Round up of Singapore's media scene in 2021

Round up of Singapore's media scene in 2021

As the eventful year draws to a close, Telum Media looks back on the evolution of journalism as it adapts to the changing demands brought about by the pandemic. With structural changes among key titles, new initiatives and appointments, print and digital launches, we have had a plethora of exciting content. Here are some key highlights from the media landscape in Singapore.

Major media updates
A significant update in Singapore’s media landscape is SPH Media Trust’s (SMT) restructuring, which was completed in December. Moving forward, media titles and employees previously under Singapore Press Holdings will be housed under an operating entity, SPH Media, which is part of SMT. This shift in business model aims to bring quality to the newsroom, while putting readers’ concerns at the forefront.

Related to SMT’s restructuring is Lianhe Wanbao’s merger with Shin Min Daily News from 26th December. Under the merger, Lianhe Wanbao’s resources and part of its content will be transferred to Shin Min Daily News.

As part of SPH Media Trust’s mission to accelerate the digital transformation of newsrooms, The New Paper has ceased its print edition and gone fully digital after 10th December.

Other updates include Apollo Funds’ acquisition of Yahoo and the rebranding of Business Insider as Insider, which is fitting of their plans to extend beyond business journalism.

New media launches
As the media space becomes increasingly fluid, media titles aim to retain their competitive edge with print and digital launches this year.

Beginning with the print launches, has launched its print magazine, Boulevard Magazine, which features luxury lifestyle portfolio and properties. Retail Asia has also relaunched its print magazine and remains committed to covering the retail and supply chain industries.

In an age increasingly dominated by the digital space, the new wave of digital launches was well-timed. We witnessed the debut of Brytehall, which covers the anticipated topic of NFT; the expansion of Lighthouse Independent Media’s B2B media portfolio with their launch of iTnews Asia; the official launch of MartechAsia, a marketing tech site; and lastly, Chief of Staff Asia, a content hub for HR professionals.
New sustainability initiatives
As media titles continue to adapt in a rapidly changing landscape, they have become increasingly responsive to meet audience’s preferences. 2021 has seen the proliferation of new initiatives centred on the trending topic of sustainability.

Rachel Kelly, Senior Producer / Presenter of the local radio station, MONEY FM 89.3 hosted a new podcast titled The Green Wire, where it discussed tech trends aimed at creating a cleaner and greener environment.

Likewise, CNBC also launched its newest franchise, Sustainable Future, across its TV, digital and social media platforms. A key highlight includes the Sustainable Future show, a 30-minute conversation-based programme on sustainability and businesses.

Following the trend of environmental efforts most recently is ELLE Singapore, which announced its commitment to sustainable fashion by ending the promotion of animal fur across its print and digital media. This initiative will take effect in 2023.

These changes mark a huge step forward for businesses and media alike, as we continue to support initiatives that promote environmental conservation.

Major journalist appointments
This year also brought many major journalist appointments. Those of prominence include Murali Subramaniam, who was appointed as Managing Editor of SPH Media Limited, and Walter Fernandez, who was named as Mediacorp’s Chief Sustainability Officer. Besides that, we have Patrick Daniel at SPH Media Trust, who is taking on the role of interim CEO.
The industry was also a witness to many accomplished journalists in foreign news agencies heading the teams in Singapore - The Wall Street Journal saw Yumiko Ono relocating to Singapore to take on the title of Editor, News Operations, APAC; Serena Ng relocating from Hong Kong to Singapore to continue her role as Asia Finance Editor, and Anniek Bao joining as a Researcher in the Singapore bureau; Sui-Lee Wee, who is relocating to Bangkok in 2022, has also been named as the Southeast Asia Bureau Chief of The New York Times.

BBC News was also privy to a few major promotions. Mariko Oi was promoted to Asia Business Correspondent; Karishma Vaswani was made Asia Presenter; Yvette Tan was promoted to a Senior Digital Journalist; and Joao da Silva clocked in as a Senior Broadcast Journalist. To wrap things up on this end, Former Singapore Correspondent of Financial Times, Stefania Palma, relocated to Washington, DC, while Mercedes Ruehl was appointed to take over her role.

Relocation and career moves
Another year of COVID-19 was not enough to stop some journalists from relocating, nor was there a shortage of journalists crossing over to the “other” side. Aw Cheng Wei relocated to Beijing, China for The Straits Times, where he takes on the responsibilities as the China Correspondent of the title. Meanwhile, CNA's Malaysia Correspondent, Afifah Ariffin relocated from Singapore to Malaysia.

Journalists who crossed over to the “other” side include Joshua Chambers, Founder / Managing Editor of GovInsider, who stepped down to take on a new role with the British Government as Head of Communications & Marketing, Asia Pacific. Malminderjit Singh from CNA was also named as Hume Brophy’s Regional Content Lead and Senior Account Director for its Southeast Asia operations. Ex-Deputy Editor of Asia Insurance Review, Ridwan Abbas, departed the media title for a role as a Senior Consultant at Klareco Communications; Sean Tan, previous Digital Editor of NSMan embarked on a new role with the Singapore Symphony Group as Marketing Communications Manager; and lastly, ex-Associate Digital Editor of Her World, Cheryl Chan, joined Touch PR & Events as a Senior Account Manager.

It is all about the hustle as the media industry prepares itself for 2022. Stay tuned to find out what the new year will bring.

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