Monday, March 25, 2019

The Importance of newspapers

Is there a need to publish newspapers and will digitalisation finally nudge the old print out of business?

This was a pertinent question raised by New Straits Times (NST) group editor Rashid Yusof in his recent column after assuming the important post in the Malaysia’s oldest newspaper.

As someone who has been reading newspapers since young, never in my wildest dreams did I think that one day the print will become part of history.

An avid reader, I always start my day reading the mainstream newspapers, including NST.

Flipping through the newspapers, I would immerse in a myriad stories that range from hard news to crime stories, social issues, sports and features.

One exclusive quality that print has and the digital media can never match is its tangibility . There is also the smell of ink on paper or the scent of newsprint which is a powerful stimuli that gives a tremendous boost to the reader’s taste.

Maybe some people may claim that I’m old school but time and again it has been proven that the newspapers will survive. While all the newspapers are focusing on digital and online transformation, I am confident that the hard copy will continue to exist and be preserved.

Doomsayers will say the days of print media are numbered. Many question what incentives readers get from the dailies when most, if not all, of their content is available online for free.

I believe that newspapers must focus on their target groups.

Print media is very much ingrained in the consumers’ collective memory, especially those aged 40s and above. This means that people will continue to be attracted and subscribe to print media, provided that we know who they are, what they are interested in and what their needs are.

Compared with teenagers or millenials who prefer short news reports with sensational headlines, mature readers prefer in-depth news, analyses and special reports, accompanied by compelling images and graphics.

However, we should not forget the young generation, especially the students.

Newspaper in Education (NIE) programme, for example, has encouraged students to read English newspapers and nurture their reading habit at a young age and contribute towards a reading culture.

It has been proved that students who read English newspapers, including those in the rural areas, gain better grades in their English papers.

As chairman of EcoWorld Foundation, I learn that non-governmental organisations could help the newspapers expand their reach to rural schools and assist the students excel in their studies through education pullouts and programmes such as NIE.

To create similar effects in other sectors, newspaper companies can collaborate with ministries and agencies apart from engaging the private sector.

The new government’s hands-off policy towards newsroom decisions should give the New Straits Times Press and other newspapers the opportunity to promote themselves as serious papers which practise ethical journalism. Lure them to share their policies, programmes and advertisements in the newspapers.

Other parties such as hotels and restaurants could support such initiatives by providing discount vouchers and offers to those who buy newspapers.

Newspaper companies must highlight the advantages of print advertising, which is more tangible and where readers could give their full attention on the written material. This guarantees greater engagement with the advertisement.

For older people like me, we think that the newspapers must thrive partly because the social media is full of half-truths while the online media is struggling to stay afloat due to the low advertisement rates and a lack of viable business models.

And I could not agree more with Rashid when he said that in order for the print to survive, it should take the form of daily news magazines with brilliant journalism, biting commentaries and dazzling analyses!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Nurture our children's minds during school holidays

THE holiday season is on and schoolchildren jump for joy as they look forward to spending time on their hobbies and holiday plans. This may be a happy time of the year, but it is also a risky one as children may squander time and money while engaging in unhealthy activities, especially when they are left unsupervised.

Some children feel that school holidays are the perfect time for them to do whatever they want.

It is a great challenge for parents to ensure that their children do not engage in inappropriate and immoral activities. Parents need to correct their children’s mindset that something interesting is not always right, while something good is not always boring.

When it comes to making a move to ameliorate a situation, it is now or never, as there will come a time when it will be too difficult for rebellious and disobedient children to ditch bad habits like smoking, vaping, loitering or watching pornography.

Parents need to set strict, yet smart, house rules that include dos and don’ts. When children are trained to wake up and go to bed early, make their bed, and keep their bedroom clean, they grow up into organised, disciplined and responsible adults.

This will make it easier for them to manage time, finance and stress .

Unhealthy activities like staying up all night playing video games, watching television, and sharing and checking updates on social media should be limited as this digital immersion and obsession encourages a sedentary lifestyle, affects social interaction skills and is bad for their body and brain.

The overuse of gadgets will neither help them forget problems nor relieve their stress.

Reading, cycling, fishing or having a picnic by the lake are therapeutic ways to spend time that will never go out of style. Books will expand knowledge and imagination while nature will clear minds and calm hearts.

Fulfilling and focusing on desires leads only to temporary satisfaction while prioritising needs leads to delayed gratification.

Help them choose wisely.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Hui Ling scores 8A's in UPKK

The success of Por Hui Ling, 11, from Kampung Gong Pak Damak Taman Desa Jaya was also a first at Sekolah Kebangsaan Tok Jiring (SKTJ).

KUALA NERUS: A Chinese student from here created history when she scored 8A's in the Ujian Penilaian Kelas Kafa (UPKK), which was recently announced.

The success of Por Hui Ling, 11, from Kampung Gong Pak Damak Taman Desa Jaya was also a first at Sekolah Kebangsaan Tok Jiring (SKTJ).

The third child from four siblings aced all Islamic based religious subjects, namely, Solat practicum, Appreciating the Islamic Way of Living, Jawi and Khat; Islamic Virtues; Ulum Syariah (Faith and Worship); Lughatul Quran (Quran language) and Sirah (biography of the Prophet Muhammad)

Hui Ling said she attended the KAFA classes on her own accord and took inspiration from her elder brother Por Jie Hao, 14, who had previously attended the Kafa classes at SKTJ.

"My brother scored 5As and 3Bs in the UPKK in 2015, so I was motivated to do better than my brother.

"My parents were also supportive of my bid to study what the Malay students are learning and also since my Malay friends are also learning Mandarin.

"It is fun to have the opportunity to learn all the subjects in UPKK especially the Jawi subject," she said when met at her home, here, today.

Hui Ling said she is grateful to all her UPKK teachers at SKTJ who conducted extra classes for students to understand and grasp the Jawi subject.

"I was among the weakest in Jawi subject and therefore attended additional classes on Friday and Saturday. Within a few months, I managed to master Jawi reading and writing as well as reading Arabic words."

She said any knowledge or subject can be mastered if one has a passion and apply themselves.

"I learned my lessons when I studied in the classroom and was also not shy to ask the teacher, if I did not understand anything," she said.

Meanwhile, Jie Ho said he was proud of his younger sibling's achievement.

"Among the UPKK subjects, it is not easy to score an A in the Jawi and Arabic subject. I had previously studied under UPKK and know the challenges in mastering and studying all the subjects, "he said.

Meanwhile SKTJ headmaster Abdul Aziz Deraman said Hui Ling's success was an historical achievement for the school.

"Previously, Jie Ho achieved a remarkable result and this has been now continued by Hui Ling with better results this year. Hui Ling's success would be a catalyst and challenge for other Muslim students to excel in UPKK, "he said.

He adds that Hui Ling is among 57 students who scored 8A out of 138 students who sat for the UPKK at SKTJ this year.