It’s time again to take a step back and review what has been done thus far in my media degree and for this course. I’m not DONE, but almost there, and there is an uncomfortable sense of uncertainty but great accomplishment. A lot has happened in the year and a great final semester it has been.

Contribution and collaboration
Being part of the scheduling group for “The Next Step”, I tried to the best of my ability to do as much as I could to keep myself in the loop about everything, and also because I was part of the team doing the overall coordination and scheduling. However I must confess that there I fell behind right to the end, not very sure about what was happening (too many mails going around in the forum?), that said, I believe I have done the best I can – including helping to organize Gloria’s guests for the day, but will learn to keep up with things in the future. Strategically, I tried to keep the schedule of the day in tact in by implementing a timetable template, which Dylan used till end.

By other role in the Media Showcase Day is to create opening headers that will be screened in the theatres welcoming our guests to the showcase. In my team is Jenny, Jessica and Dave – we initially were told to work on the projector displays for the foyer but we encountered various problems like security and space. After speaking with Paul, and wanting to do at least something for the showcase, we decided to work on the titles that were needed for the screening. It doesn’t seem like much but because I haven’t been very effective with final cut pro, and livetype, I had to learn most of it on my own. Hence, working on these titles took quite a while but there was a great sense of accomplishment after.

Proactive Learning
As I previously mentioned, I sat a lot with Jenny who is excellent with Final Cut and learnt more about post processing. Such things use to daunt me, but I’m beginning to get the hang of it and I love it. We also learnt Livetype together and found it very useful for making creative type animations.

A lot of all these work also took self motivation. This included taking the initiative to email Jess and Dylan from my scheduling group to keep up to date with things. Also being the team leader for the showcase, I had to organize meetings and help kickstart the brainstorming process with my team members for the showcase work.

Participation
I feel that I have participated adequately for both events. I did put a great deal of effort for the showcase, I must say. It took strings of email to get in touch with my team members and after meetings we also had to cross many hurdles together. I also got music off Paul Ritchard so and had them included into the opening sequences.

I attended all curatorial meetings and other smaller group meetings. In terms of meeting the participation contract, I believe I have achieved that.

Connections & intersections
“The Next Step” was invaluable for me, as I do intend in the future to work in Australia, I see that it is important to find out what and who are the movers and shakers in the media industry. Moreover, I was very encouraged to find that the skills I have been taught in RMIT are relevant and sought after in the real world. While I am unsure about a TV/Radio type of work, I know that these skills I have been taught make me an all rounded media student. I have also learnt how to market myself, research, keep myself relevant and that is integral in this fast paced industry.

Grade: HD

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The Power of a Photograph

September 15, 2007

There are a few gripes that I have about blogging from a wordpress.com server. The biggest inconvenience for me is how slow the server is, makes me distracted and impatient each time I wait for a blog page to load. Can’t be the internet connection since other pages always work fine!

I’ve just completed 5 successful interviews with photojournalists and/or documentary photographers. One of my interviews with Luis Enrique Ascui really stood out, since he has been shooting for a good many years, worked for a variety of papers, traveled the world documenting world issues. I’ll post my transcript of the phone interview here, for anyone who might want to think about a photojourn career…

*** ***

Lydia: Can you tell me how you started being a photojournalist?
Luis: Oh, I started many many many years ago, in Melbourne, while I was studying sciences at Melbourne Uni and then I got involved with one of the University paper and I started writing for them and I decided to take up photography to accompany a story and then I got hooked on it. Ever since then I’ve always wanted to be a photojournalist.

Lydia: What was the thrill for you? What did you like it?
Luis: What I liked about it is the historical part of what you do meaning that we have the ability to document history in the making. Most of the time we are everyday people, we observe history we watch it but we don’t appreciate it, we don’t realise it. It’s only in taking photographs and documenting events that we can remember things as they happen.

Lydia: Are you currently freelancing?
Luis: No, No, I’ve been back in Australia now for a year and I’m working with the Fairfax.

