The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

NEWSFLASH: There Is No News.
September 21, 2007, 8:28 am
Filed under: Comment

OK, after all the stupidity of yesterday [which I take full responsibility for] I thought I’d try and regain some semblance of order and write a post not featuring Andy, children encountering food incidents and/or Wayne Rooney’s other half.  Fingers crossed I can pull it off … and yes, I have finished the preso that I was procrastinating over! [Thanks John!]

Singapore is an amazing place … it is a country that has demonstrated incredible vision to get where it [so far] is and I’d go as far to say that it is one of the best examples of ‘creative thinking’ in the World.

I’ve written previously about some of the things the Government has done to ensure the countries continued prosperity … however recently I spotted something that truly demonstrated how it is a dictatorship operating under the guise of democracy to ensure the continued support of International investment.

Let me introduce you to Singapore’s biggest newspaper, The Straits Times … a paper that has had multiple awards bestowed upon it across all of Asia … awards it proudly presents on it’s front page.


However on closer inspection you soon realise that rather than being praised for its journalistic quality/integrity, their awards are all for design or photography elements.

That’s abit like Ferrari getting acclaim for its indicators or Virgin Atlantic being praised for its plastic glasses.

You see the Straits Times isn’t a newspaper, it’s a Government propaganda machine …

Sure, it’s not as bad as you experience in China … however the stories it produces are either skewed to the Governments particular viewpoint or have no newsworthiness in them at all.

[Past front page stories include classics like ‘FOOD COURT LAKSA WARS’ and ‘PEOPLE WHO DON’T WASH THEIR HANDS AFTER A BATHROOM VISIT’ – I kid you not!]

And this leads to my point … what is news?

No, I’m not talking about the thing you read in papers or watch on the telly/internet – but the sort of thing companies spend millions of dollars telling the World about.

You see there’s still this outdated belief that you can only communicate to the masses if you have something ‘new’ to say and because companies realise developing ‘new things’ is not only very expensive, but not guaranteed to achieve success, they end up spending outrageous amounts of money on minor and/or irrelevant pieces of information/product evolution [ie: their product now comes in pink, has exciting new packaging, celebrates another birthday or won a totally irrelevant award in a totally pointless ceremony] that ultimately has little relevance, benefit or impact on the public but at least didn’t cost them that much to ‘develop’. 

[Some companies can still benefit with ‘minimal news‘ but they have to earn that right – and know they can’t rely on it working over and over again]

What a waste of fucking time and money – best exemplified by the mounds of clutter you get everytime you buy a fucking magazine. Hell, I bought ARENA yesterday and there were more ‘leaflets’ than pages in the bloody thing!

Many consumers believe most companies see them as ‘walking wallets’ … so unless organisations are happy to spend more and more money in a desperate attempt to brainwash consumer action, they my advice to them is to either save their money, develop news that really is of interest to the public or invest in building real consumer desire/loyalty.

I’ve said it before but I still reckon Tesco’s is the best example in the World of a brand that innovates interms of true consumer benefit and if you need a reminder why/how, I suggest going back to my original A[P]SOTW assignment.

PS: For all those of you outside of Singapore who want to experience Dictatorial Democracy, you can check out the Straits Times by going here. [and make sure you check out the ‘SNAP POLE’]

19 Comments so far
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I’m a bit frentic at the moment to write a long comment about this post but I wanted to say that as much as I enjoy the mad stuff you do on this blog, I enjoy this sort of thing much more.
Will check the newspaper site out later because I’m going to need a laugh.

Comment by Pete

does the straits times have a nude bird on page 3?

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by Marcus

No Andy, they don’t have a nude bird on page 3 – unless you are referring to an eagle, which somehow I don’t think you are.

Pete – let me know how the Singaporean ‘humour’ goes down with you, accepting they are actually trying to be very serious indeed. [Read the ever-complaining ‘letters page’, it’s better than Viz]

And Marcus … hello my little lovely!

Comment by Rob

I’m trying to decide whether this paper is better than The Guardian.

I think it is, on the whole. Probably the same number of unintentionally funny articles. 😉

Comment by Will

The lack of swearing in the comments today is news. But the back room boffins suggest this is against trend and predict a dead cat bounce in the civility index.

Comment by And finally

Isn’t the idea of communicating to the masses the outdated concept?

Comment by John

Yes. We now commincate on an individual basis to a mass individualised personal base. Its consumer post communication neo soloism.


Comment by Rob Mortimer


Comment by Rob Mortimer

Most days, I just talk to myself John. The conversation’s always interesting, but I wish he’d stop going on about football.

Comment by Will

Andy, where the fuck are you? I’m bored shitless.

Comment by Marcus

And so it begins.

Comment by And finally.

[But never the ‘C’ word – remember that Will 🙂 ]

Hope that makes ‘And Finally’ happy … even though my Mum will probably feel somewhat differently.

I’d write more but I’ve had a thoroughly awful day and quite frankly can’t be arsed – and for those waiting for Andy, he’s stuck at a shoot for the next 3 days so while that means he won’t be commenting for a while, you can be sure when he comes back, he’ll be more vicious and shitty than ever.

Have a great weekend – if I drank alcohol, I’d get pissed out my head.

Now that WOULD be dangerous, ha!

Comment by Robert

I think you’ve written quite enough!

Comment by John

That’s funny, that’s what a few people have said to me today!

Comment by Robert

Why such a rubbish day?

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Without going into too much, I think Rob is close to becoming the living embodiment of the movie “Falling Down”. If I was a certain small, powerful gentleman of the advertising industry, I would be worried.

Comment by George

Great film…shame.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Just spoken to him and he’s fine mainly because he is at home and eating a big tub of cynic developed Ben & Jerry’s. 🙂

Comment by George

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