I HAVE been preaching for more than two decades that the printed newspaper is in a state of sunset and recently I even said it was “on its last legs” because of the decimated readership numbers.
Many of my contemporaries in the industry saw me as a doomsayer and accused me of pouring sand into everyone’s rice bowl by saying all these negative things about the newspaper industry.
However, many of them are now coming around to see things from my point of view.
The present printed newspaper business model is flawed as it depends on advertising to survive, and the explosion of easy access of information digitally has rendered us useless as a news provider.
Two of our main stakeholders — readers and advertisers — no longer need us.
The printed newspaper no longer has a reason to be in business except to serve the older folks who cannot do without a physical medium to hold on to.
Unfortunately, such readers are becoming smaller in numbers.
In addition advertisers no longer want to sell products and services to the older crowd but are now targeting the younger ones, and this means that even if we can find these older readers, the advertisers — the lifeline to financing printed words — are still not keen to spend their money with the printed paper.
This brings us to this final issue of Malay Mail in its present format.
After 122 years of the physical newspaper, it is time for us to evolve for us to continue the spirit of Malay Mail.
In the following pages, my predecessors recount the history and their thoughts about this wonderful newspaper which was epitomised by its famous tagline “The Paper That Cares”.
Over the last five years as Editor-in-Chief, I have agonised on how to keep the paper going; my colleagues and I tried almost everything, but I must humbly admit that we failed.
For this failure, I apologise to my colleagues and thank them for following me into battle. We fought a good fight.
Of course, I do hope that one day Malay Mail returns as a printed copy.
I have been a print man for more than three decades and making this decision to switch over to the digital format pains me greatly, but over the past nine months I have also become energised by our new plans to forge ahead.
As I gaze into my cloudy crystal ball, I see the only hope for a news provider is to be one that makes news dissemination as easy, as convenient and as relevant as possible in order to ATTRACT all readers.
Technology has made this possible and instead of becoming slaves to the digital world, Malay Mail will strive to enslave technology to be an effective content and information provider as well as an entertainment outlet.
We want to make Malay Mail synonymous with all information, opinions, promotion about Malaysia and for that, we need to occupy that digital space and use all the technology available.
We want to take Malay Mail — firstly regional and then global — into all facets of the 4.0 Economy.
I invite all stakeholders — readers, viewers, listeners, influencers, marketeers and advertisers — to join us on this new journey where Malay Mail will do everything digitally possible to inform, entertain and promote in a globalised digital world.
Instead of bidding farewell, I bid all of you to a warm welcome to this new adventure of a Malay Mail that still CARES.