Lydia: When you started out, what problems did you encounter?
Luis: Usual problems, you know, you couldn’t walk into a daily newspaper and no one was willing to see your folio evaluation, you know, that was kind of difficult. But it was much easier for you to walk into the suburban newspapers, suburban newspapers was not a problem but trying to get yourself recognized it with main newspapers or magazines it was very hard.

Lydia: What was one occasion or something that you’ve covered which has impacted you?
Luis: I’ve covered too much to know! In terms of impact you know, every situation offers different percentages of impact if you know what I mean, so its really hard to say, “this really impacted me”, you know. There are different things that you learn from and I can’t say which… It’s almost like having children and choosing which was your favorite one.

Lydia: What about when you shot the tsunami, what was going through your mind? What were you feeling at that time when you were there?
Luis: The first three days I felt absolutely very little because I landed six hours after the tsunami occurred and I didn’t sleep for three days. In terms of emotional stress, it didn’t really hit you until maybe a week or so later, you finish the job so to speak. But in terms of the way I work when I cover stories I do get emotionally involved in that I feel what’s going on and I place myself in that situation as to what would I be feeling if it was happening to me. So I get emotionally involved but I cannot try and… as soon as it’s getting too much I stop it because otherwise you become and emotional wreck.

Lydia: I come from Singapore and I would like to ask about some of your documentaries there.
Luis: Hey, that was my home for eight years! I used to live not too far from Novena… I lived in Novena for about 6 years and then 2 years near Bukit Batok. I shot one year for the Straits Times (SPH) and then Getty and then Reuters. You know the world bureau for photography of Reuters is in Singapore.

Lydia: I just wanted to know what was it like when you shot the death penalty? The funeral of Shanmugam Murugesu…

Luis: Oh that was stressful. That was really stressful. That was hard because the person was obviously executed and secondly a lot of people still believed that he was more like a scapegoat. They don’t deny that he was, you know, carrying it (drugs), in Singapore they always catch the small fish… I also did the Australian Vietnamese guy, you know the Vietnamese guy who was executed about 2 years ago? Yea, I also did that one… That one I didn’t agree to, I didn’t agree to anything because I don’t believe in the death penalty… the guy was caught inside customs he was only in transit. He didn’t leave the country, so he wasn’t trafficking into the country so technically it was wrong. But in terms of covering the Indian guy, uh that was hard.

Lydia: It was emotionally difficult for you?

Luis: Emotionally draining. Think about it, lots and lots of people in the HDB (Housing Development) apartment, it was only a 2 bedroom apartment, it was hot, it was raining, people crying and the mom was obviously distressed and to be able to photograph that without interfering. It was hard, but I think I did it well in that no one really even looked at me. I was able to not be affecting the funeral, but it was difficult.

And there’s a lot of good stories in Singapore to do, you know? Are you going back to Singapore after you finish your course? I have a lot of friend who studied journalism or photojournalism from Singapore, most of my friends are Singaporeans and the biggest problem, I find are that a lot of my friends who return to Singapore after they’ve been away for so many years outside the country they become very outgoing in their approach but something happens as soon as they return back to Singapore, they get a little bit conservative again. And I guess what I’m saying to you is, if you know what you want and that is in photojournalism, I would not be getting a job in the local newspaper in Singapore. Again it depends on what you want to do you see, where do you see yourself going? What are your ambitions, are you ambitious to work in the Straits Times? Or are more ambitious than that? But Singapore is fantastic, it’s just a great location for an international journalist to be based.

