Exciting. Honest. Dangerous. Freedom. Bias. Propaganda. Truth.
These were some of the answers from people asked to describe journalism in one word for a live video show by The Straits Times to mark World News Day yesterday, which celebrates the work of professional news organisations and aims to raise public awareness of the role that journalists play in providing credible and reliable news and views.
The thoughts of ordinary folk kicked off the clip, which took a behind-the-scenes peek at how journalists cover everything from breaking news to exposing corruption in official bodies.
“It was about celebrating journalism, showcasing the lengths and hardships journalists go through to deliver stories,” said Mr Zia-ul Raushan, who produced the clip with his colleague Irshad M.
Much thought went into the set design, which included items like a typewriter, an old camera and a TV set to trace journalism through the decades, said Mr Irshad. The ST show was aired on YouTube at 3pm for a global audience and can be viewed on www.worldnewsday.org.
The paper’s multimedia journalists Alyssa Woo and Hairianto Diman spoke to some of the newsrooms participating in World News Day 2019 about their stories. These included the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s stories that exposed corruption in the state insurer, and India’s The Quint, which shone a light on bonded labour in Tamil Nadu.
Another was the South China Morning Post for its coverage on the Hong Kong protests. Chief news editor Yonden Lhatoo said: “We bring out the legitimate grievances of the protesters but, at the same time, we don’t gloss over the excesses and the carnage they are causing.”
Also featured in the video was ST senior health correspondent Salma Khalik’s story on how Singapore’s MediShield Life healthcare insurance scheme paid only $4.50 of a senior’s post-subsidy bill.
There were also lighthearted moments. ST’s Rachel Au-Yong and Rohit Brijnath joked about their generation gap – while the former took up journalism six years ago and called her phone her “all-in-one” work device, the latter has about 30 years under his belt and remembers using a typewriter.
News reporting may have evolved but its purpose remains. Said a reader: “Keep up the good work, keep informing us. If we’re not informed, the world is a poorer place.”