Before the General Election, I took issue with The Straits Times about its past elections coverage. The editor of The Straits Times and I have exchanged further correspondence on this and it follows below.
RECEIVED FROM THE STRAITS TIMES EDITOR ON 9 MAY 2011
I delayed replying to you because I thought you should have the benefit of reading The Straits Times' entire coverage of the General Election. Now that it is over, I hope you have changed your mind. If you have not, I think we probably have to agree to disagree on whether we did a professional job in our coverage.
In fact, The Straits Times did very well in terms of sales during the period leading up to Polling day on May 7. We attracted more readers to the paper as a result of our election coverage. As we reported in the paper today, our daily circulation increased by more than 12,000 every day from Nomination day to Polling day. We put out a special noon edition on Sunday, and it was snapped up by readers, all 70,000 copies of it.
I took that as a vote of confidence in the paper, and more specifically of our coverage.
Thank you for being a reader of The Straits Times. I hope you will continue to read us.
RESPONSE FROM ME TO THE STRAITS TIMES EDITOR
Thank you for your reply. I do appreciate it.
I agree your coverage for this general elections was unprecedented, driven by a desire to provide more balanced coverage. This is probably also due to more gracious newsmakers in the dominant political scene (as much as I am given to understand that some of them had reservations or concerns about your coverage).
To qualify my observations further, I should add that I know of several people, who stopped reading The Straits Times during the same period. I am also told that at least one major opposition party consciously refused to entertain media queries, due to the probability of skewed coverage.
Since I was not able to suspend my subscription and the Government encouraged us to donate the Grow and Share package disbursed, I made a donation to MARUAH in support of their media monitoring initiative. The results of this initiative provide much information to reflect about. I hope you will peruse this and, if you find it newsworthy, make this known to your readers. The results are available here.
On a more tongue-in-cheek note, I know that thanks to the headlines '81-6' on Sunday, the 4D numbers 0816 and 8160 were sold out. I think you should ask Singapore Pools to donate part of its collections on Sunday to your School Pocket Money Fund – it will bring more smiles to the kids you help!
Finally, as your reader, I can only hope that your coverage continues to improve and gets more balanced, as time passes.
Please consider the environment - do you really need to print this?
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