Lydia: What are your challenges as a photojournalist?
Luis: If you work for a company like The Age in Melbourne or the Straits Times, or the Sydney Morning Herald, the job is very boring in that you sit in the office as a photographer and you work with someone who hands you a job and you just do the job. You know what I mean? Everything has been done and you just go and take the photos. So if you work for a company as a photographer there aren’t many challenges that way. But if you work as an individual photojournalist, meaning that you work on your own and someone like say, TIME magazine calls you to do this story in Jakarta, then the challenges are that…. They’re calling you because one, they like your work but two, they know that you are able to make it happen because all they’re going to do is to give you basics you need. The challenges are to get the contacts you need to create the pictures, to make doors open for you and that’s the hardest thing. To get doors to be open. For example you want photographs of the tsunami, think about it, you’ve never been there and all you have is 6 hours notice. You have to know were everything is happening, where is the epicenter for the evacuees, where is the funeral parlor, where is this, where is that, how do I get there…. You know, and those are huge challenges. The personal photographic challenges are, what and how you want to visual the story. Because I don’t believe that journalists and photojournalists do not take sides, I think they all do. If they say that journalism should be impartial, it’s a whole lot of crap. All you got to do is go into a danger zone or a war zone, you turn up there, first thing you realize is without you wanting to, you will take sides. You just will. If you go into a war zone and you see the army behaving badly with the population, what I your first emotion? To be angry with the army correct? So if you’re angry with the army, you somehow are going to photograph it in a way that will reflect what you’re feeling. Makes sense? In journalism school they tell you not to take sides, it’s beautiful in textbook but hard in reality because we all are human beings. You can’t help it. IT doesn’t mean that you go and do something silly, it just mean you concentrate your photography interests in covering the under classed, or you’ve seen photography entries of people in the US are always make them look silly, they always make them look coil. That’s taking sides also. So anyway, the challenges are in the way you balance it so that you’re covering both sides. I’ve been in situations where I’ll be photographing one side of mobs or whatever and the other side started shooting at them. So here I am photographing one side who’s being shot at, try to avoid getting shot, and then after doing that you think “Now I have to go over the other side of the road”, how do you do it? And that’s a huge challenge. The greatest challenge from a photojournalist point of view is to be able to gain access to what you want to do. Really, it’s how you gain access.

Lydia: How do you do that?
Luis: you spend time at lunch trying to talk to people so that they get to know you, they get to like you and sooner or later you meet the right person and someone will get you access. Or better approach will be, say you want to do a story in Thailand on kickboxing for instance, instead of you turning up naked and finding out how to and where to get your contacts, you create your contacts before you fly to Thailand. You find the Thai kickboxing association. You call them, try send them email saying “You want to do this, you are going to be there from that week onwards…” and so by the time you land somewhere, before you go you have the doors open for you. Makes sense?

Lydia: Would you have any advice for someone who wants to become a photojournalist?

Luis: I would avoid newspapers at all cost. Seriously, I mean that with the most wonderful respect. Because newspapers are going to swallow you. I would move more towards finding and area of photojournalism that you want to do. Say you want to work for a wire agency, Reuters AP… Work out what your ambitions are, work out where you see yourself three years from now. Where do you see yourself in 4 years from now? Seriously just say it.

Lydia: I want to do what you’re doing.

Luis: Ok you want to be traveling, doing photojournalism. Ok now go straight to the source. You go straight to agencies, or save your money.. I don’t know what your finances are but if you are able to go back to Singapore and you are able to take a trip to Jakarta to do a story, you do your research… you know what I’m saying? There are stories in Singapore that are really strong. You find that that will take you more towards that direction. But if you go work in a newspaper, a lot of people people say “I want to do what you are doing” but they end up doing 3 or 4 years in the newspaper because they want to get experience. The only way you are going to get experience I to start doing what you want to do straight away. Its true you know. You say “I want to do war so now I got to get experience”. I’m not going to get experience of shooting the tsunami working in the newspaper because I’m not going to do that everyday. My answer to you is that you go back to Singapore and live. If you can financially manage it, if there is a political problems in Manila tomorrow… just grab your bags and turn up. Just do it. You’ll find at the beginning very scary… but you know what you get to meet people. See what you want and don’t cut corners and just try for it. That’s what I think.

