Citizen journalism is all rage in Singapore today especially since the launch of Strait Times’ STOMP.
Citizens and users take the role of a journalist and get to post pictures and videos of current events, happenings and sometimes even taboos as they go about their daily lives. STOMP is easily accessed via the worldwide web and is also available on mobile devices. There is no doubt that this portal allows viewers to experience events and concerns at lightning speed, something which traditional news media has a problem with for years.
STOMP has provided an avenue for viewers to receive news fast and as it happens.
In an interview with ABC’s James Panichi, Jennifer Lewis, Editor of STOMP said,
“Stomp was started in June 2006 and the whole idea was for the newspaper, The Straits Times, to connect with the young readers.”
Well, STOMP has definitely achieved that but the question that has me bothered is the quality and focus of the content on it. STOMP seems to carry news about almost everything and anything under the sun. Trivial and trashy rants about noisy children or ill mannered members of the public seem to make up the majority of posts.
Jennifer mentioned in the interview,
“every single day we get tons and tons and tons of our contributions, and we upload every single contribution that we get. That’s our commitment to the community. Whatever you tell us about the community, the neighbourhood you’re living in, or about Singapore in general, it will be uploaded.”
This has me a little worried. The editors do not control or doctor the contributions. So if the majority of contributions are harped on trivial matters then the culprit is the public.
Let’s look another website that allows users to contribute their own information: Wikipedia.
Wikipedia is a completely user provided database that has recently become a household name and necessary tool for almost everyone. The quality of the information posted is high. Though various institutions and academics do not view it as a completely credible source of information, users will agree that it is one of, if not the most informative website available.
Should we reconsider the approach taken with STOMP or do you think that it is fine the way it is?
Is it enough to just connect individuals (youth in particular) to news or should STOMP be taken to the next level where locals can turn to good quality relevant news, where foreigners can learn more about the happenings within the little red dot of country known as Singapore?
ABC – The Media Report, The Singapore STOMP, OCT 2007, [Accessed 14 November 2010], http://www.abc.net.au/rn/mediareport/stories/2007/2051806.htm