John

The Star is Whipped By Digital Media–Editor Wants Change?

In News on March 14, 2008 at 6:16 am

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Okay, so maybe the political biasness at The Star could finally tone down a little. I was taken aback a little when Oon highlighted Wong Chun Wai’s column called Denial syndrome must end“, where amongst other things, he called for the mainstream media to have “A serious and honest soul searching to truly feel the pulse of Malaysians. The mainstream newspapers have to learn, quickly, or face being abandoned by their readers.”

Well, it’s about time you stood up. The GE ’08 was revolutionary in more ways than one, especially in the way it highlighted the importance of digital media in delivering the news. The reported 500,000 visitors to Malaysiakini.com on poll night was a big blow to the credibility and efficiency of mainstream newspapers and television.

If Chun Wai and the rest of the newspapers does what he says, i.e., “end their communal slant as they should take into account that the votes for the Opposition came from all races,” this could signal the start for a free, fair and credible mainstream media. Well, okay, so maybe that’s a little bit of a stretch for the next decade or so.

Alternative media, as quick and informative as it is, can lack those elements. The nature of blogging is in itself a personal passion, causing the news reported to not necessarily be”free, fair, and credible.” You can’t rely on RPK–as entertaining as he is, or as Oon would describe him as “full of shit”–to deliver accurate news and credible sources.

Here’s an excerpt of Chun Wai’s piece.

The winds of change have swept through not only the political landscape but also the media environment. It’s time for media practitioners to do some serious soul-searching to stay relevant and accurately feel the pulse of the nation.

The websites of mainstream newspapers had an even tougher time, being overly cautious on accuracy, particularly on results, and not wanting to rely too much on unconfirmed news.

In the end, the alternative media scored better as it did not have to worry too much about accuracy. An example was the newsflash on the purported 14 unopened ballot boxes in Lembah Pantai, implying there would be rigging. The report turned out to be false.

But this election was a wake-up call to the nation, not just to the leadership, but also the media. A serious and honest soul searching is required to truly feel the pulse of Malaysians. The mainstream newspapers have to learn, quickly, or face being abandoned by their readers.

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