Sunday, September 6, 2009

Media Reporting 2007

Into the third edition of the website annual appraisal of our local media, the list of papers coming under scrutiny is ever increasing with Chinese paper Lian He Zhao Bao now included.

With that, the number of papers now under Media Reporting is 6 and unless one learn Malay or Tamil, this website should have the complete list of Chinese and English papers reporting on local football.

Certainly it is hoped one day the Malay and Tamil papers can be included but it would involve the aid of any reader out there who knows Malay and Tamil.

Until then let looked at this year list from whom one think are the Best to the Worst
  1. Today
  2. Shin Min (Chinese)
  3. Fusion Football Weekly
  4. Lian He Zhao Bao (Chinese)
  5. Straits Times
  6. The New Paper
The third year Today is top and what else have not been written in the past that is needed to showcase the reason why it is so.
This year, Today S-league preview have decided to forgo it former practice of bungling everything together into one part or two parts system with the most coverage on the match of the week and instead have a preview of every match thus giving every teams it maximum attention.
It is a step in the right direction for in order for the S-league to develop even further, coverage of it mid-tier teams are needed and with the daily coverage, as the matches are spread out throughout the week, S-league can also stay in the public eye.
Other than this new development, this year exclusive articles coming out from the MediaCorp paper looked to have also gone up a notch with more news like Courts seeking to buy up Balestier Khalsa and Toa Poyah Stadiums naming rights, S-league in talks with SSC to redevelop and AFC in town to review S-league prospects of ACL 2009 etc.
Such news needed real journalist work for such information are not lying around in front of a laptop and it would have been all too easy for the MediaCorp paper to copy SPH side and waited for the major news network like Reuters to do the work for it for even when coming to SPH favourite EPL, SPH sport journalist or editors barely ever write their own.
That why Today dominance of top place in the media chart is assured for years to come unless SPH is ready to give local sports a place and it sport journalist or editors get to work.
Anybody following Shin Min recently for local sport would have been dazzled by the number of writeup and the size it is doing on the S-league, as it is covering up to 25% of a page, but do not be fooled as this is the dull time for European football.
But they still deserved their second position in the media list and it is certainly not right to whitewash all their efforts for the others below also come out short in certain areas or in all areas for TNP.
As in previous years, Shin Min preview articles written are always worth a look (not forgetting their theories along with statistic that can also be found in the preview)
They also continued to do their share of the coverage of Singapore clubs in the AFC Cup and this year, even with the inclusion of Lian He Zao Bao, they did not slack off so it is commendable.
The best when reading Shin Min though; they do not always talk about the past like the English side of SPH so let go of the past Straits Times and The New paper as the world does not revolve around the 30 million population of Malaysia and Singapore.
But Shin Min main problem is one do not know if they can last the pace as year after year they have shown towards the end of the league campaign their coverage start to go downhill as one can easily missed their work with a palm resting the paper able to cover it up.
Thus, it is a minus and the fact the paper does not to off season coverage as well mean it is well off the pace against leader Today but when against it rivals, it keep second for it coverage abilities.
Having done itself credits last year to finish a close third behind Shin Min, this year saw Football Weekly drop a little further behind after its revamp.
This was a result of it own success as the paper have done itself proud in the coverage of the local scene and with a revamp, it would be assume the paper would take it even further.
While the paper have still done itself credits with it off season coverage with movement of players, players interviews, roundup of league as well as the grassroots from the Prime League to the amateur scene etc, the question was if the paper can extend it even further and that where the limitation of the structure of the paper come into focus.
As Football Weekly is a once weekly paper and without the financial backing of a media giant, it cannot have the kind of exclusive reporting like Today and extensive look into matches like Shin Min thus ensuring it cannot matched up.
Also with the inclusion of a non-football sport section with the revamp, it must be asked if the paper is trying to cover too many angles, as it is no doubt looking to expand into the non-European football months, with football now an ongoing affair year out, for that mean they have to spend as much effort to keep abreast of the update of other sports and as the non-football sport section does not touch on the local scene it is not actually promoting or conductive to the local sport scene and it may be doing the opposite with it fighting for space with the local football Football Weekly is promoting.
