Readers welcome new look for The Straits Times

Insurance agent Joshua Lim, 45, reading a copy of the newly relaunched Straits Times yesterday. He liked the new Page Two, which gives readers a summary of the news at a glance and includes a short column explaining a news topic.
Insurance agent Joshua Lim, 45, reading a copy of the newly relaunched Straits Times yesterday. He liked the new Page Two, which gives readers a summary of the news at a glance and includes a short column explaining a news topic.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

A bold new look that is fresh, lively and contemporary, applied consistently across all related products.

That summed up the reactions from most readers to the revamped version of Singapore's most-read newspaper which hit newsstands yesterday, and its new digital versions which went live yesterday morning as well.

Most of those interviewed welcomed the changes in The Straits Times, which include a new layout, typeface and expanded content.

Architect Yeo Hock Chai, 55, said: "The new font and layout have a crisper, cleaner look, and the large photos and spaces make it definitely much easier to read."

He also liked the new "What's Next" and "Why It Matters" features on Page Two, which he said are helpful for the time-starved reader.

Executive Janet Koh, 52, thought the Home section's new daily features were a good idea as they help to give more focus to the paper.

Some readers sent bouquets, notes and e-mails to the ST newsroom with words of congratulation and encouragement.

But not everyone was as enthusiastic, of course. Undergraduate Mohammad Sahil, 23, wished the design was "more eye-catching".

Some said they looked forward to reading their old favourites.

Lawyer John Huntley, 50, an American working here, said he has been reading ST since he came to Singapore in 2007. He enjoys crime stories written by senior law correspondent K.C. Vijayan and court correspondent Elena Chong.

Banker Alfred Wee, 50, hopes his favourite column by deputy editor Sumiko Tan will continue to run in The Sunday Times.

Yesterday's relaunch came with a $1.70 McDonald's breakfast deal, which included one Sausage McMuffin and a cup of coffee or tea. The meal usually costs $3. The offer is part of the broadsheet's 170th anniversary celebrations. Its first issue came out on July 15, 1845.

Full-time national serviceman Tow Ying Xiang, 19, was spotted at the McDonald's outlet at the Toa Payoh HDB Hub.

Mr Tow, who has been reading the paper since he was in primary school, found the new design refreshing but said it would "take time to get used to".

ST's website and mobile apps for smartphones and tablets were also redesigned to be more modern and modular, with content organised in easy-to-navigate "blocks", which adjust to fit any screen size.

Assistant restaurant manager Muhammad Zulkefly, 26, appreciated that the site was now mobile-friendly. "The words fit nicely and it's reader-friendly," he said.

Mr Wong Voal Voal, managing partner of communications agency IN.FOM, felt that ST Now, a new live breaking news blogging section on the site, was important in this digital age.

Responding to the reactions, Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez said: "By and large, readers seem to have welcomed the redesign. Many told me they found the new look refreshing.

"They liked the more visual approach, as well as the sense that they are reading the same familiar ST products across platforms.

"But a good newspaper is a constant work in progress, and we're happy to take on board all the feedback, and we'll keep working on it."

•Additional reporting by Toh Ting Wei, Amos Lee and Jalelah Abu Baker

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2015, with the headline 'Readers welcome new look for The Straits Times'. Print Edition | Subscribe