Tag Archives: zan azlee

Journalism and the news need to be more honest, not objective


More engaging journalism – as stated in a posting on the Columbia Journalism Review by Joyce Barnathan, the president of the International Centre for Journalists.

What she means is that the way news is presented these days needs to be revised and new rules need to be made up. And I totally agree with what she says. (Err… I’ve been saying for many years now!)

If many people thought that news needs to be presented fast and quick these days to suit social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, then they are not exactly correct (although fast bites like these do have a purpose).

Sites like Vice and podcasts like Serial have shown that in-depth journalism stories do work and are popular. But it has to be presented in such an engaging way that people will be attracted to it.

And the way is to weave the journey into the story.

Most of Vice’s video stories have the reporter involved and participating, much like immersed or submersion journalism. In Serial, reporter Sarah Koenig documented how she pursued the story, a murder case where an allegedly innocent person went to prison.

The younger generation is also tired of this perception that the news is always impartial and objective, because that just isn’t the point. Everyone has an opinion and everyone will be biased in some way, even journalists. The key point is that the news should always be honest.

(A point that I have always stressed too! Read: I’m not an objective journalist!)

Welcome to the new age of journalism.

Is there an investigative journalism culture in Malaysia?


BFM 89.9 had an interesting discussion about the state of journalism in Malaysia. Joining the hosts Ezra Zaid and Umapagan Ampikaipagan were guests Chak Onn Lau (Editor-In-Chief of Cilisos.my) and Joseph Sipalan (Assistant News Editor at the Malay Mail Online).

The discussion was very candid and they talked about a lot of things, from how Malaysia lacks an investigative journalism culture to how number-chasing has become the order of the day for many news sites.

Click here or on the image above to listen to the podcast.

Gimlet is the most recent podcasting network to be born online… and they want to be like HBO?


Since the last time I wrote about a new online podcast network (If Malaysian podcasters got together, could they form a successful collective like PRX’s Radiotopia?), a new one is here called Gimlet.

Founded by Alex Blumberg of Planet Money (and also a producer at This American Life), it already has a few original shows on offering. Start Up is a show that chronicles start ups going through their journey, Reply All is a show about things on the Internet and Mystery Show is a quirky show about solving everyday mysteries.

And Blumberg feels that going full capitalism is the way to go (just like Ira Glass), which means that he think that advertising money is being floated around more than every right now.

I will say it again… I really hope that podcasting will catch on fire here in Malaysia. I pray to Almighty Allah!

Read a full interview with Blumberg about Gimlet and podcasting at NiemanLab.Org.

And please spend some time listening to some of Fat Bidin’s original podcasts!


Pakchic says: A four-year-old can still learn about financial literacy!



Pakchic says: A four-year-old can still learn about financial literacy!
By Zan Azlee

I don’t like the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki because it doesn’t really give you any added value information. Basically, he just regurgitated common sense in the book.

Of course I was lucky because I had parents who saw the importance of educating my brothers and I about financial literacy from a very young age.

And it wasn’t like they sat us down and explained everything in one go. It was more just normal exposure to how they managed their finances and in our everyday conversations.

I’m glad for it because it help me to avoid so many mistakes that my peers have made, such as falling into credit card debt, not investing as early in your career as possible, etc.

With little Athena, I’m hoping to do the same thing. But, I’m busting my head as to when would be a good age to start. I don’t remember when my parents started with me.

So when Hari Raya was about to come and that would mean tons of duit Raya, I thought what better time to start! Oh, and she’s four years old, by the way.

Athena already has some sense of money. Whenever we’re browsing at a toy store, she would always ask me, “Pops, do you have money to buy me toys?”

But that’s as much as she knows about what money can be used for! It’s all about the toys!

So on the first day of Hari Raya, my wife and I prepared a small handbag for Athena to carry around and we told her to put all her duit Raya packets inside so she won’t lose it.

I told her that it’s important she keeps the money and not lose it because she had to imagine losing her toys and how that would make her feel. She said she understood.

And as expected, all the relatives started giving her duit Raya, from her grandparents, grand uncles and aunties, uncles and me. She was excited, to say the least!

But she was most excited not because of the amount that she was receiving, but by one particular duit Raya packet that my brother had given her. It was a Frozen-themed packet!

I’d call Athena over every once in a while to ask her to pass me her duit Raya, and telling her “I’m saving your money in your bank account so you can use it when you need to, okay?”

She asked me what a bank account is and I told her it’s where we keep money so we don’t lose it. “Oh” she said and gladly and smilingly handed over her duit Raya to me.

But then she looked at me menacingly and said, “Pops, you can take all of my duit Raya, but do not take my Frozen duit Raya! That’s mine! Do you understand?”

I nodded and smiled. Oh well, I thought to myself. At four years old, she’s probably still too young to understand the full concept of money.

The important thing is that I’d never talk down to my daughter and always assume that she can understand things as long as I explain it properly.

Once the Hari Raya weekend ended and all the duit Raya giving started to die down, Athena said, “Pops, once there’s enough in my bank account, we can go and buy a really big toy. Right?”

My clever little girl!

[This article appeared originally at MakChic.Com]

Corporate sponsors wrecked Mick Fanning’s shark attack press conference

mick fanning

It’s always a challenge to be tasteful when featuring sponsors in content and what not. But one area where it is almost too natural to see sponsors is professional sports. Just look at all the millions spent in endorsements on celebrity athletes. Michael Jordan and Nike, Paul Rodriguez and err… Nike. Matthias Dandois with Vans and Redbull. The list goes on.

But then there is the press conference that Mick Fanning did with Julian Wilson. As you would probably remember (or not… considering the fact that last week’s hot news can be forgotten instantly), Fanning is the surfer that was attacked by a shark while competing at Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa.

He dramatically escaped on live TV by punching the shark in the back and also, thanks to his competitor, Wilson, who came to his rescue along with the safety marshals.

The press conference, which was an opportunity for the press to hear the story from Fanning and Wilson themselves, was just too decked out with all his sponsors (he and Wilson were actually drinking cans of Red Bull while speaking to reporters) that it got widespread condemnation. Many thought it was distasteful of all these corporations to take advantage of a situation like Fanning’s close call with a shark.

Sponsorship and product placement runs on the basis of being associated with an image that is positive for the corporations. For example, if Canon would like to be associated with a cool documentary filmmaker like Zan Azlee, they would sponsor him and then let it be an influence in the long run. Being too blatant would be defeating the purpose.

Go read more about this at The Sydney Morning Herald (and view the video of the press conference as well).