So have Football Weekly reached it peak already and can go no further, that question like the Shin Min question can only be answered the very next time a roundup of local media reporting of local scene is done again.
The newcomer to this year media list is SPH Chinese paper Lian He Zao Bao and already, it is placed above the SPH other two English papers which one can say is right.
In truth, the Chinese paper articles do not have the extensive reporting of Today and non of the juicy tales or variety Shin Min contained yet it is highly valued by this website.
It win out on one important point the website considered very important which is it consistency coverage of the local league along and it commitment for it writeup constantly covered up to 25% of a page and Lian He Zao Bao do not covered more than 2 pages on sport often.
That why, while one may have doubts if the other Chinese paper Shin Min can last the season, especially with the English League starting in August, one can assumedly believed Lian He Zao Bao can go all the way.
This is a respect of local sport for coverage of the S-league does not start in late May - when the English season end - and end in August - when the English football season start - which is how one suspect the other papers, other than Today, treat the local scene.
Also, since the start of the local season when it coverage start, the paper have not wavied from it commitment and this include the league teams participation in the Asian arena - the AFC Cup - showing there is good reason to believe Lian He Zao Bao can go all the way.
A good start and with a bit of variety in their reporting, it should have matched Shin Min but at the same time questions will have to ask about the off-season for this is the time most local media go missing and if Lian He Zao Bao can fill up that gap, it would be prefect although one may be asking too much from a SPH paper to do that.
Last year ‘blinking light’ Straits Times is not blinking as much this year but it is not shining at full strength either.
After an amazing coverage of the Singtel League Cup where almost every game was covered, the paper have stabilized down for the still ongoing S-league with a weekly coverage of a match of the week which is usually the LIVE game of the week.
This may be an improvement over last year but considering the vast recourse at it disposal and the fact the paper like to proclaim itself as a national paper that is upholding it social responsibilities (A fact mention in last year Media reporting as well) it can do a better job as it scope on news of local sports is still quite limited.
Equally irking is the speed which the paper come out with the news on local sports with the recent announcement of the National Team and Under 23 for the upcoming internationals a prime example.
FAS had announced the squad on Friday yet it took Straits times until the following Tuesday before any mention of it can be found and comparing this with Today, who came out with the news the next day, one has to ask what was Straits Times doing for the 72 hours it took them to print the news.
This is the 21th century and unless SPH intend to be like the Iranian club Esteghlal who upon being thrown out of ACL for non-delivery of an entry form claimed they do not know what an e-mail or the fax machine is then SPH should not have taken that long to print that article.
Or maybe SPH employees in the sport department just cannot work first without either Reuters or AP writing up the article and they just do the copying and editing job.
That could also explained why the flagship of SPH is so bad when it come to local sports as they have to depend on themselves and that where their true quality of journalism on sport is revealed and the answer is not what they want to hear as they often showed off their awards in journalism.
The light is not ‘blinking’ as much this year but still ‘blinking’ and in need of a change to a 21th century light bulb if Straits Times ever want to get out of second last.
Let not waste too much or too much effort on this as the paper itself does not spend any effort on local sports and to an extent their editors must be proud of it for they celebrated they only covered foreign football.
But the sense of hypocorism is not lost when the paper recently ran an article showing the lacked of local willingness to aid local sportsmen in their quest and how much the sportsmen families have to come to their aid to give them the chance to try out for their dream.
TNP only need to look at the mirror each morning and they see the reasons why as they have put down local sport as much as possible in their time in existent – the way they treated netball a prime example for when Singapore won Asian Cup they treated it well but once it was down they called it a disgrace for sending the team to the Commonwealth Games – and some of their previous article barely disguised they only covered local sports because they were given an assignment.
If they were to give an office in London now they will surely jump for joy for their bodies is in Singapore but soul and heart are not.
Last and fully deserved

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