Singapore—The country’s Deputy Prime Minister dropped by the office of Singapore Press Holdings’ (SPH) News Centre on Monday morning, November 11, his first visit to the home of The Straits Times (ST) since the office underwent renovations earlier in the year.
Mr Heng, who is also the country’s Finance Minister, affirmed his trust in mainstream media after the visit, saying that its role has remained the same.
He wrote in a Facebook post, “Although the media landscape has been irrevocably changed with the advent of digital technology, the role of mainstream media remains the same – to be a trusted and reliable news source for audiences.”
Furthermore, DPM Heng expressed gladness at meeting the staff of ST, whom, he says, are committed to truth and accuracy in reporting the news.
“Glad to have met many passionate staff who are committed to being accurate in their news reporting – a current challenge because fake news is proliferating globally and has been often used as a tool to divide rather than unite people.”
Aside from ST, one of the biggest English newspapers in the country, Singapore Press Holdings also publishes The New Paper, Lianhe Zaobao 联合早报, Lianhe Wanbao 联合晚报, Shin Min Daily News 新明日报, Berita Harian Singapura, Tamil Murasu, among others, as the Deputy Prime Minister writes in his post.
He closed his post expressing the hopes that Singapore Press Holdings will continue to stay the course.
“As the progress of technology continues to change the way we get our information, there will be opportunities to tap on but also new challenges to overcome. I hope that SPH will constantly innovate to remain competitive and relevant while staying grounded to what their core values are – embracing change and upholding integrity.”
A report from ST on Mr Heng’s visit says that the Deputy Prime Minister, who was accompanied by Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran and Minister of State for Manpower and National Development Zaqy Mohamad, met editors and journalists from ST, Berita Harian, Tamil Murasu and Lianhe Zaobao during the course of his visit, which lasted for three hours, and wherein they talked about innovations the different publications are making so that readers would be continually engaged, ranging from data-analytics tools to training for journalists to be comfortable on camera.
DPM Heng commented on the importance of catching the attention of the very young and helping them become consumers of news when he learned about SPH’s initiatives targeting young people—such as ST’s Little Red Dot, which is geared toward primary school pupils, and ST’s IN and Zaobao’s Zbcomma, whose target audience is secondary school students.
In one of the photos the Deputy Prime Minister posted on his Facebook account, he took note of a wall covered in post-its and wrote, “Stepped into The Straits Times’ newsroom with S Iswaran, Zaqy Mohamad and ST Editor-in-Chief Warren Fernandez, and this panel of post-it notes caught my eye. The digital graphics team is already planning for the upcoming GE, whenever that will be!”/ -TISG