Have been busy and distracted by loss of phone number and email data lately to write proper posts, so he’s a preview of posts to come. These are notions percolating in the Unspun mind, half thought out ideas that need to be fleshed out, semi-formed arguments that have to be substantiated but Unspun thinks they might be of interest to the readers of this blog.
The first is a discussion Unspun recently had with the missus on whether, now that we have the Jakarta Post and the Jakarta Globe, we should now subscribe to two English language newspapers, or subscribe to just one, and if we do so which one should we drop.
Our hearts are with the Jakarta Post. They have been around long enough and do try. There are also many friends there. Our hearts are definitely not with the Jakarta Globe for one main reason: it’s owned by one of the nastiest pieces of work, if you go by the overwhelming accounts in the business community. The prejudice within our hearts is that sooner or later he will not be able to resist meddling with the editorial as his henchmen are already trying to do, so will prove the critics right in that it is a paper without integrity.
But fact is so far, the Globe, is doing quite a good job. Unspun‘s journo friends, not the hoi polloi of the Press corps but the few deserving of respect, mostly think that the Globe is doing a better job than the Post of covering Indonesia, considering the huge challenge it faces as a newcomer in a maket wafer thin with competent local reporters who can write in English and think critically. The Globe still has a long way to go, but for the starting stage, it seems to be holding its ground and if you can extrapolat such matters, would be poised to give the Post a run for its money if things remain unchanged.
The Globe certainly looks better and Unspun has a sneaky suspicion, which is still to be verified, that the Globe has covered some stories that the Post hasn’t even begun to touch. The focus of the stories are also sharper. The Post, in the meantime, seems to be either oblivious of thi development, is in denial or genuinely believes that they are still doing better as we do not seem to see any changes for the better since the Globe started publication.
Unspun hopes he is wrong about all this but its getting to the stage where old loyalties are being tested.
The second issue that’s been brewing in the Unspun mind is the state of the Malaysian blogosphere. The idea that keeps bubbling up is that the Golden Age of Malaysian Blogs may have passed. There was a time when the Malaysian blogosphere elicited excitement. It presented a very vibrant and dynamic alternative source of information and opinion to the Government controlled traditional media. It was brash, outspoken and critical of the powers that be.
But Unspun senses a shift once the Malaysian bloggers’ favorite whipping boy, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, announced that he would be leaving office earlier than expected and handing the reins over to Najib Tun Razak.
Since then there seems to have been a shift in the posts of many bloggers. They have become less critical and diffused. Some have begun to move in mysteriou ways. One senses a shifting of alliances among bloggers, a sensing of new opportunities that overly critical postings may kill off.
So if you look at the blogs now, Unspun finds them quite disappointing. Only few remain true to their voices. Some have begun to post infrequntly. others post as if disillusionment has set in. Out of all this Malaysian Insider is enjoying a boost as it seems to be having the scoop on information and expressing certain point of view. But even here, you wonder the motivatons of Malaysian Insider, which is hosted by a veteran journo close to certain factions of Umno, and the motivations of the bloggers that quote the blog.
But these are only prelimanary thoughts…have yet to think it true and look at the evidence carefully before making up one’s mind about these issues.
I hope they don’t do what they did to the Globe Magazine.At first they had some very good articles, and they decided to use the same “Top 100” formula for the last few editions.
I was hoping the Jakarta Globe is not affiliated to the company that owns Globe Magazine but unfortunately,it is.
Lippo already telling staff to promote interests of Riady’s social and business interests I hear already on media grapevine. Hardly any surprise as you say. But is Jakarta Post any different?
@Kiki:To be fair, the Globe has so far not shown any excessive genuflecting tendencies to their owner. Unspun‘s understanding is that the professionals are resisting the efforts of James’s factotums in trying to steer the paper to a shadier course. How long can they resist is anyone’s guess but Unspun believes that they are still OK for now.