We’re now into Week 6, and four core groups have surfaced to handle various aspects of the seminar to be held at the Trades Hall on 21st September. Ever since the first workshop meeting, I have been particularly pleased that our cohort is focused on creating a seminar that is relevant for our peers and us. Hence, a collective agreement that Media Industries Day will now be known as “The Next Step”. That also sums it up very nicely as a theme for the seminar – Yes, that is to ask “What’s next for us after a Media Degree?” I’m part of the group responsible for the scheduling of program on that day, as well as researching on key people to invite and to contact them. Let’s make things easier, and call ourselves the “Scheduling Team”. Our team is split into sub teams that will focus on finding media practitioners from the follow areas:

  • Visual Media – Television, Film, Documentary Production, Etc
  • Oral / Aural Media – Sound Design, Radio, Music
  • Multi-Platform Media – Interactivity, New Media, New Media Forms
  • The above mentioned but looked at with an International perspective
  • Scheduling / Structure / Managerial

Together with Jess and Dylan, I will be managing the overall schedule and structure of the seminar. This includes making sure we have all the information on our speakers, their contact details, profiles, and ensuring their availability on the date and times they are to speak. We will also be keep track of the time line, making sure the team has been able to arrange for our speakers by the agreed dates. Lastly, My team and I will also be organizing the schedule for the program on the day itself. I see Jess, Dylan and myself as the ‘super glue’ of the scheduling team. We will be the group that the others will look to for updates, and we’re to ensure the rest stay on track with the core theme and not go backlogged with work. With Jess as the overall producer, I will like to see myself actively helping her facilitate group meetings, taking notes during our discussions. I also think it is crucial that all the contact details of the speakers we are inviting (and also of the team) are kept up to date and compiled comprehensively. I’d also like to play a part in scheduling the actual event. Overall, I understand that these are tasks for the detailed person that I’m not, but I’m hoping to improve on that, so I’m giving it at go for this seminar.

In addition to that, I will also be doing research of key players in multi-platform industries. Since most of my other team members have been allocated the ‘visual’, ‘oral’ and ‘aural’ types of media, and we do lack people to work on the New Media areas. Hence, looking for key players of the New Media industry will be another of my responsibilities, which really sounds like something I’d like to do!

Secondary Role:
I will be part of the curatorial team for the Media Showcase day held on the 15th of November. I have decided to join the team responsible for the technical setup for the day, which includes arranging to have the computers moved down to the Capitol, and the other necessary equipment or props we require. I would also think the team will have to ensure that the computers are set on a network so that the interactive new media pieces can be accessed. Meanwhile we will be having more meetings as a team and with David so that we are each clear about our roles.

Role – (Grade: HD)
Our group started off collectively doing generic research on Citizen Journalism (which happened to be a topic of interest). Later on, we narrowed our topic to citizen journalism in Singapore, where we then began to draft our research brief and group contract. However, some questions began to surface as we worked on the brief. Notably, we wondered if Citizen Journalism did exist in Singapore and how it was to be defined. We decided to look into it further. My role, initially was to study the effect of mainstream television and the industry. We set aside a few hours weekly to discuss our research, and we took turns taking minutes.

Our research areas were split up again, and this time, Individually, I was to research on the history, milestones and growth of the telecommunication and new media industry in Singapore, as well as to find out more about how the Internet had impacted the mainstream news in Singapore. I also contacted Nasya Bahfen, a journalism lecturer with RMIT for an interview, and she provided invaluable insight on the Internet as a tool in journalism as well as its impact on the Singapore media.

When the 3 of us had most of our research completed, we started to design a skeleton for our website which would contain our research. We came up with the following categories: The scope, Defining Internet Journalism, The Telco Industry, Political implications, Social implications. Survey, Survey Findings, Bibliography, link to download the presentation, links to relevant external sites and various interviews we had. I was then asked to create the site.

Additionally, we also planned to implement a survey to find out more about what Singaporeans thought of the Internet as a news provider. I used a software that could be easily installed on my own server, and the link was sent out to our friends, and our friend’s friends.. eventually we had 131 Singaporeans helping out in our survey and many interesting comments which we managed to use for our research.

Some issues I faced while working on this project were clearly trying to be clear about definitions in our initial research. Some questions were cleared up as I spoke with Terry, and my research online was also helpful. Speaking with Nasya was also very helpful as she gave another perspective to journalism and her views as a radio presenter back in Singapore. I was also to do a 30 minute interview with her and have it presented on our research site as an audio podcast. These discussions helped to eventually shape our research topic and is the result of what we have right now.

