Thursday, November 29, 2007

What's up with the forum?

Is there something wrong with the Straits Times forum?

How newsworthy are the letters? People supporting/praising the establishment, not that that is a bad thing. A man recounting his bad experience with acupuncture. Another talk about choosey young HDB flat owners.

Does the dip in quality of letters have any correlation with the time of the year? Is there nothing much to talk about in the last couple of months of the year?

I may be wrong, but I think that as the year reaches an end, most of the regular writers to the Straits Times forum are no longer published, given if the myth of maximum 3 publications per person per year holds true.

The Straits Times has no obligation to any letter-writer and I guess even if there is a quota, a quota is still necessary, because people will think the frequent publishment of letters by particular writers informs of some bias. To eliminate any suspicion, a quota is thus justified.

Unfortunately, it will always be a mysterious organisation, just like some/many/most/all (pick one) government organisations. The media agency acts on public interest and for nation-building, yet it is not transparent with its journalistic protocol, guidelines and editorial policy.

You represent the public, yet you do not provide the public with these information. You want to be socially responsible, yet you do not serve society with the information of your dealings and policies. You do not mention what are the OB markers. Public interest primarily revolves about transparency. Is there transparency?

Has the definition of "public interest" been perverted by this newspaper?

Has the definition of "truth" been perverted by this newspaper? Who's truth are we following?

I would love to know the entire written, unwritten, spoken and unspoken editorial policy of the Straits Times and Singapore Press Holdings. I am a member of the public. This is my interest. What is going to happen?

It is a paper we all see/read everyday, yet we know so little about what goes on behind it.


mr.udders said...

Use that as your thesis lah.

Uncovering the myth of the quota imposed on the number of letters from a single person published by the ST Forum.

Significance: something to do with policing and control by the State?

Though it would involve a shitload of data-mining, it's quite relevant to your major, and it's also something you'd be interested in.

If you do it please acknowledge me hor.

I'm serious.

Sam Ho said...

With the ethics review board around, I do not think this study will ever occur.

Furthermore, the editorial policy of the Straits Times is not for public eyes. So if it really became public for some reason or another, it is a breach. And ethics review boards don't like breaches.

Son of a breach!

mr.udders said...

My friend, you must think better, think meta.

What I meant was to go and sift through the forum pages of the ST for maybe the last few years or so.

Note down which letter was published when and how many times, to see if your 'myth' really does hold true.

Or perhaps other trends might appear, I don't know.

Faham, tak?

Sam Ho said...

I think getting it from the horse's mouth is a lot better than making inferences. Of course, sometimes the horse doesn't tell the truth.

That's thinking better. Inference is meta, no need for it here.