Differences between the Star newspaper and the New Straits Times The Star and The New Straits Times are two of Malaysia’s most read English-language daily and Sunday newspapers. Having given the task to observe and analyze both newspapers for a week; from the 15th of March till the 21st of March 2010, many similarities as well as differences were spotted. From the aspect of the content and objective of the papers, ownership plays a major role in determining what materials are included in the publications.
The Star newspaper acts as a medium to spread political opinions and ideologies of the MCA (its owner) besides highlighting issues in relation to the said party. For example, ‘MCA plans SME one stop centre’ that was printed on the 16th of March 2010 highlights issues concerning the party. Often, The Star portrays the MCA in a positive light with pictures visualising them giving aid to victims of theft and abuse thus, prioritizing the image of the political party over other relevant newsworthy articles.
The New Straits Times on the other hand acts as the mouthpiece of the government due to its UMNO ownership hence articles are written from a perspective that glorifies the said party. ‘Middle Malaysia is mere rhetoric and sloganeering’ (Prime News, News Straits Times, 17thMarch 2010) is a clear example on how the paper undermine other political parties to highlight their own cause. In this context, the report emphasized the Prime Minister’s (who happens to be the UMNO president) opinion that he disagrees with the concept calling it as a new take on the failed ‘Malaysian Malaysia’ concept.
This shows that the paper acts as a medium to spread government opinions. The similarities observed were in terms of both papers being pro-government as both are owned by parties under the government coalition party; Barisan Nasional (BN). Thus, both The Star and New Straits Times practices hegemony in reporting news to persuade and maintain the government’s rule and power over the nation. As a result, more articles in both publications highlight the government’s good deeds while undermining its wrong-doings.
Other than reporting news, both newspapers act as a platform to advertise products and services via colourful and creative advertorials (i. e. usually found on right-side pages) as it pose as the main source of income newspapers. The act of including more advertisements reduces the space for news coverage. Based on the week long observation, the Star has more advertisements compared to the New Straits Times. Perhaps this is due to the fact that The Star has a higher circulation and readership making companies opt to advertise in The Star as it has a higher chance of being read by the masses, reaching its target audiences.
The Star has a bigger following with 294, 479 (The Star Corporate Profile, 2009) while The New Straits Times have a circulation of 120, 770 (New Straits Times Press Berhad, 2010). Both newspapers have special features to boast about. The Star is known for its photograph voting column that highlights extraordinary pictures sent by readers. A winner will be chosen and RM50 will be awarded. This unique feature balances the serious contents of the paper besides promoting citizen journalism and encouraging readers’ contribution.
New Straits Times on the other hand have readers looking forward to the weekly Lat drawings that complements Mahendra Ved’s column in the commentary section. Here, an interpretation of Ved’s thoughts is visualised using caricatures along with humours captions that captures the gist of the commentary. A journalist from The Star that is worth mentioning is Marina Mahathir (daughter of the opinionated former Prime Minister) who writes a bi-weekly column entitled; ‘Musings’. Marina is known for addressing issues pertaining to human rights, freedom of speech and on Muslim lifestyles.
Her article that appeared on the 17th of March 2010 ‘Gender equality still falls short’ uses simple and straightforward language besides being balanced and objective enabling her to engage the readers. Chok Suat Ling from the New Straits Times is a worthy journalist who has a comment column that advocates equality and urges Malaysians to unite and lead dignified lives. Her articles attract attention due to her passionate and aggressive style of writing that sets her apart from others.
For both newspapers, the style of writing and covering news differs according to sections as different parts of the newspaper cater to different people and has different objectives. Observing The Star, conclusions made were that the ‘Nation’, ‘World’, ‘Views’, ‘Sports’ and ‘Starbiz’ sections that reports hard news were written in a formal tone using simple language with straightforward headlines and complementing images. The Star Metro which consists of news, comments, events, food, feature, letters and In-tech opts for a laid back style of writing with images as it poses as a form of light reading suitable for a wide range of audiences.
