February 28, 2006

Reflections

This has been fun.

Unfortunately I started really late – sorry, but completely overloaded at work, running around like a headless chicken!

HTML programming is so complex, all those brackets and arrows but somehow I managed to upload my links. It helped that I do e-newsletters at work and that ensured I wasn’t totally freaked out when I saw the source codes. If only I knew how to adjust the margins though, this template is a bit narrow where the main content is, but I can’t help it…it’s a pink page!

All these years I have been using a traditional diary to pen my thoughts and opinions and blogging is such a great outlet to share views and vent, especially when you’re shy like me.

Long after this assignment has been graded and hopefully I pass, I think I shall convert it to a normal personal blog…can’t guarantee it’ll be updated regularly – I’m just too busy with work, but it’s a good way to keep family and friends who are away up to speed on the happenings here, so watch this space…

Back to basics call by SPH


‘Strong content the way forward for newspapers’
by Natalie Soh, The Straits Times, 16 February 2006

Somehow this story is a little bit related to the one covered in Reading 14 on the media’s future, but is from a newspaper’s perspective.

At its annual journalism awards ceremony recently, Singapore Press Holdings’ editor-in-chief for its English and Malay Divisions, Mr Cheong Yip Seng made a call for traditional newspapers to return back to basics.

His message was that despite competition from the Internet, ‘traditional newspapers can still hold their own by delivering exceptional and credible content.’ But to achieve this, newspapers should invest in quality journalism, and impart knowledge on news gathering, clear writing and ideas generation but yet not neglect what suburban folks want to read.

He acknowledged that publishers everywhere were investing in the Internet and other platforms, but they recognised that it is still newspaper readership that will pay the bills.

The Straits Times had made almost a clean sweep of the awards, winning in categories such as Story of the Year, Feature of the Year and Young Journalist of the Year etc.

Actually the part on the clean sweep is a little misleading, there were about 12 awards, of which The Straits Times won eight. Three went to the Malay newspaper Berita Harian and one to The Business Times. One of the awards was even specially created as the story/journalist it was given to was not eligible the year before, as the article faced legal action.

I’m curious though, how come the Chinese papers didn’t win anything? And these awards are handed out by the organisation itself, how credible are they? No disrespect to the journalists and the work they have put in, but Singapore’s media scene is quite limited – the Straits Times is the main English newspaper, TODAY does not go as in depth as them, so it’s not like there was much to choose from anyway.


Had they won regional or international awards, I would have sit up and taken notice. But this is like someone blowing its own trumpet…but then again, they own the paper, they can put anything they want in it! Ha ha!

A recent article that caught my eye

‘Media too timid’ in election coverage: Panellist’
by William Han, The Straits Times, 26 February 2006


At a recent forum on politics, the mainstream media was criticised for being ‘too timid’ in its election coverage.

Mr Viswa Sadasivan, a former current affairs producer and current chairman of TV production company The Right Angle Group commented that local media needed to play ‘less safe’ as there was still room to manoeuvre and ‘push the envelope.’

He also took the media to task for portraying opposition members in a bad light with unflattering photos and unfair coverage.

I quite agree with Mr Sadasivan. And just like our tourism campaign tagline of ‘Uniquely Singapore”, the country has certain idiosyncrasies and unspoken rules that make our media very unique.

While freedom of speech is encouraged, the media practices self-censorship for fear of upsetting the powers that be. Once in a while, you hear gossip of ministers taking errant editors to task for unflattering articles! But this is just hearsay…

With the major media companies government-linked, it is no wonder that coverage is skewed positively in its favour, bringing to mind what we’ve covered in a previous module about news bias etc.

But where do we start in bridging the gap? To be fair, I have often felt that TODAY newspaper was doing an okay job, as it sometimes offered alternative perspectives in its commentaries and columns.

So all is not lost…just need to get the rest on the bandwagon so that Singaporeans have an unbiased opinion about local politics, which will ultimately lead to informed decisions when it comes to casting their votes.

Reading 16: Soapies the new mobile ring-ins


By now, many young Australians would be glued to their mobile phones catching up on the latest gossip in Random Place, a made-for-mobile soap opera launched last year. At least that is what I assume after reading the article by Lara Sinclair, in The Australian, dated 3 March 2005.

At the time of the article, the mobile soap opera was about to be launched, as carriers, the media, phone companies and production houses vie for slice of the mobile data market, estimated at AU$1 billion. As the 3G rollout gains ground, it fuels a push to create suitable video content.

