Dear reader, 

It’s Jean, Jom’s head of research, taking over newsletter writing duties! Here’s an overview of our issue this week: 

  • Jom’s essay: “Splice’s guide to your media future”, written by our editor-in-chief and self-proclaimed “word geek”, Sudhir Vadaketh. He meditates on his experience attending Splice Beta, an indie-media festival in Chiang Mai, and speaks to its organisers Alan Soon and Rishad Patel about the ongoing transformation of the media industry. Sudhir offers readers an incisive analysis of the business side of journalism, as well as how the industry might change moving forward. This essay isn’t just for journalists—it should interest anyone who thinks critically about the role of media in society, reflects on our relationship with information and truth, and/or just reads the news.
  • Singapore This Week: In Jom’s weekly digest, we discuss incoming moolah from the gov, SGAG’s corny meme paid for by our taxes, “dating down” and dating apps, a living wake, a new pirate adventure game, the Singapore International Festival of Arts, arts administration avengers, leadership changes in SEA’s tech giants, and a fat tech budget. 
  • Letters to the editor”: Shout-out to Tim Hill for his letter on the need for toxic masculinity in the military, and Geoffrey Pereira for his response to our essay on public housing.

“Money is still important ok, love can’t buy you cai png or chicken rice.” This issue’s STW is a juicy one—from a semi-viral “dating down” post (of which the above words of wisdom are taken from) to the angpao we’ll soon be receiving from daddy G—money’s on everyone’s minds. Including us! This week’s essay falls under our “Business” category, and offers insights into the running of a media company. In this case: Singapore-born Splice Media, who organised a three-day indie media festival in Chiang Mai last year called Splice Beta. 

When I asked the big boss what I should include in this newsletter, he told me to “just talk about your experience at Splice Beta as a non-journalist!” Thanks Sudhir, I’ll be sure to add “non-journalist” to my LinkedIn profile. 

But I think what Sudhir’s getting at is the fact that I kind of stumbled my way into the publishing and media industry after graduation. Being a journalist was never on my wish-list, except for maybe two days after watching “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”. Note to self: working at a magazine does NOT make you Kate Hudson. 

And so attending Splice Beta was, frankly, a transformative experience. It was also our first ever Jom team trip abroad. Like an excited schoolgirl the night before the first day of school, I planned out the sessions I wanted to attend on my Google calendar, colour-coding them according to theme. Planning took a while—between talks on gender reporting, media funding, podcast development and angel investors, I was spoilt for choice. 

As illuminating as those sessions were, some of my most valuable learning came from the conversations I had with other journalists in between sessions, or during group discussions. In introducing Jom and answering their questions, some of my own thoughts and concerns about our magazine became clearer. At the same time, hearing about other journalists’ experiences with wire-tapping, near-escapes from hostile forces, and political exile was incredibly sobering. 

I had never really been around journalists before (the Workers’ Party’s “infidelity” press conference last year doesn’t count), and working in a small, remote-first start-up can occasionally feel isolating. In those moments, I can’t help but wonder: do other people in the media industry also feel burnt out and disillusioned by the news, sometimes? Do they experience the same rush of adrenaline when working to meet a publishing deadline? Do their eyes also burn from staring at a screen all day, trying to spot an errant full stop? But when I saw someone on day two of Splice Beta holed up in a corner, squatting next to a power plug furiously typing on Google Docs while balancing a phone on their knee, I knew I had found my people. 

I’ll let you read what Sudhir has to say about the analytical business-y side of things, but in case you’re wondering how Splice Beta made me, a young “non-journalist”, feel: I left inspired, challenged and more committed to fulfilling our purpose of “inform[ing] and delight[ing] with slow journalism, grounded in humility and sensitivity, and guided by the never-ending quest for truth”. 

Jom belajar, 
Jean Hew 
Head of research, Jom

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