NST milks audio gimmick for the kids’ paper
Well, well, how about that. NST marketing has flung back the “kids’ paper” jibe with a creamy splash: their latest gimmick is an embedded audio chip of three stories read aloud, sponsored by a milk powder company. Frisco appears to have struck a good deal, including a puff by group editor Syed Nadzri Harun. At NST Online this morning, there was a popover, and three mentions on the front page, above and below the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, before they were replaced as the news cycle moved on.
It does look to be just a teeny bit of an over-reaction to being called a kids’ paper when circulation sales dropped below 90,000 (now below 70,000) with another third comprising bulk sales mainly to schools.
But to be fair, it’s just realistic marketing to make lemonade when handed a lemon, although for a moment, the headline First talking newspaper had me believing that the NST had repented and produced an audio-edition for the blind as a social cause.
Alas, it was merely to milk more ad revenue with another technical gimmick, after doing a 3-D stunt on Nov 11.
The question does arise* — must the group editor get involved in product marketing?
Not a sound practice, I should say. (No one seems to be listening though: should I turn up the volume?)
Malaysian journalism is already in parlous times without leading newspaper companies routinely having their papers’ most senior journalists involved in marketing gimmicks, nor when a milk company gimmick is featured online as a “top story”. Syed Nadzri is being a good corporate player, no doubt, but NSTP management has forgotten that editors are journalists not salesmen, and that editors should be producing journalism, not marketing. (See » 20 things you can do for a new free press)
Perhaps corporate management, with one eye on the PM’s Department and one eye on the stock exchange, can no longer tell the difference.
After all, if you’ve been selling political puffery and calling it news, you might as well publish marketing puffery as news, and be completely cynical about what line of business you’re in.
And as it’s about milk (sometimes a by-product of rearing cows, according to reliable sources), maybe the NST will score points by burning both ends of this candle.
*Yes, dear politicians, questions always arise, no matter how often you try to deny or dismiss them.
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