The Straits Times


The Straits Times

Infobox_Newspaper
name = The Straits Times


caption =
type = Daily newspaper
format = Broadsheet
foundation = July 15, 1845
ceased publication =
price = S$0.80 at newsstands, S$0.70 for subscription| owners = Singapore Press Holdings
publisher =
editor = Han Fook Kwang
language = English
political =
circulation = 388,500 in August 2006cite web | title = The Straits Times | publisher = Singapore Press Holdings | url = http://www.sph.com.sg/newspapers/straitstimes.html | accessdate = 2008-06-01] | headquarters = SIN
ISSN =
website = http://www.straitstimes.com

"The Straits Times" (Chinese: 海峡时报) is an English language broadsheet newspaper based in Singapore, currently owned by the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH).It is the country's highest-selling paper in any language, with a daily circulation of 388,500 in August 2006. As of 2008, it has an estimated readership of 1.23 million.

"The Straits Times" was established on July 15, 1845, during British colonial rule, and may be considered the successor to various other newspapers such as the "Singapore Chronicle". After Singapore left Malaysia in 1965, the paper became more focused on the island, leading to the creation of the "New Straits Times" in Kuala Lumpur.

Currently, the paper is perhaps the chief general news source for the country's English-language residents. SPH publishes two other English language dailies - the broadsheet "Business Times" and "The New Paper" tabloid. "Today" is a free tabloid published by MediaCorp Press targeting working adults.

It is a member of the Asia News Network.

Coverage

"The Straits Times" functions with 16 bureaus and special correspondents in major cities worldwide. The paper itself is published in three sections: the main section focuses on Asian and international news, with sub-sections of columns and editorials. The "Home" section focuses on local news, together with the Forum (letters to the press), sports and finance pages. A separate lifestyle, entertainment and the arts section is titled "Life!". There is no crossword puzzle.

Currently, the newspaper publishes three weekly pull-outs ("Digital Life," "Mind Your Body," and "Urban," on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, respectively). All three pull outs are printed in tabloid format.

The newspaper also publishes special editions for primary schools and secondary schools in Singapore. The primary school version contains a special pull out, titled "Little Red Dot" and the Secondary School version contains a pull out titled "in".

"The Straits Times" is the only English language newspaper with an active Internet forum in Singapore. A separate edition, "The Sunday Times", is published on Sundays.

traits Times Interactive

Launched in 1995, the Straits Times Interactive was free of charge and granted access to all the sections and articles found in the print edition. On the 15 March 2005, the online version began requiring registration and after a short period became a paid-access-only site. Currently only people who subscribe to the online edition can read all the articles on the Internet, including the frequently updated "Latest News" section.

A free section, featuring a selection of news stories, is currently available at the site. Regular podcasts, vodcasts and twice daily (midday and evening updates) radio news bulletins are also available for free online.

The Straits Times' decision to make its online edition almost entirely subscription funded is in contrast to other traditional newspapers' online editions, which often only charge for certain sections (such as archives) or for digital editions. However, the latest AC Nielsen Net Ratings figures show that The Straits Times Interactive has attracted about five million page views a month since May 2006, making it the top online daily in the country which is read by more than 4% of the adult population monthly - largely professionals and executives.

Community programmes

The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund

The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund is a community fund set up by The Straits Times to ensure that less well-off pupils are adequately well-fed in schools. They are given either S$30 (for Primary School students) or S$50 (for Secondary School students) every month, to ensure that they have enough pocket money for their recess (breaks during school hours).

The Straits Times Media Club

The Straits Times Media Club is a youth programme to encourage Youth readership and interest in News and Current Affairs. Schools will have to subscribe for at least 500 copies, and will receive their papers every Monday. A Youth Newspaper, IN, is slotted in together with the main paper for the students.

The Straits Times School of Rock Competition

The Straits Times School of Rock Competition was incepted in 2005. Budding young bands with members aged between 13-18 compete to be the ultimate Youth Band in Singapore. The finals of the competition was held at a local shopping mall in small town, Bishan: Junction 8 on the 31st July 2005.

The band 3dash1 won against the 206 bands that signed up for the competition. 3dash1 comprises the following members: Muhammad Ashik, 18, from Singapore Polytechnic, bassist Andhika, 17, from Nanyang Polytechnic and drummer Mohammed Nashir, 19, from ITE Simei. The band received prize money of S$5,000 (US$3,008), and was offered a management contract from artiste management company, Music & Movement.

The Straits Times National Schools Newspaper Competition

The National Schools Newspaper Competition started its inaugural year in 2005. Although 20 schools qualified for the semi-finals based on their school newsletters, only 10 schools made it to the finals. These 10 secondary schools then participated in the finals, a 24-hour challenge held at the SPH News Centre on 12-13 December 2005. The aim was to produce a 4 page, A3 sized newsletter within that time.

Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) beat 9 other schools to emerge as the "Gold" (1st) prize winner, taking home S$5,000 cash and a trophy. The team consisted of Timothy Fang, 15, Whang Yihang, 15, Michael Davies, 15, Mervyn Lau, 14, and Ian Yap, 14. Raffles Institution and CHIJ (St. Nicholas) came in "Silver" (2nd) and "Bronze" (3rd) winners respectively.

