There are many more chapters to write in the Singapore story, which The Straits Times has told for nearly two centuries, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday, adding that he hoped it would "live on to continue to do so".
In a message congratulating the publication on its 175th anniversary today, PM Lee said the paper's enduring legacy testifies to the trust that generations of Singaporeans have placed in it.
Recounting how his fingers would be blackened by the ink of newsprint as he was reading the paper growing up, he said that these days, readers are just as likely to get their news by swiping on a screen.
"The format may have changed, but The Straits Times remains true to its mission: delivering the latest news and in-depth analysis on the region and the world," he said. "It also provides a key platform to discuss the interests of our community."
PM Lee added: "Under the watchful stewardship of its editors, journalists and photographers, The Straits Times must continue to adapt and modernise itself, to remain relevant to readers who now have multiple sources of news, views and entertainment, online and offline."
The Straits Times was established on July 15, 1845 by Armenian merchant Catchick Moses as an eight-page weekly.
The only time the paper has run under a different title was during the Japanese Occupation in World War II.
In 1984, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), which currently owns The Straits Times, was formed through a merger of three organisations: The Straits Times Press Group, Singapore News and Publications Limited and Times Publishing Berhad.
The paper is currently Singapore's most-read news publication, with more than 1.2 million readers across all its print, online, mobile and other platforms, according to the 2019 Nielsen Consumer and Media View Study.
Its print and digital editions have a daily average circulation of 370,300.
Said Mr Warren Fernandez, who is editor of The Straits Times and editor-in-chief of SPH's English/ Malay/Tamil Media Group: "This is a significant milestone. Even as we mark it, we are pressing on with our efforts to keep transforming our newsroom to remain relevant amid the changes in the media industry.
TRUE TO MISSION
The format may have changed, but The Straits Times remains true to its mission: delivering the latest news and in-depth analysis on the region and the world.
PRIME MINISTER LEE HSIEN LOONG
"My colleagues and I will be meeting today, virtually, to mark the anniversary, because of the pandemic. We are able to do so because our newsroom has grown more adept working with the new online and video technologies."
In recent years, The Straits Times has worked to transform from a purely print newsroom to a multimedia operation.
It now puts out news through the day on its website, app, social media platforms, newsletters, radio stations and podcast and online video shows, such as The Big Story, a daily update of the news which airs on Facebook and YouTube.
Last December, a tablet version was launched that has garnered almost 16,000 subscriptions. It allows readers to receive their daily newspapers digitally and instantly.
To commemorate The Straits Times' 175th anniversary, today's edition of the paper comes with a section of contributions from some of the newspaper's senior writers, highlighting the paper's role in documenting events here and in the wider world.
It will also mark the occasion with a virtual version of its annual ChildAid fund-raising concert, jointly organised by The Straits Times and The Business Times. The show, to be streamed online at 8pm tonight, will feature a leading-edge 360-degree immersive video experience as well as 8D technology for a better audio experience.
It will raise funds for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, which helps about 10,000 disadvantaged students pay for their meals and transport, and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund, which supports lessons in the performing and visual arts for 1,000 financially disadvantaged children who are artistically talented.
PM's fond memories poring over pages
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong congratulated The Straits Times on its 175th anniversary today. This is the message that he wrote:
Ever since the ink was printed on its very first issue on 15 July 1845, The Straits Times has unwaveringly told the story of Singapore for nearly two centuries. Today, it is Singapore's most-read newspaper, and makes a profound impact on our society.
I have fond memories of poring over the pages of The Straits Times, getting my fingers blackened with the ink, when I was growing up. These days, readers are just as likely to get their news by simply swiping on a screen. The format may have changed, but The Straits Times remains true to its mission: Delivering the latest news and in-depth analysis on the region and the world. It also provides a key platform to discuss the interests of our community.
The enduring legacy of The Straits Times testifies to the trust that generations of Singaporeans have placed in it. Under the watchful stewardship of its editors, journalists and photographers, The Straits Times must continue to adapt and modernise itself, to remain relevant to readers who now have multiple sources of news, views and entertainment, online and offline.
ONLINE STREAMING AT 8PM
To watch the ChildAid concert, go to str.sg/childaid2020
Catch a special preview of ChildAid 2020 at 7.45pm featuring concert highlights and an interview with ST editor Warren Fernandez.
We have many more chapters to write in our Singapore Story. May The Straits Times live on to be read and enjoyed by generations of Singaporeans to come.
Happy 175th Anniversary!