Community News Sites and Engaged Community

MalaysiaKini is currently working on a community news site, KomunitiKini, to provide news and information on communities across Malaysia.  The local news situation in Malaysia is a microcosm of the national news situation, but only with fewer dedicated traditional news outlets.  All of the local mainstream media is associated with a constituent party of the ruling coalition.  Local or regional newspapers are relatively limited and coverage tends to focus on crime with limited reporting on community issues. Independent voices or community activism is restricted to online. Continue reading


亚洲中国新媒体研讨会 / Asia China New Media Conference

The Asia China New Media Conference, hosted by MalaysiaKini’s Chinese Service and  sponsored by Open Society Institute and the University of Hong Kong’s Center for Journalism and Media Studies, gathered over one hundred journalists, bloggers and academics to discuss the current state of new media in Chinese-speaking Asia as well as to discuss future areas for cooperation.  Attendees came from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore and the host country Malaysia. Continue reading

Overview of the Marketing and Product Development Process

This morning I conducted my first training with 11 members of the business team here.  We spent three hours discussing the general outlines of marketing and product development.  There was genuine interest and some very helpful comments.  Especially around expanding the presentation to be closer to 4 hours on the details and then to break the training with more team exercises on both marketing and product development.  So,
moving on to develop some team exercises for the presentation.  Any ideas?

There was also need for more on product management and the pipeline management process, as well as the need for something on strategy and technology management.  So, in addition to marketing and the product development overview, we may also add training on these aspects of marketing, product development and product management.

We will building this training out into more modules with more exercises in the next few months as well as applying the process to specific case studies of products in development here in KL.

Feedback and comments are welcome and encouraged.

Comments can be found at the Knight Fellow Blog or on

Presentation on Slideshare

Southeast Asia and Malaysia Media Basics

When you work with a media company, especially when you are outside of your home market, you have to start with some very basic grounding in the market. What works today? What doesn’t? What are your hypotheses for why the market has reached this particular point in its evolution? Without doing this you run the risk of assuming everything works the way it does in Silicon Valley. Every market has its own unique fundamentals. Without at least developing a bit of a primer on these fundamentals, a consultant runs the risk of developing plans, strategies and training that is politely acknowledged and then equally politely ignored.

So, here is a short primer using publicly available sources to describe the infrastructure and advertising support for media, especially online media, in Southeast Asia. My first step in understanding where there are business model opportunities for MalaysiaKini. [More]

Bon Voyage – Selamat Jalan – 一路顺风

Six media professionals – three print, two video, one business – have tried to absorb over a week’s worth of training, counsel and advice before embarking for five very different efforts to expand the quality and the sustainability of journalism.  We are each Knight International Journalism Fellows, a program developed and managed by the International Committee for Journalists, through grants from Knight Foundation and the Gates Foundation.

Now we are each off to our respective destinations – Peru, Haiti, Egypt/Jordan/Palestine, Sierra Leone, Malawi.  As for me, I am off to Malaysia where I will work with the team at, the largest online news source in Malaysia and one of the largest online content providers in Southeast Asia.  [More]

Catching Up

It has been many many months since I have blogged regularly about anything. As always, life has a way of presenting you different riddles and puzzles.

I have been working on a Gordian puzzle for many years now and think I may just be able to unravel enough of the problem to see the overall pattern.

So, I have decided to start blogging again.  I won’t make any commitments to the frequency.  But I would like it to be a regular post about all of those things that I love – yoga, media, language, literature, … people, and of course food.

As part of unraveling a personal puzzle, I applied for the International Center for Journalist‘s Knight International Journalism Fellowship and thanks to a group of stalwart and supportive friends, ICFJ has asked me to be one of the six fellows they will send into the world to support the development of independent journalism.

I will work with the team at the largest online news organization in Malaysia to develop sustainable business models for citizen participation in the news gathering, editing, verification and writing process.  The Fellowship allows me to add the Islands (Nusantara, as they say in Malay) and at least some of the Muslim conversation to my focus.  More on the global conversation in a later post.

After many years of experimenting with and using “social media”, I have added a couple of self-published items to my circle online.  You can expect to see the following:

Exchanging Hats (general life, work, love, food, language)

Roadside Attractions (life clippings and my general record of what I am writing)

Knight International Journalism Fellows Blog (postings that are directly related to my work with ICFJ and Knight.  I will set these up to repost a summary with a link to the Exchanging Hats and Roadside Attractions.

Look forward to hearing your thoughts comments and suggestions.

You can find me at all the usual places elsewhere online (Facebook, Twitter – @rsettles) a full list is included on my about page.