Finally put to rest – The Jakarta Globe (printed version)

In the end, it was a mercy killing.

The Jakarta Globe, that was born on November 12, 2008 amid doubts by some and optimism by others grew to be a healthy paper. But its health began to decline when its owners realised that a daily was too much a sinkhole for investment  that they could not or didn’t want to afford. The paper deteriorated after that till it was a joke of a publication in recent months. It’s sad declined in chronicled here. But yesterday they finally pulled the plug.


Those who have had friends who were journalists there would have seen the Facebook feeds of one last gathering to celebrate the end – and a dubious “new beginning”  online (it’s been online all this time, but how it will be a formidable force with most of the best and professional journalists already out of the organization remains a mystery).

And thus a chapter closes on Indonesian journalism.

To those who had worked in newspapers, however, it must have been one hell of a ride. To be young, or at least young at heart, working in the frenetic pace of a newspaper has got to be one of the best experiences in one’s life. The excitement, the adrenalin rush of meeting deadlines, the euphoria of scooping everyone else, the anxiety as the politicians and the powerful on the receiving end vent their anger and threaten lawsuits. There is nothing like a daily newspaper to bring people together.

But now that is gone. The diaspora of the Globians has already begun two to three years ago, Indonesian journalism is the poorer for it but that is the way of the world. Life goes on.




The Globe blazes a path in intellectual parrying

Isn’t free speech a wonderful thing? And The Jakarta Globe seems to be pioneering the spirit of the cut and thrust of intellectual parrying to unprecedented great heights to preserve the precious right to freedom.

Last Friday avid readers of The Jakarta Globe were treated to a seemingly no-holds-barred criticism of President SBY for canceling his trip to the Netherlands. The Oped piece was by Joe Cochrane, who must presumably have some journalistic sense and appreciation of national issues because he is The Jakarta Globe’s own Contributing Editor.

Today The Jakarta Globe’s own Editor-in-Chief Wim Tangkilisan has waded into the debate of the President. The EIC also seems to be a no-holds-barred kind of man, only this time the gloves were taken off in the direction of his own contributing editor, Cochrane.

In this Oped piece Tangkilisan not only tried to defend the President, he elevated SBY to an all-seeing Presence and took Cochrane personally to task for an Oped piece “full of holes”. To untrained eyes the piece may look like a rather personal attack against a colleague and a subordinate and a reaction against someone slipping the story in while the EIC was away, but some seasoned journalists would say that this is the pinnacle of intellectual parrying that, when conducted in its right spirit would yield the ultimate truth about an issue, or issues.

So what do the sparks emanating from the clash of intellectual swords between Tangkilisan and Cochrane tell us, dear reader?

The Larger Picture? In Canceling His Trip To the Netherlands, SBY Saw It Clearly
Wim Tangkilisan | October 11, 2010

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been severely criticized — pilloried is perhaps the more accurate term — for postponing his state visit to the Netherlands.

He pushed it back at a time when the visit suddenly became inauspicious because of a last-minute court case filed by a leader of the separatist South Maluku Republic (RMS) with the District Court of The Hague, charging the president with the torture of at least 21 RMS members.

Among the fiercest of the criticisms aimed at the president were those in an opinion column by Joe Cochrane in the Jakarta Globe last weekend.

It accused the president of being unable to see the “larger picture” in deciding to postpone the visit, of being onion-skinned, of insulting Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and, implicitly, of being paranoid. Cochrane also took the president to task for calling the behavior of The Hague District Court unethical.

As a journalist, Cochrane can criticize anybody he wants to criticize, including the president of Indonesia. That is his right. However, I must point out that his criticisms against the president regarding this particular issue — the postponement of the state visit — are, like those of most other critics, full of holes.

Rest of story

The Jakarta Globe spins slowly

Once again, another deadline for the Jakarta Globe to begin publishing has come and gone. The last deadline being bandied about was 20 November but that came and went with any ceremony.

The grapevine says that the delay is because James can’t get a printer for the planned 48-page all color newspaper he intends to let loose in Indonesia.

In the meantime, however, the troops in the JakGlobe are being given the rah rah rah and drilled day in, day out in writing and producing a paper that no one, except themselvs, get to read. How long can this suspension or reality and publishing deadline go on before demoralization sets in will be interesting to watch. This is especially because this time around some of the stalwarts in the Jakarta Globe aren’t even giving a targeted date.

But life goes on nonetheless. Several weird looking bules were apparently reported to be running around a park in menteng over the weekend, wearing weird traditional Indonesian gear and trying to “kidnap” a bride for one of the editors of the paper. Unspun was still in bed at that hour but he believes that the bule posse succeeded and the editor is a hitched man now. Will this affect the revenues of Face Bar as he adapts to the rigors of married and eventually family life? Only time will tell.

AFP’s loss, Jakarta Globe’s gain

Jakarta’s soon-to-be-declared ‘s English-language newspaper war has just got more interesting with the Jakarta Globe’s appointment of Bhimanto Suwastoyo, a 23 veteran journalist at AFP Jakarta as the paper’s Deputy Chief Editor. Bhim will pull equal weight as the other Deputy Chief Editor Joe Cochrane (who apparently may be tying the knot soon if little birds in Face Bar are to be believed).

By signing Bhim on, the Jakarta Globe may finally begin to get some respect from media observers here who were wondering whether the paper would be stuffed with bules who may have excellent technical skills but not the necessary the insight and perspective of an Indoneian.

Unspun‘s known the 52-year old Bhim for more than a decade and he must rank as one of the mot knowledgeable, articulate and open minded journalists in Indonesia. Bhim speaks French ad a sprinkling of European languages frequently because he spent his younger days in Europe (then becoming an architect before moving into journalism).

Continue reading “AFP’s loss, Jakarta Globe’s gain”