By Jailani Harun
(extracted from Jai's blog)
I remember journalism during the 80s and early 90s. So much fun, so much excitement and lots of energy. When I mention energy, the stories, the write-ups and the impacts were.
Journalism then was not only a profession but an arena to carry the people's voice across. The reporters did not depend much on assignment but created their own instead. They produced good analysis and comments to the satisfaction of readers.
However, it is sad to note that journalism nowadays is bound to mere reporting - no hard analysis. What appeared in the print media today are straight-forward reports, almost 85 per cent of which are politically-oriented and tailored to some leaders.
We dont have anymore good crime and court reporters who try to unearth the truth behind the scene, like what ex-Bernama reporter Ahmad Puad Onah (now with Grand Brillance) did until the early morning when Botak Chin was about to be hanged at Pudu Jail.
We dont have anymore the calibre of A Kadir Jasin, Hardev Kaur, Ahmad Talib and Ahirudin Atan who went deep into certain issues and produced materials of international standard for the newspapers.
Where are the likes of Nuraina Samad, Ibrahim Yahya, Jaafar Hussein, Abu Bakar Ismail, Nashruladdin (now with Malaysiakini) and Sufi Yusof who always made a non-issue topics into most interesting articles?
Reading newspapers and watching television nowadays are to confirm what we have heard on the streets, except for few.
Economic analysis are hard to come these days. During my tenure at Business Times, names like Fauziah Ismail, Kartini Kadir and Mustapa Kamil (Mus is still with NST) are the good ones. Ho Kay Tat, too got a class of his own.
Journalism after 2000 did not augur well to the business of the media institution itself. Most journalists are there to 'makan gaji'. Quality of reporting has taken a big dip ever since some 37 senior journalists (many of whom are Malays) left their respective media companies in 2000 or 2001.
During the 80s and 90s, we even sent out our reporters for a two or three month stint at foreign media in Japan, Korea, Indonesia, England and other countries on a reciprocal program.
We dont have that anymore. If not for foreign assignments to cover the Prime Minister or other senior leaders, our reporters would be geographically-blind.
No wonder the circulation of mainstream newspapers are taking a big dive of late. Why? The editors or the bosses are too busy with politics while their staffs are made to provide pillars to their interest.
Forget about good stories which concern the rakyat. Politic is numero uno!
(Tiger's Mind : Recently, during a conversation with me, the Information Minister couldnt hide his disappointment on what he experienced at two press conferences in Kuala Terengganu and Kuala Lumpur involving the Prime Minister. He was suprised that there was no question raised by the press on the event, but instead the questions posed were only about local politics. The events involved efforts by the government to create numerous jobs for the rakyat in East Cost under ECR. The other event was a regional seminar which was attended by leaders from all over the world. What a shame! Nowadays,..journalists dont have to do their homework ka?)