Singapore’s media scene is crying out for an independent organisation that can entrench itself in a space that is left vacant by both the mainstream media and the online world. These two groups occupy two extremes in the media space — the MSM that is seen to be too pro-government, the online world that, generally speaking, shoots from the hip with the government as the main target.
There is a vacuum in the middle which nobody has made a serious effort to occupy. It is this middle space that Independent Media group should fill.The editorial direction for this space can be summed up in two words: RESPONSIBLE but ROBUST.
In short, it means a stance that gives a level-headed and balanced view of events in Singapore. It will involve commentaries/stories that will present both sides of the argument but make a sharp and robust conclusion.
To illustrate, let’s say we are writing a column on Lee Hsien Loong’s leadership. It should take a look at his leadership style, his team’s capabilities, the father and party’s baggage, his charmed entry into politics and argue why a leader brought up under such conditions is not the right person to lead the new Singapore.
This way, we are making the robust point that Lee is not the right man for the job but that he is a victim of a Singapore system that has taken its people for granted.
The writing style, the headlines, the tone should all follow this guiding philosophy.
The biggest hurdle to executing this ideology is the journalist. Because Singapore’s media system has trained people to write stories in only one way and because the non-mainstream press has this obsession to whack for the sake of whacking, the responsible-but-robust approach to news will be very new and very difficult to implement.
And let me tell you, it is not easy to execute. You need lots of experience, good writing skills and a dispassionate way of looking at events to make this approach work.