Progress – (Grade: D)
I used to think research was one of the stronger skills that I have, but after embarking on research for Media Industries, I think I have always been the research skills I most comfortable with. So research wise, I think I’ve grown to learn various ways to research, and to see little day to day discoveries as part of my research process. That said, I think I’ve progressed well in my research capability.

I was initially apprehensive about working as a group as I usually more effectively alone. With Karan and I on this project together, I had to learn to understand how others work, make compromises, share research and communication well. A weakness of mine is, I’ve never been good with communicating day to day details to others, so having to email my members and follow up on the correspondences was a learning ground for me. I’ve come to appreciate keeping up to date with emails, it has also helped me with my other projects!

Strategies – (Grade: HD)
For one, research isn’t something new to me, however it is something I find myself not doing very effectively as a student. Very often, I take for granted that what I want to find out can be found online. The Internet is a comfortable and convenient medium for me because I’m almost on it all the time. Hence, it was a different experience trying to find my research in our ways. Speaking to friends, lecturers and having round discussions with my group mates help to generate questions and ideas. Geoff also gave us some tips and made good comments on our research, which was helpful. I also found that ‘networking’ was important. I was initially going to ask Terry for an interview about Internet Journalism, but he recommended that I spoke with Nasya who would be more relevant for our topic.

As our research was on Internet Journalism in Singapore, surfing blogs of Singaporeans were useful in helping us understand views and aspirations of Singaporean bloggers. Videos, pictures and news stories that were online also became crucial to our case study. Some books that I found in the RMIT library was also helpful in giving our project a theoretical framework. To evaluate on my research, I think I am strong with exploiting new media tools. However I have been too comfortable with it and it was my sole source of research. Gradually I was able to make an effort to meet other people, ask questions, conduct interviews and surveys. This experiences have taken me out of my comfort zone and I’ve discovered that I do enjoy many ways of researching!

As a group, we came up with some strategies to help us work together more effectively. We decided early on to meet on a weekly basis, and helped us set a deadline for ourselves each week to finish up some work. We also tried to allocate work based on the skills each of us had. Ru had some good networks and was to contact some Singaporean bloggers she knew and do an interview with them. Karan was good with editing tools and he helped to edit the audio interview I did with Nasya, he also edited transcripts from past interviews, and an old broadcasted news report. I was tasked to design the look and feel of the website as well as the presentation which we used for the presentation. The collaborative contract which we had to hand up at the beginning of the semester also did keep us on the ball with each other’s progress. I think we made some good choices with the work allocation as we were each able to do things we enjoyed and learn from each other as well.

Part of my learning strategy was to make use of some of the research techniques I learnt during the Media Inustries lectures. I particularly remember the lecture on designing surveys. It was helped as I worked on the design of our own survey, being particularly careful on how we phrased questions.

Problems – (Grade: HD)
Overtime, we were still stumped with the term ‘Citizen Journalism’ and it’s relationship with the unique media environment in Singapore. I spoke with my Asian Media lecturer, Terry, and asked if Citizen Journalism can be used on Singapore’s media environment – particularly with the new site (stomp.sg) that promoted user-generated content. From what he said, it seems Citizen Journalism had to be defined in a different way to suit Singapore’s context, and this was usually done on a Phd level – which would totally detract us from our main point of research! Hence we met up again, and decided to modify our topic. From then on we went on researching more broadly on Internet journalism in Singapore.

As most of us in the group had other school commitments, we were sometimes unable to meet up face to face to talk about our project. To counter that, we set up an email correspondence so that we could communicate ideas and keep each other updated on the progress.

Another problem we faced was not knowing how to start with our online surveys. While we understand technically how the survey was to be designed, drawing up questions that could later give useful data was a problem. Especially since we were researching on a fairly new area of journalism in Singapore, we did not have much external information to help us. Hence we had to start from scratch – we first started an online pilot survey to find out how others understood our questions, from then on we created another more detailed survey that went live and was received by 130 Singaporeans.

