Now, how should I begin this? After my last entry and with my friends kindly enough contributing thoughts and ideas, I may put everyone's hopes - and myself - too high. Perhaps it was the exposure I had in advertising agencies and other offices which led me to think the Harakah Brainstorming Session that was held earlier today, would be similar. In a way it was. But in many ways, it was not. A point to be taken into consideration, is that I was invited only for the morning to afternoon session. Thus, I really cannot say for certain the outcome. Whatever, towards the end of the morning session, I had a feeling that I really should go bang my head against the nearest wall.
The morning started off with 2 invited speakers, which perhaps I would be wiser not to name them as a precaution against any snooping eyes from the Sarkas people or the Sarkas Branch. Won't say much about their talk as - forgive me - they were not convincing enough for me. Further, as they come from rival publication, my instinct tells me not to trust them. The organiser would have done better had they invited media personalities such Tan Sri Kadir and even RPK (though he was invited much earlier to give a different talk). Speaking of the man, RPK had just texted a message as below:
"I have been ordered to surrender at the Jln Duta magistrate court 9.30am 2moro, Tue, to be chagred for sedition" Petra.
Thus, anyone who would like to give him moral support, insyAllah, I'll see you guys tomorrow.
Back to the sesion. Soon after the 2 talks, participants were then invited to voice their opinions on how to further improve Harakah and make it more appealing to the public. More than half took turns at the microphone as did that cakapaje guy. Without any credibility as a reporter, he went shooting his mouth off, but luckily not like a six-shooter. Having received tips from Ahmad Lutfi to 'jack' the staff first, cakapaje then pointed out the weaknesses of the print as well as the on-line daily, as mentioned by Elviza in her comments. He later put forward everyone's suggestions, but the one which was particularly well-received was the suggestion for a consumer pull-out, giving special attention to the daily needs of the people especially with the looming food crises and possibility of another hike in oil prices. When everyone was done with, Ahmad Lutfi (AL) then began to talk of his views for Harakah.
One of the things AL mentioned was that Harakah is in a unique position. It is not a daily paper, relying on the sale of its twice a month tabloid to generate income. Yet it provides daily news quite like M'kini, which does not have a paper of its own, and generate income via its English news site. For its print edition, Harakah would have to include many of the news which is produced free. In other words, they are stale news for the Internet savvy readers.
AL does intend to have a subscribed daily news section similar to M'kini, but on a different scale - to provide the subscribers with quality read which may either be news or articles of noteworthy read. However, to do that, Harakah would need to invest in new technologies as well as reporter staff. That, is the main setback - Harakah is not a cash rich organisation. Its income was severely affected by the twice monthly restriction ruling by Sarkas Dalam Negeri, from the twice weekly sales it enjoyed prior to that.
As I mentioned earlier, I was only present for the morning session and that was all to it. InsyAllah, I will keep everyone abreast of any latest development, particularly regarding the suggestions everyone had given.
Now, this is the part where I feel the need to bang my head in - for seemingly disappointing my friends with high expectations yesterday. Please forgive me.
ps. Point to note: The BS was organised by SIASAH which had their session in a different room, totally removed from Harakah.