Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tom Plate and Jeffrey Cole interview MM Lee

Full transcript of Minister Mentor's interview with syndicated columnist Tom Plate of the UCLA Media Center and new-media expert Jeffrey Cole of the USC Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future:
Q: Singapore is one of the world's most wired countries, far ahead of the pack. How do you imagine over time that this will change Singapore? What will be your sense of what happens in an educated country with high standards, when anyone can get anything on the Web, videos and blogs so that the role of a centralized media become less and less dominant?

Lee: Well, it is already on its way because the print media here is not growing the same way, they are stagnating. It's not declining as fast as, say, it is in America or Britain ... And this is happening here.

The young, they read things on the Internet. I mean, I am part of the older generation. Yes, I read some stuff on the Internet, but at the end of the day, I say, well, let's see what the proper analysis is. So, I look up, I look at the editorial pages and the op-ed pages. I am not sure that the young will do that anymore, but the way the print media can stay in the contest is not to be the first with the news because that's not possible, but to be the first with the background and the analysis and the ones with the high credibility will stay in business.

You must have credibility because you get so much on the Internet. Whom do you believe? Finally, you've got to say, who is saying this? And you don't know. But if you say, this is The New York Times, this is the Washington Post or the L.A. Times, then you say, well, that is the standard.

I mean, that goes for every country, I think, but we have a different problem here because we are bilingual. English is our first language, well, for the younger generation. The older generation, Chinese was their first language, but the ones below 30 now, below 35, the majority, English is their first language and Chinese or Malay and whatever will be their second language. But with the rise of China, we are already seeing more and more going to China doing business and more Chinese coming here doing business. So, they are going to start reading the Chinese blogs, the Chinese news. It's already happening. So, the trend will be from print to screen.

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