Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Digital Media Asia KL

I went to a seminar organised by WAN-INFRA today. WAN-INFRA stands for World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers.

There were many speakers, one of them being a guy from a pharmacy who spoke of harnessing social media for journalism. He also said something significant.

"It is significant," he said.

He also said that with or without journalists today, the news will keep on churning tomorrow.

Finally. A real journalist talking about the work and news as work.

When I did my second tour of duty at The Malay Mail in 2009, my first mission was to set up a system where things would go on with or without me. The reason is simple - I want to go to Thailand a lot. If I couldn't establish a system where the pages - the news - would run whether I'm there or not, I wouldn't be able to fuck off to Thailand as much. Or at all.

Ah, The Malay Mail. I loved that paper. But I don't think I could work there again. It's too personal. Every spelling mistake, every gaffe, was s slap in my face. It was a product that was too close to me. I need to be a complete professional in order to be able to make hard decisions and a certain distance is key.

Funny. AT one time, I would have died for that paper. There was a time I thought I would grow up to be the late Mr Lim Chang Moh, who had a horrible, horrible combover.

I thought I'd grow up to be a sub. But here I am, still  8 years old, relying on skills and knowledge I gleaned from porn.

A late bloomer, and a poor swamp kid, I first went online in 1996, in search of cartoon porn. In serach of Sizuka from Doraemon, in the nude. I knew the Doraemon comics we got here were censored and censorship drove me crazy back then.

I began observing the people who live on the Internet. The stalking gay people, the righteous fuckers who try to pick fights with everyone to prove their superiority and the porn connoisseurs such as myself.

I was really great at searching and indexing porn. Mostly hentai, scenes from classics such as La Blue Girl and Urotsukidouji broken up into 2-minute clips which would take me 3-4 hours to download, on a 14.4kbps dial-up modem.

I've always viewed the Internet as the last bastion for stupidity, for chaos, for freedom, in this increasingly crazy world.

But now it is what it is, coloured - peppered - by so many things.

I only wished that The Malay Mail had made the transition as they should, way back in 2009. But just in case the paper dies during my lifetime, I already have a headline for a final article - Stop the Presses (For the Very Last Time).

That one is the title of a great article in Reader's Digest way back in the '70s, about the death of the newspaper.

The Wan Infra seminar speakers are not predicting the death of newspapers, but the change of journalism as we know it. It's been happening all this time, and we are just riding on the crux of change.