New-look Straits Times to offer richer content - Aug 02, 2008 (ST)

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The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

New-look Straits Times to offer richer content

Singapore's No. 1 newspaper is revamping on Aug 8 with big changes coming up in print and online.

By Sumathi V. Selvaretnam
Aug 02, 2008
The Straits Times

SINGAPORE'S No. 1 newspaper is revamping on Aug 8 with big changes coming up in print and online.

The changes are aimed at delivering The Straits Times' rich content to readers quicker, better and in many different ways.

GOOD READ: The new-look ST will be better read, promises the redesign team. Discussing the new design are (from left) editor Han Fook Kwang and his design staff Lim Chuan Huat, Tan Khim Yong and Jomar Kho Indanan. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

The print edition will be redesigned, with a new masthead, new fonts for headlines and body text, and new colours throughout the paper.

Online, The Straits Times will deliver more breaking news on its new-look website, and add a new interactive Web television feature called The Straits Times RazorTV. This new site will be free of charge.

'We aim to serve our readers better - on all platforms,' ST editor Han Fook Kwang said. 'We want to excel in print, delivering the quality our readers have long associated with The Straits Times.

'We also want to connect and interact with our readers in new ways through our various online products.'

Established in 1845, The Straits Times is the flagship publication of Singapore Press Holdings and, with 1.3 million readers, is Singapore's best-read newspaper. It was last redesigned four years ago.

Mr Han said the changes reflect the newspaper's desire to stay relevant to readers who live busy lives, and to reach out to a new generation of tech-savvy readers who go to the Internet to read and contribute news and views.

With 300 journalists in Singapore and its network of bureaus across Asia and beyond, the paper aims to deliver more of the quality journalism that has been winning international awards for excellence in news and feature writing, photography, art and design.

'We are going to give you more value for your money and reading time,' said Mr Han, who has been editor since 2002.

There will be content changes across the newspaper, but regular readers will continue to find a strong emphasis on reporting Singapore and international news.

The Prime section in the front of the paper will be expanded to include more of the top news of the day, as well as news commentaries and special reports by staff writers.

'We want to go beyond the news and discuss the pressing issues of the day to show what they mean to you, the reader,' said Mr Han.

The three popular weekly specials - Digital Life, Mind Your Body and Urban - will move to different days. Digital Life will appear on Wednesday, Mind Your Body on Thursday and Urban on Friday.

The new look is still under wraps, but associate night editor Lim Chuan Huat hinted that the in-house redesign team looked to the paper's 163-year-old heritage for inspiration.

He promised a paper that readers will find easier to read, thanks to the new headline and text fonts that have been chosen.

'Headlines will be bigger, shorter and snappier to capture the reader's attention immediately,' he said.

The relaunch also marks major initiatives by The Straits Times to connect better with a growing generation of readers who rely on the Internet for their diet of news, views and videos.

One significant change is that its journalists will be doing more not only in print but also online.

They will be filing news reports and blogs on the revamped ST Breaking News site at which readers can access free of charge to read, interact with the newspaper and add their contributions too.

'We're Singapore Press Holdings' biggest newsroom. We intend to harness this to become the online source readers go to first for fast and accurate news,' said editor Joanne Lee.

An innovative addition to this free site is The Straits Times RazorTV.

This interactive Web TV service will deliver news programmes broadcast live from SPH's Multimedia Centre, featuring its own hosts as well as the newspaper's journalists.

Those who go to will have access to on-demand videos and yet another platform to interact with programme hosts, post their comments, share content and join in the conversation on issues of the day.

Digital Media Editor Felix Soh said: 'The news will be presented in a more raw and edgy talk-show format and focus on very local issues.'

The Straits Times RazorTV will also feature user-generated content from other SPH websites like Stomp - the Straits Times Online Mobile Print found at

Those who want to have access to all of The Straits Times' stories, including its exclusive content, will continue to be able to do so on the ST Digital website, which is a paid site for online subscribers.

Mr Han said the various changes are timely and reflect the changing media landscape as well as readers' needs.

'We are trying to extend our reach to as many people in Singapore as possible, including those who do not yet read the paper,' he said.