Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Singapore: Come join the paper chase

'Straits Times' RazorTV program 'Paper Cut' discusses stories published in wide range of newspapers for an Internet audience

WELL, in just under 30 minutes, you can now find out what the day's top stories are in Singapore Press Holdings' English and Chinese newspapers, the dailies with the largest combined circulation in Singapore.
The RazorTV programme, Paper Cut, is Singapore's only newspaper-review talk show that streams live every weekday from RazorTV's Living Room studio in Toa Payoh North.
What is unique about this show is that, every day, a pair of presenters will not only pick the top stories in SPH newspapers but also discuss the issues.
But why produce an entire talk show based on traditional medium and put it on a new media platform?
RazorTV editor Eugene Leow explains: "There's a treasure trove of interesting news and lifestyle stories in all our publications -- the exclusive reports and in-depth commentaries. We figured it's a good way to connect an Internet audience to what is essentially a traditional form of media."
Having hosted the show a few times myself, let me just say that it is no simple task preparing for the show.
With a strong focus on home news, Paper Cut presenters select stories from The Straits Times, The New Paper, The Business Times, My Paper, Lianhe Zaobao, Lianhe Wanbao and Shin Min Daily News, as well as Tabla!, an English weekly for the Indian community.
We pick local stories with the strongest talking points, or news that will have an impact on our viewers.
Take last Thursday's show, for instance. My co-presenter Christina and I covered a whole range of issues -- from ballooning credit-card debts in Singapore to a sombre story about a 62-year-old hawker harassed by loansharks even as she was fighting for her life in hospital.
But what I like about Paper Cut is that we are free to speak our mind and air our thoughts. Just like coffee-shop talk.
As a journalist reporting the news, you are not supposed to have a personal point of view, unless it is a commentary piece.
But with Paper Cut, you tell the story, but make it personal with your opinion.
Sometimes, you can even catch us presenters butting heads over an issue that we feel strongly about.
What is more, Paper Cut also reflects the different perspectives that English and Chinese papers have on the same piece of news. It is also quite revealing to examine the different choice of stories and how they are projected in the publications of the two languages.
Since the website's launch six months ago, Paper Cut has grown a fan base, becoming the second-most-viewed show after RazorTV's current-affairs programme, Point Blank.
For Mr Shaun Ho, 29, who is pursuing his PhD, watching Paper Cut keeps him up-to-date with news at home. He said:
"I'm usually tied down with work and I'm desk-bound, so watching Paper Cut on my computer saves me a lot of time and lets me know what's happening if I can't read the papers."
Student Tan Jiang Hsien, 26, who started watching Paper Cut recently, said the show offers a refreshing take on the news.
"What I like about Paper Cut is that it discusses the 'juicier' local news stories in the papers, and the way it's presented isn't dull or stiff... You don't get bored," he commented.
So if you are in a hurry or don't have much time to spare, join the paper chase and catch Paper Cut at 3pm from Monday.

Source: asiamedia.ucla.edu

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