Stunning Visuals on TV, Great Graphics in The Straits Times

Commentaries Shallow in Both

As the historic summit between US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, got under way this morning in Singapore, it was easy to see the good television coverage in the local channels, with brilliant 4k visuals of beautiful Sentosa and Hotel Capella, the venue.

The commentaries, though, appeared to be shallow. For better sophistication, viewers could, however, switch to international channels which air their own anti-Trump prejudices. They may not offer live streaming as the local channels do- I did not check them out as I had to head to the office where I may get to watch it at least sporadically.

Newspaper readers in a country patronising media monopoly have no such option as they just have to make do with The Straits Times. As with the visual delight from TV, the print medium has been delivering great graphics and information-packed supplements.

They make up for the mediocre reporting from its big band of reporters and editors. Today’s edition had scores of reports from different local writers, many of them were too repetitive, with conjectures and their own pedestal analysis.

The Straits Times has in the past held the view that Singaporeans like simple reports – the underlying message being that they cannot understand complex writing and only kindergarten-style reporting will cut. To me, that is gross underestimation of the 100% English-literate local population. Worse, it amounts to unfairly putting the blame for their own core inefficiencies on readers.

What is lost is that good writing need not be complex reporting.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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