Telum Talks To… S. Indra Sathiablan, Web Editor at theSun
You have been in the journalism industry for 26 years, could you tell us more about your journey?
It all began in 1994 when I walked into theSun office and got a job at the Entertainment and Lifestyle section. I had studied Mass Communication at USM and always wanted a career in the media industry. Initially, I covered stories related to the TV industry but eventually moved on the film, music, health, books other lifestyle related stories. Since January 2021, I moved to a whole new world as the Web Editor.
What is your day like as the Web Editor?
Busy. I am either uploading stories or monitoring stories that have been uploaded. My team is briefed on what kind of news to look out for. They are able to work with minimum supervision. We fetch the news, add a photo and upload it to theSun’s webpage.
Our stories come from various sources. Our emphasis is on in-house stories that are written by our own writers and editors. We also have articles from regular columnists. The rest are sourced from wire services. We essentially put up stories that readers are interested in. News and events that they can relate to.
You also were previously with theSun’s Lifestyle and Entertainment for (how many years). How did you navigate the transition to the current role?
From 1994 to 2020, I was with theSun’s Lifestyle and Entertainment team. I was uploading stories written by writers on the desk as well as those from the wire service on our website. The transition was not easy and I am still learning.
The most memorable story you've worked on?
There were many. I interviewed the late Anthony Bourdain twice and his zest for life inspired me. So I was naturally shocked when he took his own life.
How do you work with PRs and brands? And what story would interest you?
I have been working with PRs for years. Stories that interest me are stories about regular people doing extraordinary things. I once interviewed a buyer (arranged by a PR) for an online shopping platform who is actually paralysed but is still able to make a good living. I also have to deal with some PRs assume that since they sent you a press release, you are obliged to publish it. PRs need to find new ways to promote their clients. Unfortunately, most of them are stuck with clients who are not big on change.
How has your working life changed due to the pandemic?
Working from home seems great on paper but it comes with its own set of issues. Broadband / wifi issues, or computer related glitches is a problem we have to face. Your tech guy can help you remotely but nothing beats being in the office when it comes to putting you in the mood to work. On the upside, no headaches that come with travelling to and from home and more time for yourself. I think work from home (WFH) is something all companies should consider after the pandemic. Certain jobs can in fact be done remotely. Some tweaking here and there will be required of course.
Words of advice for aspiring journalists?
Don’t be scared to try new things. The industry is constantly evolving.