Sakmongkol AK47: Our Journalistic Citadel Pathetic?

Trouble in our journalistic citadel? Sakmongkol ak 47 2o June 2011

I don’t particularly like to butt in the affairs of other people. Its pathetic however to see the circulation of NST dropping to around 73,000. Its core business must be selling news. If more revenue is generated from running ads, then NST must get to ready to spin off that adverstisng bureau and make some people rich.

I read the observation by the blogger uppercaise. Now, I never had the honor to meet this blogger. In so far as writing is involved I think Mr uppercaise is a grammar freak. I mean that in an admiring way. He should be a top rate English teacher. His expertise is much needed to give English language courses to government officers and airline workers. You would want to throw up when hearing the stewardess declaring through the pa system- weighing becoming wayjing and baked becoming bay-ked pronounced as its spelt!. Horrors!

Speaking of horrors, the Malay reading public prefers ghost stories and tales of the supernatural and occult. That is why the circulation of the Mestika Magazine outstrips that of NST. That despite, NST being the roof under which journalistic luminaries parked themselves never wanting to go out. Mestika carry out a lot of ghost stories.


The following figures I take from Mt Uppercaise’s article. I am assuming he is a male person.

• NST sells only 73,000 on the street
• Berita Minggu loses 90,000 copies over three years

Sales of all four traditional titles are in decline
• Berita Minggu dropped 30% drop since 2007;
• New Straits Times lost 26%
• Berita Harian and New Sunday Times both fell by 22%

NST sells only 73,000 on the street

The figures I was shown do not include bulk sales — copies sold in bulk to corporate sponsors who give the copies to schools or sales to hotels and other organizations, all at the wholesale rate. Of all newspapers, the NST depends on bulk sales the most. The official ABC figures for 2009 show that bulk sales made up 26% of NST circulation — 28,000 copies.

If bulk sales remained unchanged at 28,000 then the NST managed only 73,000 in open sales. Sad.

• The ‘good’ news: Metro is soaring ahead


The two Metro titles are now far ahead of the pack and the senior titles seemed to be in terminal decline.

The other paper that sells is Metro. Metro dishes out sex stories which like ghost stories attract a lot of readership.

I have yet to come to my point. My point is this, if ghost stories are good, that would imply ghosts and ghostly characters making their appearance in tabloids, should in theory, help increase the sales of the tabloids where they reside. That is a reasonable deduction, isn’t it?

My question then is, why does NST suffer in circulation despite the congregation of so many ghostly characters and journalistic ghosts of the past? We have recycled journalists who were kicked our under a previous regime given positions in NST but seemed to not be adding value to the newspaper.

The answer it seemed is that these ghostly characters have nothing to add further. Being recycled elements they are only capable of churning out the same stories again and again. They are of course legends but only so in their own minds or in the minds of a coterie of pliant supporters who are more interested in gathering around the so called luminaries in happy hours pursuits.

NST has to shake up its entire organization so that over ripened fruits will fall down. They belonged to the old school where once, the flow of information was one directional. You write and the public soaked up never having the chance to counter argue. Now, with the internet, your legendary stature built during that Jurassic age cannot stand competition. Those untrained in journalistic discipline can often write better and outthink you.

I am afraid a person like Mr Uppercaise will find it tough going in such an environment. (Excerpt from an article by Sakmongkol AK 47, 20 June 2011)



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