Splice News media trends: The week according to Alan Soon

As a leading light of the commentariat in Asia, newsroom consultant and former alumnus of Yahoo, CNBC and Bloomberg, Alan Soon knows a thing or two about the media. Here is his roundup of developments inside the bubble this week

Alan Soon Mumbrella360 Asia 2017The Atlantic asks: Could Facebook be tried for human rights abuses in Myanmar? It’s a bit of a stretch but you can see where things could head. As the writer notes, “it’s difficult to identify what crime Facebook has committed. Lack of foresight isn’t actually a crime against humanity.” It’s complicated.

It’s been a year since Facebook started working with fact-checkers in the battle against fake news. Does that partnership make a difference?

Is Facebook good or bad for you? Here’s an opinion by the beleaguered platform itself, and it’s an interesting one.

What does David Pemsel, CEO of Guardian Media Group, think of Facebook? “We argue that quality, for societal reasons, as well as to derive ad revenue, should be part of their ecosystem. It’s not. We came out of Instant Articles because we didn’t want to provide our journalism in return for nothing.”

Facebook is putting a stop to Like-baiting on the platform. It’s starting to go after posts that say, “If you want more of this, hit Like” or “Share this to get an awesome car!” I’d like this initiative, if I could.

France’s privacy watchdog CNIL ordered WhatsApp to stop sharing data with its parent company Facebook. It says WhatsApp never told its users that it would share such data, and that it provides no way to opt out. How do you feel about the issue?


Singapore’s The New Paper will stop printing on weekends and shift to a weekday-only publication. “A large percentage of our readers are PMETs who work five-day work weeks. Furthermore, Saturday travel patterns of readers are getting more varied as people go about their weekend activities.” I’m surprised it took them this long to realize that.


The top level of Myanmar’s civilian leadership signed off on the prosecution of two Reuters journalists, alleging they were collecting classified information on Rakhine state from police sources. “The Ministry of Home Affairs sought permission from the President’s Office for the charge. With the approval of the President Office, the charges were filed.”

New Zealand’s high court rejected the proposed merger of NZME and Fairfax Media, saying the concentration of ownership would affect media plurality in the country. “The risk is clearly a meaningful one and, if it occurred, it would have major ramifications for the quality of New Zealand democracy.”

Singapore’s media regulator is considering an amendment to the Film Act that would give its officers the authority to break into a property without a warrant during investigations. It confers policing and enforcement powers on its officers that seem out of place for a regulator. A community-led petition is underway.


If you haven’t heard of IDN Media in Indonesia, it’s time you did. They started out as a hobby project by Winston Utomo, a former Googler, while he was working at Google. Now it’s one of the fastest growing startups reaching millennials and Gen Zs in the country. A Splice original.


Business Insider got its hands on internal financial documents at Mashable. The numbers showed the company was in deep trouble and couldn’t stem its losses while missing its revenue targets. And as part of the sale to Ziff Davis, outstanding stock options for employees are apparently worthless.

This didn’t make it into last week’s newsletter, but it’s important: Apple finally delivered on its promise to provide analytics to podcast publishers. You can now figure out when listeners dropped off. This stuff is so basic, but was never available until now, and it means that podcasts can finally start making some real ad dollars.

Half of all opinion pieces published in Australia contravene industry codes on racism. News Corp is the worst offender.


Myanmar is making it increasingly hard for foreign media to operate in the country. This is how bad things are for one of the foreign journalists working in the country. Read Victoria Milko’s story.


If you’re tired of transcribing interviews, try Descript. It uses AI to deliver a pretty tidy transcript (it uses Google’s APIs). And there’s another side to this magic: If you’re editing a podcast, you can make the changes to the transcript, and Descript will change the audio track automagically. Use this link and you’ll get 100 minutes of transcription free (and so will I!).

If you don’t already have a second layer of security on your Google account, you should take a look at Yubikey. SMS just isn’t enough these days.


AOL shut their once-popular AOL Instant Messenger. Remember the buddy list?

Yes, even Nazis can be Nazis about grammar. Have a look at The Daily Stormer’s style guide.

If Google says you’re dead and you can’t convince them otherwise, are you even alive? Ask journalist Rachel Abrams (who insists she isn’t dead).

If you’re a journalist, what was your most memorable interview this year? We’d really love to know. Hit reply. Ten New York Times reporters talk about theirs.


“Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.”
— Henry Ford


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