ST's World News Day show shines light on journalism in face of pandemic

It features stories of journalists from ST and the region reporting from the front lines

(From left) The Straits Times' senior health correspondent Salma Khalik and China correspondent Elizabeth Law are among those featured in ST's World News Day show hosted by multimedia journalist Dylan Ang. PHOTOS: THE STRAITS TIMES
The Straits Times' senior health correspondent Salma Khalik (above) and China correspondent Elizabeth Law are among those featured in ST's World News Day show hosted by multimedia journalist Dylan Ang. PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES
(From left) The Straits Times' senior health correspondent Salma Khalik and China correspondent Elizabeth Law are among those featured in ST's World News Day show hosted by multimedia journalist Dylan Ang. PHOTOS: THE STRAITS TIMES
The Straits Times' senior health correspondent Salma Khalik and China correspondent Elizabeth Law (above) are among those featured in ST's World News Day show hosted by multimedia journalist Dylan Ang. PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES
(From left) The Straits Times' senior health correspondent Salma Khalik and China correspondent Elizabeth Law are among those featured in ST's World News Day show hosted by multimedia journalist Dylan Ang. PHOTOS: THE STRAITS TIMES
The Straits Times' senior health correspondent Salma Khalik and China correspondent Elizabeth Law are among those featured in ST's World News Day show hosted by multimedia journalist Dylan Ang (above). PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES

Straits Times China correspondent Elizabeth Law has reported from conflict zones and natural disaster-hit areas. Last year, she also reported on the Hong Kong protests.

But reporting in April from Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus, was particularly unnerving.

"It was different because it was something that was unseen," she said.

Recounting her harrowing journey to the heart of the Covid-19 pandemic in ST's World News Day show, Ms Law said she was afraid of being an unsuspecting carrier of the virus.

Her story, and the stories of other journalists from ST and the region who have put themselves on the front lines of the pandemic, are showcased in a 30-minute show to be screened online today in celebration of World News Day.

Created in 2018 by the Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF), World News Day celebrates the crucial role that journalists play.

This year's World News Day is presented by the CJF and the World Editors Forum, with support from the Google News Initiative.

Around the globe, more than 150 media titles have signed up to mark the occasion with special reports in their own titles.

Besides the show, ST hosted a webinar today on the perils of the "infodemic" and the next steps to tackle Covid-19.

The webinar was held via teleconferencing platform Zoom at 4pm today, and featured panellists such as Professor Dale Fisher, an infectious diseases expert, and Mr Viswa Sadasivan, chief executive of Strategic Moves and a former Nominated MP.

"The role of journalists is critical in a global pandemic, as in any crisis," said the show's executive producer Ong Swee Lin. "We set out to depict the challenges of reporting on Covid-19 in Asia, especially when so much was unknown and the stakes were so high during the early days of the outbreak."

To help cope during these extraordinary times, journalists wanted to produce stories in the best possible way, across a myriad of platforms and formats. From webinars to live video crosses to interactive graphics, everyone went the extra mile to help make sense of things.

MR EUGENE LEOW, head of digital media and strategy at Singapore Press Holdings' English/Malay/Tamil Media Group, on how Covid-19 gave the newsroom a greater purpose.

The show, titled Journalism Through A Pandemic, illustrates how newsrooms have adapted to social distancing restrictions over the past nine months, and details journalists' experience in reporting on the pandemic.

Another aspect of the show is how news stories across Asia have made an impact - on people's lives and on state policies.

The Jakarta Post deputy editor-in-chief Taufiq Rahman describes how an article by the paper forced the hand of policymakers.

"We purposely painted a grim picture about the six-month situation of the coronavirus in Indonesia," he said.

"I think three days after that, President Jokowi decided to make a big speech saying that, 'OK, we have to take health into consideration other than the economy'... With that story, we have been successful in pressuring the government to take serious action to deal with the health aspect of the pandemic."

News editors from The Quint (India), Chosun Ilbo (South Korea) and the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) also shared how their newsrooms have taken painstaking measures to ensure readers are updated despite Covid-19.

 
 
 

Mr Eugene Leow, head of digital media and strategy at Singapore Press Holdings' English/Malay/ Tamil Media Group, said that Covid-19 gave the newsroom a greater purpose.

"To help cope during these extraordinary times, journalists wanted to produce stories in the best possible way, across a myriad of platforms and formats. From webinars to live video crosses to interactive graphics, everyone went the extra mile to help make sense of things."

Journalism Through A Pandemic will premiere tonight at 8pm.

Readers can look out for it on ST's YouTube and Facebook pages, as well as the World News Day website and YouTube page.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2020, with the headline 'ST's World News Day show shines light on journalism in face of pandemic'. Print Edition | Subscribe