Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Jakarta Globe hits the newsstands

Extra marks to the new Jakarta Globe for chutzpah (for those not familiar with the term ... brass balls). In a digital era where print journalism is basically dying a slow and painful death, at least in America, in comes a new English-language daily.

The Jakarta Post is obviously the granddaddy of English publications in Indonesia's capital, and I imagine it'll be a steep climb to unseat such an insitution. But the Globe is backed by big money, i.e. billionaire James Riady, and if he wants a newspaper then he'll have one. (Reminds me of Canadian media baron Conrad Black, who started the National Post as a conservative voice even as it lost millions and millions of dollars.)

Early reports project a 48-page daily with a starting print run of 50,000 and a soft-news feel, with plenty of lifestyle and sports. Senior editor Lin Neumann, formerly of the Hong Kong Standard, is headmanning the project, which kicks off in just about the worst economic environment imaginable. He also has the lofty goal of being compared to the South China Morning Post, the Straits Times and the Bangkok Post.

As a freelance journalist, I wholeheartedly support any new print venture that employs us ink-stained wretches, and pays its invoices on time. But as a reality check, think of Conrad Black's other vanity publishing venture, the New York Sun. It too started with much gusto a few years ago ...but thanks to hard economic realities, it just closed its doors for the last time.

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