Telum Vox Pop: National Day Special with Foreign Correspondents - Diverse Perspectives on Singaporean Society

Telum Vox Pop: National Day Special with Foreign Correspondents - Diverse Perspectives on Singaporean Society

In celebration of Singapore's National Day on 9th August, Telum Media spoke with both foreign correspondents based in Singapore and local correspondents working with international media outlets to highlight the multiple perspectives and comprehensive understanding of Singaporean society.

We asked them to share more about how they achieve a well-rounded and comprehensive depiction of Singapore's society while presenting global viewpoints. We also enquired about the skills, qualities, or experiences that are essential for effective reporting as a foreign correspondent, as well as how PR professionals can ensure that their pitches resonate with the intended target audience and align with their reporting priorities. Here's what they had to say:

Joanna Ossinger, Editor, Bloomberg (Singapore)
When it comes to portraying Singapore's society while representing international perspectives, we always aim to build a newsroom that reflects the communities in which we work. Our Singapore newsroom is highly diverse, with many team members from Singapore. Thus, in my experience, accurately reflecting Singapore has been relatively straightforward, given the presence of individuals who understand the country well. However, we must not become complacent; maintaining accuracy requires ongoing effort, but I believe our strong support network helps us avoid issues in this regard.

As for skills and qualities essential for foreign correspondents, curiosity about the world is fundamental, along with a willingness to explore new perspectives. Effectively functioning within a society different from your own requires an openness to varied approaches and customs.

In terms of pitches, it's beneficial to familiarise yourself with my recent work and have some knowledge of Bloomberg News. Some PR professionals excel at this and even inquire about content usability, which is highly appreciated.

Karishma Vaswani, International News Broadcaster and Journalist
Singapore's position as a global city makes it a model for solutions in areas like climate, population, and healthcare, and gives it international significance. It has also become pivotal in the US-China discourse, amplifying its global political and economic relevance.

Essential skills for foreign correspondents include genuine curiosity, thoughtfulness, nuanced thinking, an appreciation for our differences, historical and cultural context, language proficiency, effective communication across mediums, and attention to detail. There are many more, but these are crucial. Additionally, persistence, resilience, and tenacity are vital, as journalism involves facing numerous setbacks and continuously pressing forward.

For communication professionals, understanding your audience is key. I frequently receive pitches unrelated to my areas of coverage. Familiarising yourself with my or the publication's body of work is useful. And my interests. It's also important to note that journalists often communicate with each other, so if the same story is pitched to colleagues, we generally find out as we talk to each other.

Kimberly Lim, Journalist, South China Morning Post
To maintain balance in stories, I conduct interviews with a diverse range of people and incorporate various viewpoints. This approach ensures that my reports accurately reflect on-the-ground sentiment.

Having an open mind and understanding Singapore's history are crucial for developing a nuanced comprehension of the country's laws and policies.

For pitching, reviewing past SCMP stories is recommended.

Gurdip Singh, Singapore Correspondent, The Press Trust of India
Maintaining a balanced view involves identifying the news angle, its relevance, and its international impact. Singapore's status as an Asian financial hub and a critical global trading centre means that news from Singapore resonates across global markets.

With decades of experience in journalism since the 1980s, my training involved working in time-sensitive newsrooms, honing my skills in writing, editing, and meeting tight deadlines. Pressure is part of the process, shaping individuals and bringing out their best. Additionally, the story's angle and its alignment with current events are paramount. Meeting deadlines will become even more challenging in the future due to advancing technologies.

For PR professionals, grasping journalists' scope of work and tailoring pitches accordingly is crucial. Stories with international and global impacts are most relevant. Many stories are lost during the pitching process due to pitches lacking precision.

Thomas Timlen, Freelance Reporter, Breakbulk Magazine
Singapore's international and cosmopolitan culture naturally lends itself to balanced portrayals when reporting on topics specific to Singapore or those with a significant Singaporean aspect influencing regional or global developments. This is evident in my coverage of maritime shipping, where Singapore's role as an international maritime hub is pivotal, housing numerous international stakeholders.

Essential skills and qualities for foreign correspondents include adept writing, practical experience, and knowledge of the topic at hand. Curiosity and active listening can compensate for lacking subject expertise when experts are willing to share their insights.

PR professionals can enhance results by identifying reporters aligned with their sector and evaluating their past work and publications. This approach ensures a sharper focus on reporters best suited to cover the sectors PR professionals aim to spotlight.

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Karishma Vaswani

Asia Politics Columnist and Commentator

Gurdip Singh

Singapore Correspondent

Kimberly Lim


Joanna Ossinger

Markets Editor

Thomas Timlen

Freelance Reporter

Telum Media

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Bloomberg Singapore

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The Press Trust of India Ltd Singapore

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South China Morning Post Singapore

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Breakbulk Magazine

1 contact, 2 media requests

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