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Bertha HarianBertha Harian

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Yesterday’s revamped Today

I’m glad Today had a re-design. You don’t need Roger Black to update that old, old drab look. Gosh! How much was he paid??? Well, Today looks more elegant, very clean, nice typography. I liked those small break-out boxes. Today looks younger.

But as Walter himself said content is king, and on this front, I am disappointed. Today reads…..omigawd, like The Straits Times! I guess it was the choice of stories – commodity news. And that much vaunted Today edge in its writing doesn’t appear to be in evidence. Where’s the scoop? I saw one – NBA eyeing Singapore that was blurbed on Page 1. But nothing else that made me sit up nor set me thinking.

Newspapers have an uphill task, yes. A small newspaper (and whatever Today might say, it IS a smaller paper serviced by a smaller newsroom than ST) has to distinguish itself in some way from the rest. Whether by choice of stories, scoops, a clear approach to how it would angle its stories, writing style, a definite editorial slant on how it sees news.

But its Day 1 content gives no indication.

It is pretty weak – the Hougang election day-after, the Bishan NIMBY issue, the Ferrari-Lexus accident…I had hoped to see more original content fronting the sections like Technology, Management – but they are wire pick ups. The Comment and Analysis pages were from NYT, FT and Daily Telegraph. Nothing wrong with that. People won’t have the time to turn to foreign papers and a free paper doing the job for them is a good thing. A lot would then depend on the choice of stories – here, its the Facebook IPO (everybody’s saying something about it), Didier Drogba and the US elections. Wish there was a guest columnist writing a piece on something in Singapore….

Its Business pages have never been much to look at. And Today might do better to decide on scoping it even smaller. You can’t possibly do company news, macro-economics, property etc from both local and front in two pages! I was interested to see the new page Management – because I don’t think any newspaper here serves the working person and his workplace issues well enough….It was a piece on productivity from Harvard and syndicated by NYT. But nevertheless, foreign copy.

Maybe I got it all wrong. Maybe Today wants a “global” approach. So I shouldn’t be looking for local, original content. One sign is how China and India have their own pages…and our backyard Malaysia etc is now grouped under World. So China and India are more important to Singapore than its neighbours? Interesting…

I’m hoping that Today will do an ST. ST’s first day revamp wasn’t much as well…but its Saturday issue was glorious! Maybe today’s Today will be much better.

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An ex-journalist who can't get enough of the news after being in the business for 26 years

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