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People’s paper loses sight of the people

Mon 2011-May-23 @ +08 09:55:15 am

From the ghouls who trade in broken lives…

There were gloomy faces at the Star on Sunday, beaten by the NST and Sin Chew Daily to the most dramatic photo of the Hulu Klang Langat landslide tragedy. Tragedies bring out the best and the worst in people. But for the press, it’s just a great day for news. Tragedies are but grist for the mill: a chance to turn out dramatic prose, dramatic headlines and dramatic layouts.

It turned out to be a study in contrasts at the news-stand.

On the New Sunday Times, a restrained front page (above) let the dramatic photo and accompanying headline tell the story. of other people’s pain, served tastefully, even elegantly, to the voyeur in all. A showcase of technical finesse built on broken lives.

The Star’s wraparound lost impact by comparison: the large site photo and the jarring mismatched headline put the focus on the physical effects of the slide. Was it the people or the property that had been Saved After 8 Hours? You would have to read the fine print to know. The people, of the People’s Paper, have faded away to the fringe. Money and property come first, it almost shrieked, like the big business enterprise the paper has become.

Here’s how the others played it:


A lookalike wraparound front-page for the Berita Harian


Sin Chew also chose to focus on the rescue, with a not-quite lookalike front page as the NST’s; their photo was weaker.


Guang Ming focused on the human face of sorrow.


China Press took to the gory side


Sinar Harian produced a one-page version of the Berita Harian wraparound


Kosmo had a different news angle but a jumble of photos

Utusan Malaysia was sold out at the news-stand (in a not-Utusan-friendly neighbourhood). The few remaining copies of the others probably showed their over-optimism in bumping up their print order.


(Tech note: barrel distortion in the photos above caused by using a 21mm lens at close range)

© 2011 uppercaise. All rights reserved

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7 Comments
  1. nstman permalink
    Mon 2011-May-23 @ +08 12:46:10 pm 12:46

    Everybody knows what the NST stands for. What you see is what you get. It is a grovelling paper with no compunctions. It has and will always be in thrall to the machinations of Umno Nazis. It is a disgusting rag run by sycophantic Umno acolytes which has lost whatever shred of respect even among die-hard readers. Star is no different. The only difference is there are still readers who still believe in lies. Whereas NST does not disguise their role as a mouthpiece of Umno, Star project themselves as the people’s paper, riding their moral high horse to undermine NST. Actually, Star need not undermine NST as NST have already slit their throats thanks to people like Ahmad Talib and Johan Jaafar.

    • Patrick permalink
      Mon 2011-May-23 @ +08 18:09:33 pm 18:09

      How this became a discussion over UMNO, I’ve nary an idea.

    • uppercaise permalink*
      Tue 2011-May-24 @ +08 05:56:58 am 05:56

      don’t mind them, it’s entertainment. they’ll pounce on anything even remotely connected.

  2. charlie chan permalink
    Mon 2011-May-23 @ +08 21:34:03 pm 21:34

    where is the boss PERKASA. come and help lah, people are suffering oh PERKASA cant you see tragedy PERKASA

  3. draken permalink
    Tue 2011-May-24 @ +08 11:55:24 am 11:55

    All gone to the dogs. The NST is engaging international design guru Mario Garcia to turn things around and The Star has done another revamp. Like the French say, the more change you do the more things remain the same.

    • uppercaise permalink*
      Thu 2011-May-26 @ +08 01:13:45 am 01:13

      plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. http://is.gd/G8J2d6
      Poor Mario. Wait, not poor, just unfortunate. No wait, not unfortunate, not with another big-name (?) title to add to the portfolio, plus some pocket money.
      Excitement for Fred and Balan and David. Big buzz around corporate dining areas. Big marketing blitz, much uplifting of executive spirits, being Seen To Be Doing Something. End result: wait for the ABC returns next quarter.
      The Star didn’t do a revamp, just a rejig. Shuffling of assets. A rebranding. Kidz rulz ze roost. So long as it looks good, what do those bums, the politicos, know anyway?
      The two papers aren’t trying to sell to the masses, they want to sell to the agencies, that’s all.

  4. nstman permalink
    Thu 2011-May-26 @ +08 12:49:14 pm 12:49

    NST think that being dressed up garishly like Lady Gaga can do the trick. At the end of the day, perceptions count for a lot. And NST has a mountain to climb when it comes to the perception that it is Suara Umno in disguise. Now that their circulation has dropped below 100000, another big drop after this mother of all revamps will surely make them think twice about another costly venture. I dont think so. Knowing NST, I think they will steel themselves for another revamp, and another revamp. For this, we salute the Grand Old Lady. Never give up.

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