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NST’s stewardship change necessary amid challenging media, business landscape

Now is the time for a brave new enterprise, for boldness, and the courage to do what is necessary to save this grande dame of journalism

IN the light of widespread reports and rumours circulating in both in the news and social media about a recent revamp to a senior editorial position in the New Straits Times (NST), it falls on me as Media Prima chairman to address the matter and give it the necessary clarity and closure.

First and foremost, let me say that we at Media Prima are immensely proud to be owners of NST, a hallowed brand in Malaysian journalism.

For 177 years, NST has diligently reported every major event in the nation as well as significant world events to Malaysians.

As we prepare to celebrate our 59th Malaysia Day, we can proudly say that we have faithfully toiled as the nation’s chronicler, lauding its many successes while also sharing in its moments of sorrow and tribulation.

The past few years, however, have been especially challenging for all of us in the media business.

Like it or not, we now live in the age of disruption. Ever-changing consumer trends, technological advancements and new digital capabilities constantly call for us to revamp strategies, by discarding old practices, implementing radical new measures and by adapting existing ones to meet present and future needs.

As a news organisation, editorial direction and the pursuit of synergies to enhance the end-product are matters that are constantly prone to review by management under the supervision of our board of directors.

These reviews are intended to grow visibility and readership of the NST, in the expectation that they will be the catalyst for sustained growth and profitability.

Changes to personnel, especially at the executive end of our talent pyramid are an inevitable part of that review. These appointments are always done solely based on merit.

It is on that basis that management has appointed Farrah Naz Karim as the NST’s new Group Editor.

Farrah brings with her more than 20 years of experience in newsroom operations.

She recently shattered the 35-year monopoly held by the Malay dailies over the prestigious Kajai Awards, becoming the first journalist ever from an English newspaper to accomplish that feat.

Her stint with TV3 is also expected to bridge the print and digital divide, which is a key strategy in NST’s move to embrace this exciting new age of media.

Any suggestion that her appointment was the result of political meddling in Media Prima is unfortunate and totally unfounded. I want to deny categorically any suggestion that either the government or any political parties were involved in this or any other decision taken by Media Prima with regard to its business.

For the record, Media Prima is neither owned nor does it report to any political parties whether in the manner suggested in recent news reports or otherwise.

Its substantial shareholder, businessman Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani, has a phenomenal track record in turning around ailing businesses.

The group has posted eight consecutive quarters of profitability, a staggering feat considering its dire financial situation, barely three years or so ago.

At present, the group’s three main publications, the NST, Berita Harian, and Harian Metro, are focused on enhancing their respective digital platforms to complement their current print circulation.

Harian Metro and Berita Harian are already the two leading digital news outlets in the country. Media Prima is committed to bring NST on a par with them in this respect.

We at Media Prima hope this editorial revamp and digital expansion will allow us to deliver a more exciting media product for the consumption of the masses.

Selamat Hari Malaysia.

Group Chairman
Media Prima Berhad

Sumber : NST

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