Stomp editor appointed to Reach panel - Aug 01, 2008 (ST)

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The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

Stomp editor appointed to Reach panel

The unit hopes she will inject fresh ideas on engaging netizens. -ST

By Sue-Ann Chia
Aug 01, 2008
The Straits Times

THE Government's feedback unit has, for the first time, appointed two digital media executives to a panel working out ways to get public views on national policies and issues.

REACHING OUT: Ms Siew is hoping to come up with ways, other than blogs, to get feedback. -- ZAOBAO FILE PHOTO

The duo are editor Serene Siew of The Straits Times online portal Stomp and Channel NewsAsia E-news executive editor Yeo Hock Lin.

The unit - called Reach - hopes the two will inject fresh ideas on engaging netizens.

Said MP Amy Khor, who chairs the supervisory panel: 'I look forward to hearing their views on how we can better leverage on new communication platforms to reach out to the youth and other segments of the population.'

Dr Khor is also the Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Environment and Water Resources.

Since she took charge of Reach two years ago, she has started a blog, a text-messaging feedback channel and e-townhalls where people have live webchats with politicians.

Reach's latest new media effort is the setting up of a Facebook account where netizens can send feedback.

Both Ms Siew and Mr Yeo seem to brim with ideas.

'Based on my experience working in Stomp, which has been successful in reaching out to the Internet community, I hope to come up with different ways, other than blogs, to get public feedback,' said Ms Siew.

There tends to be more dissenting views online, she noted, adding that it was a good avenue for getting a sense of what was troubling people.

Mr Yeo agreed that Reach was 'taking the right step' in using new media. One problem it faced, though, was anonymous feedback. 'You have to know how to filter the good from the bad,' he said.

The two editors are among seven new faces on Reach's 25-member supervisory panel. Their two-year term starts this month.

Other new members include grassroots leader Norman Aw, Straits Times political editor Chua Lee Hoong, my paper news editor April Pung, Berita Harian news editor Mohd Saat and union leader Fang Chin Poh.

They join 18 others, including MPs, grassroots leaders and professionals, who have been reappointed to the panel.

Said Dr Khor: 'The blend of experience and fresh perspectives will ensure we stay ahead and serve the public more efficiently.'