In 2006, the second year of the competition, Victoria School defeated the other 9 schools emerging as champions ("Gold" prize winner) taking home S$3000 cash and a Thinkpad x41 tablet PC. CHIJ (St. Nicholas) and Raffles Institution came in "Silver" (2nd) and "Bronze" (3rd) winners respectively.

Criticism

"The Newspaper and Printing Presses Act of 1974" requires all newspapers to be publicly listed into both ordinary and management shares, with management shares having 200 times the voting rights of ordinary shares and approval from the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts needed for any management share transfers. Hence, past chairpersons of Singapore Press Holdings have all been civil servants. In particular, SPH's former executive president Tjong Yik Min served as the head of the Internal Security Department from 1986 to 1993, and prominent political columnist and current political editor Chua Lee Hoong and as well as ex-journalists Irene Ho and Susan Sim are all former ISD employees. [cite news | url = http://www.sfdonline.org/Link%20Pages/Link%20Folders/01Pf/aus210601.html | title = Climate control in the Singapore Press | author = Eric Ellis | publisher = The Australian | date = 21 Jun 2001 | format = reprint]

Cherian George, a former art editor of the paper, has given an insightful description of press workings in Singapore. He stated in a convention conference in 1998 at the University of California, Berkeley: [cite speech | title = Newspapers: Freedom from the press | author = Cherian George | date = April 1998 | location = University of California, Berkeley | format = reprint | url = http://www.singapore-window.org/80402cg.htm]

... the PAP power is hegemonic power, in the Gramscian sense: it is a perfect blend of coercion and consent ... Singapore's newspapers are, at least in part, willing partners, of the state ... the PAP did not suppress the press in order to cover up corruption or hide its mistakes. It did so out of a sincere belief that the press as an institution had a narrow and short-term view of the public interest, and that it could obstruct good government. Singapore's press model thus reverses the equation of your First Amendment. Here, the press, seen as the pure expression of democracy, is protected from the government, which, despite having been elected democratically, is assumed automatically by your political culture to have undemocratic tendencies. In the Singapore model, the elected government is the expression of democracy, and it is protected from the press, which is unelected and therefore undemocratic ...

"the 'freedom from the press' model does mean that newspapers must operate within much narrower perimeters than their counterparts in most parts of the world. It must accept its subordinate role in society...The tone of stories must be respectful towards the country's leaders. They can be critical, but they cannot ridicule or lampoon.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has ranked Singapore 147th out of 166 countries in its second annual World Press Freedom Ranking in 2004. In 2005 Singapore's rating changed when it was ranked 140th by the same organization. The rating reversed in 2006, when it was ranked 146th out of 168 countries, close to its 2004 ranking by RSF.

Lee Boon Yang, the Singapore Minister of Communication, Information and the Arts publicly protested against the basis on which Singapore was given the ranking. Instead, he asserted that the local press was running on a "different media model" from many of the countries gauged in the RSF rankings that has "evolved out of our (Singapore's) special circumstances" and was being "non-adversarial" towards the government. [http://www.singaporedemocrat.org/articlersf.html] George Yeo, when he held the same portfolio as Lee, also stressed that the media was not to be a "fourth estate" in ruling the country (presumably because the media lacks the mandate from the electors); instead, the role of the press was to aid "nation building", in view of Singapore's heterogeneous society and peculiar vulnerabilities as a small nation.

Owing to political sensitivities, the "Straits Times" is not sold in neighbouring Malaysia, and the Malaysian newspaper "New Straits Times" is not sold in Singapore. At one point, during an international dispute over the sale of water, the newspaper was banned in Malaysia.

Editors and notable personalities

*Patrick Daniel (Editor-in-Chief, English & Malay Newspapers Division, SPH)
*Han Fook Kwang (Editor)
*Alan John (Deputy Editor)
*Felix Soh (Digital Media Editor)
*Bertha Henson (Associate Editor)
*Zuraidah Ibrahim (Associate Editor and Foreign Editor)
*Chua Lee Hoong (Political Editor)
*Janadas Devan (Review Editor)
*Carl Skadian & Dominic Nathan (News Editor)
*Ignatius Low (Money Editor)
*Helen Chia (Life! Editor)
*Sumiko Tan (Sunday Times Editor & Supervising Editor, Digital Life, Mind Your Body and Urban)
*Yap Koon Hong (Forum Editor)
*Kong Soon Wah (Former Forum Editor, now Copy Editor of my paper)
*Mathew Pereira (Acting Sports Editor)
*Joanne Lee (Straitstimes.com Editor)
*Angelina Choy (Art Editor)
*Mike Sargent (Picture Editor)
*Grace Chng (Digital Life Editor)
*Tee Hun Ching (Urban Editor)
*Gloria Chandy (Mind Your Body Editor)
*Susan Long (Saturday Special Report Editor/Journalist)
*Dengcoy Miel (Cartoonist)
*Ching Cheong (Ex-Chief China Correspondent (Now Senior Writer based in Hong Kong) - Formerly held by Chinese authorities on espionage charges)

ee also

* "New Straits Times"
* Singapore Press Holdings

Notes

References

*Thio, "HR and the Media in Singapore" in HR and the Media, Robert Haas ed, Malaysia: AIDCOM 1996 69 at 72-5.


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