going to prove that being critical, insightful and not anonymous will lead to sources in the know for the purposes of news gathering and analysis.

So the next time, New Nation shall be world-ready. And coincidence-ready.

The next restroom conversation might just result in me running back excitedly to my keyboard to type: “Mah Bow Tan said the breakdown cost of building HDB flats is…”

Maybe the next time you wouldn’t have to wait till Sunday. Or better still, never have to wait for never.

Straits Times’ reach dropping

Straits Times’ reach dropping

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But print newspapers still dominant despite high Internet penetration rate.

ByTerence Lee

News speak

Circulation: A newspaper’s circulation refers to the number of newspapers that are distributed each day.

Readership/reach: Readership figures, which are usually higher than circulation, measures how many individuals read a newspaper, either on a daily or weekly basis.


“I prefer print newspapers because all the news is already presented there already, I don’t need to look for them elsewhere. Anyway, looking at the computer screen for too long is a bit tiring also. But since the hall I stay in has no newspaper, so I’ll read online.” — Mr Martin Koh, 24, engineering student at NTU

“Reading news online is more convenient for me because I’m online everyday, so I can open a new tab on my browser and visit the Channel NewsAsia website to read. With the actual hard copy, I actually have to spend time to find out which page to flip to.” — Ms Tan Xiangwei, 20, marketing assistant

HERE’S a story you won’t see on the pages of The Straits Times: Singapore’s flagship paper has been on slow decline in reach and circulation over the past decade.

While the paper engages in an annual exercise of using the Nielsen Media Index to boast about its fantastic readership figures (typical marketing spiel, no doubt), a deeper analysis gives a more nuanced picture.

From 2002 to 2010, Straits Times’ daily reach among Singaporeans over 15 has dropped from 43 percent to 36 percent, according to the Index conducted through the years.

Circulation figures, revealed in the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH is Straits Times’ parent company) annual reports, also showed a decline from 390,363 at the turn of the millennium to 365,800 this year – hardly flattering.

But no doomsday scenario is forthcoming. Journalists in the mainstream papers more or less have secure jobs, unless they mess up big time or piss off some big shots in government. Nice bonuses seem to be on the cards for them too, judging by the healthy economy.

While a smaller proportion of Singaporeans are reading the printed copy of the Straits Times, raw readership figures have held steady. The Index reported that daily readership has ballooned from 1.32 million five years ago to about 1.4 million in 2009.

“…it tells you about their priorities. Condo – important. Information? Well, if it defaces my condo marble, I’ll say no.” – Ang Peng Hwa

This phenomena of falling circulation and reach versus rising raw readership can be explained by population growth. The daily paper might have seen more readers, but the growth is not bigger than the change in population.

Despite the apparent stagnation in print readership, the latest Index revealed that only 27 percent of Singaporeans read online news daily. This is a paradox considering how wired, or wi-fied, Singaporeans are.

Some observers have noted a lack of online publications that does thorough news coverage as a reason why readers are not flocking online. But this does not account for the fact that even mainstream media websites are struggling to capture eyeballs on the Internet.

The Straits Times website, for example, only received visits from 4.3 percent of Singaporeans last year.

Comparing apples with apples, general Internet use in Singapore pales in comparison to other wealthy countries like South Korea and Japan, said Professor Ang Peng Hwa of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University.

He cited the statistic that nine out of ten condominiums were more concerned about the appearance of the residences than getting the Next Generation National Broadband Network.

“So it tells you about their priorities. Condo – important. Information? Well, if it defaces my condo marble, I’ll say no. So I’m a little bit puzzled by the high percentage of people rejecting that,” he added.

Ang noted, however, that no study has been done on this phenomena locally. But he highlighted some general trends.

“Broadly speaking, high Internet use in a society is linked with strong civil liberties or how much people trust one another,” he said.

Culture also has a major influence. South Koreans, for example, have a tendency to help one another on the Internet. That trait probably contributed to the success of OhMyNews, a citizen journalism website where readers double as reporters, often without monetary reward.

For now, it seems that the newspaper industry in Singapore is still healthy. Today newspaper, a daily tabloid run my MediaCorp, has seen rising readership and reach over the past few years, although it is still nowhere near the level of The Straits Times.

And while other SPH papers like The New Paper and Lianhe Zaobao are losing ground, new bilingual publication Mypaper is picking up the slack, registering strong growth.

Overall, daily English newspaper readership has held steady at about 50 percent over the past decade, although daily newspaper readership as a whole has declined 15 percent, from 87 percent in 2002 to 73 percent now.

Could all this change with the introduction of tablets like the iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab? Each of them have sold over one million units globally within the first month of their respective launches, signalling the arrival of the next computing revolution.

If Singaporeans pick up the habit of reading news on these devices, then perhaps we can finally witness a shakeup in the newspaper industry over the next few years.