Connections & intersections – (Grade: HD)
I started on Media Industries half expecting another Media & Meaning type of research class. Well we did have to do research similar to how we studied it in Media and Meaning, but Media Industries was even more than one. In Media and Meaning we were mostly doing research as an individual, but Media Industries has been much more dynamic because we researched in groups, and as a class collective, it was a good ground for discourse each time we came together to bounce off ideas. However, in the initial stages of Media Industries, I had to ask myself why I was made to do research – again, again and again.

I’ve concluded that, RESEARCH, is something we all know how to do, each of us have some kind of skill in research, or would have done research subconsciously. Yet many do not embrace this skill as media students. I confess that it takes a lot of effort to go to the library and to look for academic material. Yet in the course of looking for books related to our study, what I found from the library has been very invaluable information. I’ve come to appreciate academic books in this way.

I’ve learnt that when problems surface, I tend to get worried and panicky, which is not helpful when issues need to be solved urgently. I’ve learnt from my groupmates to learn to solve problems calmly, and this is an important step in learning problem solving.

I’ve always been interesting in citizen journalism and the notion of ‘people power’, which was why this research project was interesting for me. While I do not know how this will be helpful for a future career, I have learnt a lot about citizen journalism, Internet journalism and how this is important and related to Singapore. I’ve understood more about Singapore’s media environment and if I were to embark on a media career I think I am well geared with the history and the understanding of how the media industry runs. Being more in touch with other research techniques, I think I will be a confident research in the future. Lastly, having worked as a group, I think have learnt to work effectively as a team, which is critical to the success of any project!

All in all, Media Industries has been a helpful module, one that I have learnt to appreciate over the weeks, and has helped me gain more knowledge on the topic we have researched. I have also learnt skills on many layers. Awesome!

Related Posts:

Media Industries Update
Singapore’s Media
Is Stomp.sg Citizen Journalism?
Speaker’s Corner – Website Up

Final Grade: HD

We are more or less done with the site for our research on Internet Journ. On a personal note it hasn’t been easy putting this site together. I have been mostly in charge of it, and having not touched site designing for a super long time, putting this together is a real refresher’s. Hopefully there aren’t any broken links and what not…

Check it out here

“Speaker’s corner” is a research project that aims to study the trends of Internet Journalism, and how it has impacted the mainstream media as well as society in Singapore. The research scope is as follows:

Background
Since the independence of Singapore in 1965, the country’s media system has been in tight regulation and state controlled. In the recent years of the new media advent, Singapore saw economic worth in the information technology (IT) section and aimed to become an IT hub for the region. Small city Singapore is almost 100 per cent wired via a broadband-ready hybrid fibre-optic network and has also earned the title of being the most networked societies of the Asia-Pacific region.

Embracing the tools of new media, journalism that used to be traditionally print and broadcast is now an extension of its traditional forms. With the Internet, not only is the role of journalism now changing, the way news is consumed, and produced has also evolved.

Our Aims

  • Detail the history, milestones and growth of the telecommunication and new media industry in Singapore.
  • This project aims to define Internet journalism, its style that is different or similar to the mainstream news and its relationship with its traditional news forms.
  • Study the tools of internet journalism and its users, compare it’s characteristics with mainstream journalism.
  • Understand the social, political and media climates in Singapore to understand how it affects the use of the internet, and vice versa
  • Study the tools of internet journalism and its users, compare it’s characteristics with mainstream journalism.
  • Understand the social, political and media climates in Singapore to understand how it affects the use of the internet, and vice versa (e.g. media control, etc)
  • The impact of the Internet on society and the political climate.
  • The impact of the internet on mainstream news

Scope

  1. The study will investigate the trends of Internet usage in Singapore
  2. The 2nd phase of study will analyze statistical data collected.
  3. Governing bodies’ law amendments in recent years to restrict and/or regulate various forms of Internet journalism, i.e. blogging / podcasting

Straits Times Online Mobile Print

A forgivable question for someone new to the Singapore media to ask is, what is Stomp.sg? Yet even some journalists, media critics and Singaporeans may find it difficult to present a clear definition of stomp.sg. What exactly is the aim of this medium, what does it do, who is the audience?? So, I’m gonna attempt to clear this question up with my own mini-study of the site.

