ST journalist writes news stories that bridge the gap between people

Ms Choo Yun Ting wants to continue telling stories that are accessible and meaningful for readers. PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI


As the pandemic world becomes more fragmented and communities become more isolated, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) journalist Choo Yun Ting believes news reporting has a critical part to play in connecting people. 

“The sharing of news has become even more of a conversation starter than before,” says the 25-year-old who covers business and economy news at The Straits Times. “People are able to build relationships and rapport more easily through this means as compared with the past, given that online news is how they stay updated together in this climate.”

As a storyteller who values making genuine connections, interviewing in the Covid-19 era has not been easy for Ms Choo, who is a recipient of the SPH journalism scholarship. Many face-to-face interviews have now been replaced by phone calls or video-conferencing. 

“It’s harder to build rapport with someone virtually, compared with talking in person, where little things like walking from the reception to a meeting room provides opportunities for small talk,” the 25-year-old says. 

With current social distancing rules, getting access to interviewees’ workspaces or facilities for her business reports has also been tough. For example, when covering topics such as manufacturing processes, it is difficult to envision and explain how things work without seeing them in person, Ms Choo says.

Thinking on her feet 

Her solution? Take advantage of digital means, such as getting interviewees to send her video footage of their workplaces, which helps her understand the operations better. 

All in all, the experience has taught her to put even more effort into showing interest in her interviewees’ lives and being attuned to their facial expressions and emotional state when doing digital interviews. A method that has worked particularly well for her is starting the interview by bonding with interviewees over how the pandemic has affected their daily lives, before delving into more probing questions. 

Ms Choo hopes to continue telling stories that are accessible and meaningful for readers. 

She says: “I hope the skills we are constantly honing in this business help us make information like complicated policies and technical legalese easier to understand. This way, people are able to access the help they require.”

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