Each mobisode of Random Place was to comprise still images of the characters complete with captions that unveil the storyline. Subscribers would have to pay between AU$1.50 and $2.50 a week for six months to view the show, however as I understand it, the show has since found sponsors and is distributed free upon subscription, from what I infer from its website.

Thank goodness for that! Can you imagine forking out $60 in six months to view blurred images and squint at tiny text? If the content had been video images, then maybe that would have been more appealing to me, but still images and text? Give me my telly anyday!

And how many people actually have video-enabled phones already? Sorry, but I’m one of those people who just use the mobile phone to send/receive calls and SMSes. I’m also super-paranoid about the effects of radiation and I try to limit my usage.

While I have no doubts the demand for mobile content will grow exponentially in the next few years as consumers become inseparable from their phones. The people laughing all the way to the bank will be production houses, advertisers and the carriers.

For this to really take off, prices for data transfer will have to drop significantly and content will have to be much richer. The exception is Japan and Korea, where there is a ready market. Cost of content there ranges between 3 to 5 cents, while in Australia it’s 50 – 70 cents.

Ultimately the choice lies with consumers, so let’s see how it goes…

February 27, 2006

Reading 14: Media Futures

Reading 14 from the CD ROM was an interesting article, especially since it discusses the future of the media.

Titled ‘Media Futures’ and dated 12 May 2005, the reading is actually a transcript from a radio program called ‘The Media Report’ on Radio National by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

With the advent of the Internet having affected traditional news mediums like TV and newspapers, blogging is being considered a serious threat to the existence of newspapers. Especially so in the US, where publishers are trying to adjust to changes like the shift of advertising online and weakened reader attachment.

Host Richard Aedy asked his guest, Jay Rosen, a journalism lecturer from New York University whether blogging would make journalism better. According to Mr Rosen, blogging would definitely make for better journalism as the competition to be heard heats up, prompting journalists to work harder at their craft.

As Aedy and Rosen argue, anyone could freely express themselves through a blog, resulting in more voices heard, and thus threatening the work that journalists do. For example, in the United States, ‘independent journalists’ are on the rise – people who publish information and gather news but do not belong to any large news organisation.

On another note, a subject they discussed that was of particular interest to me was how the public relations industry would adapt to the changes affecting the media industry, especially since they rely on the mass media to send their messages across.

Having practiced PR early on in my career, with intentions to go back into a PR role in the near future, I was dismayed to read Mr Rosen’s opinion that the industry was ‘in deep trouble.’

While he’s right that public relations is about shaping messages and delivering it across the mass media, I personally don’t feel it’s a dying industry, well not in Singapore anyway!

There are countless organisations here that have not fully maximised the potential of PR and the traditional newspaper and television stations are not going to go out of business as yet.

As much as people go on about the death of traditional news mediums, I for one believe it’s not going to happen anytime soon. Yes, advertising revenues and content have suffered of late but can we really imagine a paperless society or fully integrated multimedia platform combining internet and television technology in every home in the next 10 years? I don’t think so!

February 26, 2006

Who am I?



I think you can gather from the page colour scheme and its title that I loooooove pink! My friends christened me Hot Pink Chick a few years ago, when my wardrobe, accessories and to a certain extent, desk d├ęcor, reflected my favourite colour. Hot pink is such a happy colour, reminiscent of summer (not that we get summer here!) but it’s vibrant, girly and makes me happy!

My real name is Susmita, it means the ‘smiling one’ in Sanskrit. Born to an Indian Malaccan Chitty father and a Chinese Peranakan mother, I’m proud of my mixed heritage. Being ‘Chindian’, I get to enjoy the best of both worlds – double the cultures and festivals, double the cuisine and I think my life is so much richer for it. That's me on the right in the photo above.

I work for a major telecommunications company in the marcoms department, I LOVE travelling, jewellery, shoes (got over 100 pairs), bags, clothes and make-up and I’m married to my best friend, who thinks nothing of indulging his wife’s quest in hunting down the best food on the island, at the expense of our waistlines!

Why am I doing this?

Hello and welcome to the chronicles of Hot Pink Chick! I’ve been contemplating setting up a weblog for the longest time, and now I’ve finally been compelled into action….only because it’s a school assignment!

Am currently pursuing a degree in Communications and Media Management by University of South Australia through APMI, and one of the subjects on Document Design and Publication requires us to set up a blog – I must say it beats writing a boring, ol’ academic paper anyday!

Haven’t had to refer to ‘Blogging for Dummies’ just yet, but bear with me while I try to get the hang of this…

February 1, 2006