Launched on 14 June 2006, Stomp (acronym for Straits Times Online Mobile Print), is an Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) initiative that integrates 3 mediums to provide on demand, user-generated content: print, the mobile phone and the web. It was also created becuase of the dwindling number of newspaper readers. In the press release launching the stomp platform, this was said:

The Straits Times Editor Han Fook Kwang explained, “In the new media environment, newspapers have to be more than just passive providers of news. They have to engage their readers in areas which appeal to them. We have to provide readers with new avenues to express themselves, to enable them to interact with us, and among themselves.”

“STOMP will enable us to do this. We want STOMP to become a forum of lively discussions – whether the topics are weighty national issues or where to get the best bak chor mee.“

Through this interaction, The Straits Times aims to strengthen its relationship with readers and reach out to non-readers.

Features you may find on stomp.sg (taken from the press release)

Star Blog: For the first time, some of Singapore’s most popular bloggers will come together. We can’t quite tell now what the brew will bring but expect the sum to be more than the individual parts. Starring cyberspace favourites like Xiaxue and Dawn Yang, MTV twin celebs May and Choy, journalists Nick Fang and Leow Ju-Len and the mysterious Kway Teow Ma.

STOMPcast: See video footage of controversial blogger Gayle Goh in action, or the latest fashion show in town, or last night’s wildest party. STOMPcast may not be 24-hour TV but if it’s worth watching, it’ll be in STOMP.

Ask ST: If you want any question answered – and we mean anything under the sun – Ask ST, and we’ll get the answer for you, even if it means getting it from the only expert in town.

Another first for The Straits Times will be the introduction of a new STOMP special number ‘75557’. With this one number, Singaporeans will be able to talk to the newspaper on any topic, or send their thoughts, pictures, news tips and even news clips through SMS and MMS

Some other of the features of stomp include forums, video sharing, videocasts and blogs by celebrities. A category called ‘Stompcast‘ is a section where videocasts created by students of educational institutions are supposedly uploaded, these casts feature issues ranging from speed dating to celebrity insights. Another section in Stomp titled ‘English as it is Broken’ is a site to discuss topics on English usage.

To me, stomp.sg seems to be a cross-over between social networking and community blogging. While most of the content is user-generated, to call it citizen journalism is a bit of a stretch. On a surface level, the outlook of stomp is visual, loud and color-laden, seemingly to attract a young target audience. If it were really citizen journalists discussing ‘weighty national issues’, I would consider the issue of credibility.

Celebrity bloggers like XiaXue write in Starblog, and once again, the issues brought up are far from weighty, bordering on trival in my opinion. The blog updates are mostly about the nitty grittys of the celebrities lives, is there journalism in that?

Ru from my team interviewed Singaporean blogger Vanessa Tan, and this is what she has to say:

As my friend Kevin wrote, Stomp’s approach is top-down rather than bottom-up. Internet journalism should ideally be bottom-up. Stomp’s content also tends to be low-brow rather than on significant issues. Then again, how easy is it to capture significant issues on a camera phone? –> In which case, is Stomp the right medium for citizen journalism? Better to just go to Tomorrow.SG or other blog aggregators for that, then.

Jennifer Lewis, the editor of Stomp, gives a talk about the site:

Singapore’s Media

April 26, 2007

My part of the MI research is to find out more about the Media Industry in Singapore. I must confess, what I really know about Singapore’s media industry is mere head knowledge, so considering I’m Singaporean and studying media I really think i need a better grasp of the Media in Singapore. Going indepth into the history of Singapore’s media is very crucial and is becoming quite interesting too. Here is some interesting information:

Singapore boasts the oldest existing newspaper in East Asia, with The Straits Times being published for more than 150 years (Chang, 1999, p.13). Two large media organizations hold licences to publish the critical newspapers and broadcast radio and television programmes in Singapore. They are the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and MediaCorp Pte Ltd.

