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Journalism

August 24, 2007

I have been reading the Borneo Bulletin ever since I know how to read in English. English is not my mother-tongue and the first person who taught me English was my late father. Resources were not that many when I was small and so dad would pick up Borneo Bulletin meant for his office. But mind you, not fresh ones but those of like a week ago.  

All the same, at that age, I didn’t care much about the dates. It’s the English that’s what matter. Dad would point out to a word in the newspaper randomly and asked what it meant in Malay. I always enjoyed that and the best thing was competing with my elder brother on who got the most words correct. No candy or cash were given as prizes, just simple praises from dad. That was enough for a small child like me. It really builds my self-esteem. 

Anyway, Borneo Bulletin has actually been around since the late 50’s. The owners were expatriates who worked at the oil field. I am not going to talk about its history but more to the content of the newspaper. Being the only English newspaper in a country for awhile until 2006, Borneo Bulletin has its advantages. Economically-speaking, people would just buy it as it’s the only paper. The content has greatly improved for a number of years back. We have more pages on local news compared to a far cry of just a page or two previously. I have seen more pictures of the local community and I am sure the locals appreciate that, to see your face in the paper. 

One thing that concern me most now is the level of reporting or journalistic work. Forget the English first, just a comment, they need to imrpove their English. I am talking not just for the paper but of journalism work of the other agencies in Brunei. Most reports are just appalling. Everyday you will read about immigration raids, crime offenders, functions and promotions (especially food). I also always notice on the errors made, like names, spelling, person; simply just unjournalistic enough.  Journalism is unheard of 20 years ago as the number of journalist students from Brunei is really small. I know one lady who studied Journalism in the UK after her A-levels but came back to Brunei and work with the Brunei Government NOT as a journalist but as a Government servant.  

The issue is, is journalism unattractive? Is it because you dont earn much if you are a journalist? Is the working environment not conducive? I know its not a 9 to 5 work, is that also the reason why?

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