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Sakmongkol ak 47

ariff.sabri@gmail.com

Monday, 20 June 2011

Trouble in our journalistic citadel?

I don't particularly like to butt in the affairs of other people. Its pathetic however to see the circulation of NST dropping to around 73,000. Its core business must be selling news. If more revenue is generated from running ads, then NST must get to ready to spin off that advertising bureau and make some people rich.
I read the observations by the blogger uppercaise. Now, I never had the honor to meet this blogger. In so far as writing is involved I think Mr uppercaise is a grammar freak. I mean that in an admiring way. He should be a top rate English teacher. His expertise is much needed to give English language courses to government officers and airline workers. You would want to throw up when hearing the stewardess declaring through the pa system- weighing becoming wayjing and baked becoming bay-ked pronounced as its spelt!. Horrors!
Speaking of horrors, the Malay reading public prefers ghost stories and tales of the supernatural and  of the occult. That is why the circulation of the Mestika Magazine outstrips that of NST. That despite, NST being the roof under which journalistic luminaries park themselves never wanting to go out. Mestika carry out a lot of ghost stories.  

The following figures I take from Mt Uppercaise's article. I am assuming he is a male person.


• NST sells only 73,000 on the street
• Berita Minggu loses 90,000 copies over three years

Sales of all four traditional titles are in decline
• Berita Minggu dropped 30% drop since 2007;
• New Straits Times lost 26%
• Berita Harian and New Sunday Times both fell by 22%

NST sells only 73,000 on the street
The figures I was shown do not include bulk sales — copies sold in bulk to corporate sponsors who give the copies to schools or sales to hotels and other organizations, all at the wholesale rate. Of all newspapers, the NST depends on bulk sales the most. The official ABC figures for 2009 show that bulk sales made up 26% of NST circulation — 28,000 copies.
If bulk sales remained unchanged at 28,000 then the NST managed only 73,000 in open sales. Sad.
• The 'good' news: Metro is soaring ahead

The two Metro titles are now far ahead of the pack and the senior titles seemed to be in terminal decline.


The other paper that sells is Metro. Metro dishes out sex stories which like ghost stories attract a lot of readership.
I have yet to come to my point. My point is this, if ghost stories are good, that would imply ghosts and ghostly characters making their appearance in tabloids, should in theory, help increase the sales of the tabloids where they reside. That is a reasonable deduction, isn't it?
My question then is, why does NST suffer in circulation despite the congregation of so many ghostly characters and journalistic ghosts of the past? We have recycled journalists who were kicked our under a previous regime given positions in NST but seemed to not be adding value to the newspaper.
The answer it seemed is that these ghostly characters have nothing to add further. Being recycled elements they are only capable of churning out the same stories again and again. They are of course legends but only so in their own minds or in the minds of a coterie of pliant supporters who are more interested in gathering around the so called luminaries in happy hours pursuits.
NST has to shake up its entire organization so that over ripened fruits will fall down. They belonged to the old school where once, the flow of information was one directional. You write and the public soaked up never having the chance to counter argue. Now, with the internet, your legendary stature built during that Jurassic age cannot stand competition. Those untrained in journalistic discipline can often write better and out-think you.
I am afraid a person like Mr Uppercaise will find it tough going in such an environment.

15 comments:

zorro 20 June 2011 at 19:00  

Dato Sak, you made reference to some extingjuished journalists still in service. Uppercaise belongs to those DISTINGUISHED hacks of yore. His, like yours, is a daily must read for me.

sakmongkol AK47 20 June 2011 at 19:33  

zorro,
i think it was last year or the year before, uppercaise showed his grammar freak side by pointing out some errors in my article. from then on, i developed respect for this maestro of the English language.

nstman,  20 June 2011 at 20:07  

Uppercaise should be our education minister, instead of Muhi. The likes of him are dwindling.