SPH publishes 14 newspapers in the 4 major languages – English, Malay, Tamil and Mandarin. The 14 newspapers are:

  • The Straits Times
  • The Sunday Times
  • The Business Times
  • The New Paper
  • The New Paper on Sunday
  • Lianhe Zaobao (Chinese)
  • Lianhe Wanbao (Chinese)
  • My Paper (Chinese)
  • Shin Min Daily News (Chinese)
  • Friday Weekly (Chinese)
  • Thumbs Up (Chinese)
  • Berita Harian (Malay)
  • Berita Minggu (Malay)
  • Tamil Murasu (Tamil)

Apart from newspapers, the SPH publishes more than 90 magazine titles and journals in Singapore and regionally, it owns 2 radio stations – Radio 100.3 FM (Mandarin) and Radio 91.3 FM (English) and owns a 40% stake in MediaCorp Pte Ltd.

Recently, SPH added media arm to it’s growing organization with its 80% stake in MediaBoxOffice (SPH MBO), offering outdoor and ambient advertising platforms all around Singapore. SPH, that requires a board of directors to be approved by the government (Chang, 1999, p.13) is a fully government-owned media body and carries a corporate philosophy to be responsible to building a better nation. In a similar arrangement, the television and radio broadcasts are housed and held under one government-owned media organization, called MediaCorp Pte Ltd.

To keep up with newer digital technologies, the Media Development Authority (MDA), which is a regulatory division of the media industry in Singapore, has since begun trials with High Definition Television (HDTV). Singapore is the first in the Southeast Asia to launch HDTV trial on terrestrial platform.

In October 2006, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong annouced that Singaporeans would enjoy free wireless broadband connectivity at wireless hospots all around Singapore. Public areas like the Central Business District, Orchard Road and various restaurants and shopping centers are now wired and Singaporeans with a laptop and a wireless connection are able to be conncted to the internet.

Last year, wireless@sg was also launched as part of the Next Generation National Infocomm Infrastructure initiative. This initiative offers hundreds of wireless hotspots around Singapore.

 

Media Industries Update

April 24, 2007

Our research project: The political, social and media implications of Internet journalism in Singapore.

Since the week that we started forming groups, Karan and I thought we would research on the implications of the rise of Citizen Journalism in Singapore. Later, Ru joined us too and we embarked on our research planning, mapping out the points we would cover and going about our individual research. 2 weeks into the research our topic and after designing the research brief, the project topic became problematic. Due to the construct of Singapore’s media system, policy and government, it was arguable that the term citizen journalism was difficult to define in Singapore’s context. There were more rounds of tedious research, until Ru suggested researching on Internet Journalism – which gave us more leeway and more resources to base our project on.

We split the work of our project, each of us having a part to play in research, interviews, surveys, a case study and web design. Karan also started a timeline to help us keep track of our progress and so each of us knew the steps we had to take in order to complete the project by the submission date.

My part of the research was to study the media industry in Singapore, the climate and policies. I also studied the impact of Internet Journalism on the mainstream news industry. We’re each also about to interview some experts of the industry this week. A mindmap was also designed to give us direction and some structure with the project:

Internet Journalism Mind Map

Some strategies I have applied in my research include the use of journals, reviews, news articles, speaking with my Asian Cybercultures lecturer Terry Johal, who’s research is more indepth and similar. Some books from the RMIT library was also very useful

Our problem was the initial project topic which was unclear and lacking in direction. Although we all had interests in studying Citizen Journalism and about Singapore we were clear about the term Citizen Journalism and how it was to be applied to our country of research.We also found our progress too slow in the beginning and had realised we had alot more to finish up in these later weeks. After speaking with Terry Johal about our research topic we manged to refine and simplify our project scope and then broke down our research into parts so the three of us could research on areas we were interested in. To keep our progress in check we had a timeline with tasks we had to finish each week before our weekly group meetings.

I believe our project is anchor research in the rise of new media industries in Singapore. In Singapore’s unique media system and government, it is important to find out the capabilities of internet journalism and to see how it can effectively integrate with the mainstream media as well as how Singapore can move on in the new media age.