THE countdown to a new and improved version of Singapore's most-read newspaper has begun.
In less than a month, on July 1, readers of The Straits Times can expect the English-language flagship daily of the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) to have more content wrapped in a bold new look - both online and in print.
The new features - ranging from design aspects such as layout and font, to changes in digital subscription models and content updates - were unveiled at a media trade show at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Orchard yesterday.
The major revamp is in celebration of the 170th anniversary of the newspaper, which published its first issue on July 15, 1845.
Noting that ST has been covering major events in Singapore since then, ST editor Warren Fernandez said the overhaul would mean a "new look, new app, but with the same Singapore soul".
The aim was to make ST "more local, more global, more visual, as well as more digital and social", he added.
Advertisers at the event welcomed the move to revamp both digital and print platforms at the same time, saying it was timely.
"The revamp is impressive, and it's good to see the integration between print and digital as it will allow for a lot of consistency and greater reach exposure," said Ms Seah Seow Ping, associate director for marketing and communication at fund management firm Amundi Asset Management.
"Digital is obviously the way to go, and it's apt that ST is (revamping) as an integrated platform, as opposed to just a print or digital revamp," said United Overseas Bank senior vice-president and head of product, channels and business banking marketing Anthony Wan.
As part of the revamp, non-subscribers will be able to read full news stories on the paper's website, up to a certain quota each month, and share them freely with others. Currently, they are able to access only the first few paragraphs of selected stories.
Content-wise, local news coverage will be ramped up in a dedicated and beefed-up Home section. This will include new daily features that will delve deeper into topics of interest to readers, such as Health, Education, Community and Science.
Readers can also expect more global news from the insights and special reports served up by the paper's growing network of correspondents around the world, as well as from a new regional affairs feature series, helmed by associate editor Ravi Velloor.
Photographs, graphics, cartoons, videos and other visuals will also feature strongly in the revamped ST. A new Big Picture page at the back of ST's first section will, for example, feature photos from around the world.
The Money section will also be renamed Business, to "reflect our comprehensive coverage of finance news, both local and foreign", said money editor Lee Su Shyan. "We aim to offer in-depth analyses of listed companies and economic matters as well as insights from CEOs and business leaders," she added.
The revamped Sunday Times, which hits news-stands on July 5, will come in three sections.
The first will include local, international and sports news, while the second will feature news analyses, commentaries and tips on how to invest money. The third Life section will be big on food, travel and lifestyle features.
The print revamp is spearheaded by award-winning design consultant Lucie Lacava, 56, who has helped redesign more than 80 publications across the world.
Said Ms Lacava, who is from Montreal in Canada: "Readers will find that it's an enjoyable experience, it's easy to read and very content-driven. It's not a design that calls attention to itself."