Former Digital Life editor Oo Gin Lee: Straits Times journalists feel misunderstood

Oo Gin Lee

Oo Gin Lee

Oo Gin Lee, the long-time tech editor of the Straits Times, has said that many of the newspaper’s journalists feel “misunderstood” and unfairly labelled as government spokespeople.

Oo, who recently left the ST to set up his own PR agency, was speaking at the Singapore Publishers Summit this morning.

“The Straits Times is pro government, but it’s not like there is someone breathing down our necks [to influence reporting]. There isn’t,” he said, referring to the ownership structure of Singapore Press Holdings.

“No single entity owns more than five per cent [of SPH], that’s how control [of the company] is devolved. Special people have voting shares, but they can only vote for the appointment of the CEO. Day to day operations are run independently,” he said.

“Straits Times journalists feel understood. They’re out there to do their jobs and make a difference,” Oo said, telling Mumbrella later that ST journalists have often suffered abuse and name-calling.

In response to a question about the best way for brands to get a story in the ST, Oo said: “Clearly any story that puts Singapore on the forefront; if we beat the whole world at something.”

Oo called time on 15 years as a tech journalist, 10 with the Straits Times, the last three as tech editor, when he started GLOO in July this year.

“PR is harder than it looks. If I become a journalist again, I will be the sweetest journalist,” he said. “I was fair, but I know I had my bad days. To those who I have offended, I’m sorry,” he said.

Oo joked that he’s had to cut down on time spent video games since going it alone in PR.

“I used to get satisfaction from breaking news pieces or product reviews. I don’t get that anymore. I get satisfaction now from being a seller of information. If I do that job honestly and it gets a hit, that is what keeps me going,” he said.


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