The Green Dollar

Good news for Journalists…unresearched

With publishers saying there isn’t enough dough to go around at the time when ad spend is low, journalists, the bloodline of publications, may feel helpless and worse still, unappreciated and sacrificed. I have gathered some new findings that might just buck the trend.

I have been trying to get my act together for my first interview for the past few days. Seeing someone in the face will squeeze some fresh juice on what’s happening in environmental sustainability around us today. Not wanting to fall into the demise of rejection, I thought of how I can give back to the interviewee for his time, and so came to mind the cuttings I have been compiling: these may make their lives as academicians easier, I thought.  I spend half a day sieving through 1 national daily, 2 tabloids and 1 local business paper every day for relevant clippings on the subjects of environment sustainability, the elderly and the aging population as well as women today. It takes 10 minutes in total to read an article twice, print it in pdf and archive it on google documents.

Also a diary of events, forums and conferences I am building up to attend should be worth something to them. The compilation of events requires an effort to look out on the streets for public talks going on and to fit vital information such as venue and registration details into a regular format that is easy to view and access. I will not venture into town specifically to scan the streets for such events but I currently try not to bat an eyelid when at NUS, one of the breeding grounds of intellects. The campus is in the middle of my commute route from Yugz’s childcare centre and my work space, which I take sometimes as many as 3 times a day, for free coffee, visits and the like.

And as I dwelt further on how best to share this information, I chanced upon the option to transfer the ownership of the content on Google documents. I felt my heart float as hope gleamed. Hope for the people who toil even at ungodly hours to bring the news to a population, a portion of which happens to be ingrates. What I figured was that Google’s docs application and other apps with the same function are perfect in making content generated by writers and journalists work an extra mile and still be able to retain rights to it. Having work published this way not only will make the content public but will also make it automatically searchable globally. Google has even made it into the urban dictionary meaning internet search, so having your locally organised event findable globally is quite magical without needing a wired brain. Using one of these applications is idiot-proof. Other than needing to type in the fields, you need not know how SEO and SEM works.  You do however still need  the time and though sometimes difficult, a spirit of no rebellion to feel like an airhead. You will then be effortlessly rewarded by being on the radar of Google’s global map.

Well not to say I’m not fighting all out for, but after a visit to the website, I figured that if you want more visitors to hear about what we do on our little island, and have more aliens intrigued enough to fly through time zones to visit our shores, then does not cut it since it does not give directions by road, public transport and by foot as skilfully as it maps out a maze of local services which gets you lost. You won’t wait to get out. While on the subject of transport, I am tempted to write an email to Google to ask if it’s possible to include directions by bicycle. That’s just simply selfish since I am about to embark on my cycling adventures next week. I am excited about getting my bicycle tomorrow.

I cannot help but dwell on the issue of low ad spend further. I felt that there might be an inverse relationship between ad budgets and publishers’ urgent charging for content. I was looking at how nobody was stingy on copyright and intellectual property when advertising departments were cruising, but the moment marketers started to close or empty out wallets, publishers started to channel their energies to the content people. People started to look at how to earn from subscriptions and to automate ad selling. Nothing has worked very well so far, with print publications closing and bad days looking like they are marching to doom-dom. Also, as we all know already, there is a merge now even of industries: the functions of telcos, geek tech and intelligence companies now taking over that of publishing houses, and that just pushes the art of speaking to different audiences something quite hard to keep in these times of just keeping yourself in the picture. So now I say, publishing may vanish if people run out of passion to pay and keep their interests alive but like what God said, nothing is ever new in this world. In this respect, even if publishing leaves our sight one day in the future, it will come back again God knows when. Possibly when we are all dead and our children have their own children.

Another exciting thing I found today: Today’s Today articles linked me to the videos page of Channel News Asia. I felt an extra boost as readers continue their experience getting whipped up in moving pictures. (Yugz tells me it’s “Channelews Asher” when it’s on. The boy’s growing up real fast and sometimes I wonder if he will outgrow me by the next month.) Just as when the going gets going, the Voice torments me again by asking me to find food. Good now that I have the Google transference of ownership clue to start finding the answer.

So back to our less daunting world as paycheque takers: the Today newspaper is indeed very attractive. Well, to say it plainly, I lost a fraction of my memory and sanity, and I mean it literally, after reading Straits Times Interactive for a month. This is actually quite serious. Has anyone done a survey of the number of IMH patients who are loyal readers of the STI? (Stress: it’s Straits Times Interactive, and not the Straits Times print paper) I didn’t find a similar dilemma when reading Today online seriously previously day after day. My memory and sanity stayed intact and in fact became more agile, not that it is at its best right now. The secret may lie in the size of the read for a day’s dosage: just right. There is a right combination of light and heavy reading, with a nice cover teasing with the integration of creative ad artwork and editorial.

Anyway, it’s time for the lunch crowd to come in now that it’s a quarter to twelve. Hmm, just glad that the people are taking the late mornings easier, though it used to be twelve sharp!! Alright, I will be packing up and making my way to the students’ canteen where I can soak in some uninterrupted youth vibes after this sentence.



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