OneMalaysian,  20 June 2011 at 20:42  

Dear Sakmongkol

The NST is a totally discredited newspaper. That is why it is losing circulation and readership. The Star is no better, but they seem to do better commercially and actually makes a lot of money. It that sense they are cleverer than the NST bunch, not journalistically, but commercially. But I shall not delve into the reasons why. It is not important, unless one is a shareholder in the NST.

But having 2 discredited mainstream print newspapers does nothing for our democracy. In fact it speaks directly to a lack of it. A democracy must give voice to the people, not just once every 4 or 5 years at the ballot box, but constantly through an independent, vigilant and vocal press. This is to ensure that the government that we elect is doing its job properly. But instead of being our ferocious guard dog, the local press has become the docile lap dog of the government, printing verbatim what ministers and officials say without comment or criticism.

Luckily for us we now have the blogosphere where Sakmongkol resides with the other bloggers who feed us with real news, views and analyses. And this is all for free. So it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out why the NST is losing circulation and money. Keep writing.

Anonymous,  20 June 2011 at 21:30  

What do they expect when their papers are turned into party propaganda sheets? Anyway, no loss to the public. I cancelled my NST 5 years ago and not missing a thing. Only those who loves propaganda stuff and work of fiction still read them.

ben 20 June 2011 at 21:45  

You can have my vote to be the NST's Editor-in-Chief...I bet it sales will sky-rocket!

donplaypuks 20 June 2011 at 22:50  

'NST has to shake up its entire organization so that over ripened fruits will fall down."

Ditto for 1 Malaysia.

dpp
we are all of 1 Race, the Human Race

bruno,  20 June 2011 at 23:34  

Dato,Uppercaise should be tutoring our EM Muhyiddin in the English Language.Muhyiddin speaks kampong Malay.Kampong Malay was permitted in the UK in the seventies but forbidden nowadays.Cheers.

Anonymous,  20 June 2011 at 23:35  

Elok lah tiga ekor ni berkawan! Bak kata orang tiga monyet berkawan!

bruno,  21 June 2011 at 02:38  

Dato,The mainstream newspapers are under the BN parties.These newspapers carried only one sided pro-BN news and are read by BN supporters.You can see that the sales are going downhill because no sane people like to read news that always promote propaganda of the BN.For readers to always be bombarded with one sided news is an insult to one's intelligence.It also show that BN's support is waning.

zaidi,  21 June 2011 at 07:42  

Dato' Sak

I stopped subscribing the mainstream newspaper eons ago. My daily reading are the blogs and weekly update of Harakah. I hate the lack of critical views in the mainstream newspapers. If we look back to now we will surely say that this is the darkest year of Malaysian journalism.

Anonymous,  21 June 2011 at 08:22  

My oh my, u guys are really getting off each other isn't it? Keep it up, blogs for self adulation and back slapping is common amongst PKR lovers!

Anonymous,  21 June 2011 at 15:53  

I especially like the comment from Zaidi, who hates the lack of critical views in MSM but admits to reading Harakah.
Come on lah. Lack of critical views, as you say it, translates to lack of criticism of BN. Do you see Harakah being critical of PAS or any other PR party?
I'm no BN supporter, but I'm not a PR supporter either. All the politicians we have are useless.
As for all you fellows who don't read MSM, aren't you now also only getting one side of the story, that of the opposition? That's why it's important to read both MSM and opposition media. Oh, and of course alternative media like this

Anonymous,  22 June 2011 at 09:49  

wrt. Muhyiddin, why am I not surprise when he hires a lady lap dog in the form of Datuk Ainon Mohamed as his press secretary. Her logic is skewed and she answers to, the highest bidder, with no respect for truth nor journalistic ethics... it is very hard for the nation to progress forward when we have characters like these calling the shots, we're going downhilllll.......

Anonymous,  22 June 2011 at 14:47  

Ok. I am now reminded to cancel my subs for Mingguan Malaysia. Sunday Times? There is still "Cars & Bikes" to consider.

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