SYMC Morning Panel on Youth & Media

Here is a transcript of this morning’s SYMC panel session on youth & media. The audio recording was way too soft for me to fix, so I’m not putting it up.

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam
Minister for Education

Full speech now online
• Singaporean Youths labelled as Political Apathetic
• Not just a Singaporean problem, but an international issue as well
• Minister of Education and even the Prime Minister addressed this issue
• Advent of Web Blogs, Tsunami mobilization by students
• We need not just the dissemination of information, but a way to galvanize societies into taking action

Mr Han Fook Kwang
Editor in Chief
Singapore Straits Times

• Younger population not reading newspapers, though the actual figures are actually better than other countries in terms of penetration of young newspaper readers (92%)
• Internet is at the epicenter of 26th Dec Tsunami event
• Straits Times newspapers have to compete online, with CNN, Google News, Blogs
• How do newspapers stay relevant to a world of instant communication?
• Bill Gates predicted death of newspaper in 2000
• Engaging the young is a life and death business
• Tried very hard to tap broad readership of 1.3 million readers (15yrs onwards)
• Lifestyle and sports section most popular
• IN newspaper and Youth Inc for youth
• Govt wants youth to partake in active citizenship, get them to shape the future
• ST wants to encourage greater diversity to encourage the young to be engaged
• “To be yourself” means restless, questioning, non-conforming
• Great challenges = Great Opportunity

Mr Shaun Seow

• In US elections, more youths voted in 2004 than any other year
• Politics now at grassroots
• MTV’s Choose or Lose: Wanted 20 million, 21 million showed up
• Music for America
• Star Power for politics
• What media can do for youth involvement in politics:
– Act as catalyst – “Politics is Local” Tip O’neil
– Help to inculcate sense of community and belonging (this is where you live)
– Show diversity in views (we need to be inspired by hero and role models)
• DPM had a TV session with students; same as when Bill Clinton met students in a town hall
• TODAY newspaper: take outside contributions
• Believes in packaging of political content
• whack-a-pol – Interactive media
• Youth: age group most looked at, but least listened to
• Media is a cheerleader for youth pursuit
• Passion to act for fellow citizens; be a leader
• Singapore Idol example of activism, democracy
• Imagine channeling this energy to politics
• Jim Rohn’s quote: But not you

Mr Ang Peng Wah
Dean @ School of Communication
Nanyang Technological University

• Idealism
• Youth should channel their dynamism, energy
• About OB markers
• Singapore is one city, unlike US with many cities, thus Singapore is sensitive to change
• Sense of moderation is good for Singapore