The Star Two section that discuss trends, issues, people, showbiz, music, R. AGE, parenting, guide, music, video, radio, health, education and fashion are made up of opinion based pieces targeting both professionals and young readers. Mixtures of serious and informal styles were used depending on the issues discussed. The New Straits Times also has different styles of reporting based on different sections. The Prime news, Spotlight, Nation, Business times, World News and Sports are Hard News written in short paragraphs though the articles are long as it provides more explanation( then the Star) leading to an event and direct quotes.
Streets , Life and Times have a laid back and casual approach written as critiques and comments as a wide usage of pictures were used for entertainment purposes(e. g. : community, technology, style, travel, family ,living, health, food). Many articles review products which cater to readers’ interest as more than 69% of readers are from households earning more than RM2000 a month, thus they can afford to purchase them. (New Straits Times Press Berhad, 2010) From the aspect of the newspaper appearance, The Star is made up of a big image on the front page while its left side includes some main stories.
The top of the page usually provides a brief introduction to a hard news article while the bottom is made up of advertisements. The colour scheme of the front page is red, white, grey and beige. The New Straits Times on the other hand has a simple and clear physical appearance. Throughout the observation period, only 1 picture was allocated per cover page. The font used is New Time Roman and experts of headlines were included to ease reading paths besides having graphics that were easy on the eyes. However, this newspaper lacks colour and creativity as it comes across as sophisticated and dry.
In terms of style of writing, both The Star and New Straits Times uses the standard reporting format of introduction in the first paragraph followed by introduction of a person for quotation, and lastly, the quote itself. Both newspapers also used past tense, past perfect tense and active tenses to emphasize different subjects. The slight difference is that The Star uses clear and simple words with one sentence per paragraph; between 15 to 30 words. Meanwhile, the New Straits Times have longer articles perhaps due to its former broadsheet format that took up more space.
Besides that, the New Straits Times style of writing often takes on angles that touches human interest aspects with articles such as “I’m a victim of sabotage” (Prime news, 17th March) and “Mum: My son has been abducted” (Prime news, 16th March) which were written to engage readers. In terms of content, The Star happens to make spelling errors such as “M13: ‘this is a wonderful achievement-one that will spur the next batch of students to achive the best’” (Metro, 15th March 2020). Besides that, the word “arts” and “events” were not consistent as it appeared as “art” and “event” in following pages.
The New Straits Times on the other hand, experience lack of accuracy in terms of content as errors are often made. In the article “Get Syariah court’s okay on child marriages” (Prime News, 20th of March 2010), an error was made in the name of the Syariah Judiciary Department Director General and was corrected only three days after it was printed. In conclusion, both articles have its advantages and disadvantages and it is up to the readers to choose which newspaper they prefer to get their daily dose of information from.
If one is looking for straight forward simple reporting, then The Star would be the best. And The New Straits Times would best suit readers who are educated and affluent as flowery words are often used. If one cannot make up their mind, there is no need to worry as both newspapers have come up with online versions enabling free reads for all. References 1. New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad, 2010, New Straits Times, online, retrieved on the 30th of March 2010 from http://www. nstp. com. my/Corporate/nstp/products/productSub. tm 2. New Straits Times, 15th March 2010, New Straits Times Press(Malaysia) Berhad, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 3. New Straits Times, 16th March 2010, New Straits Times Press(Malaysia) Berhad, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 4. New Straits Times, 17th March 2010, New Straits Times Press(Malaysia) Berhad, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 5. New Straits Times, 18th March 2010, New Straits Times Press(Malaysia) Berhad, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 6. New Straits Times, 19th March 2010, New Straits Times Press(Malaysia) Berhad, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia . New Straits Times, 20th March 2010, New Straits Times Press(Malaysia) Berhad, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 8. New Sunday Times, 21st March 2010, New Straits Times Press(Malaysia) Berhad, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 9. The Star, 15th of March 2010, The Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad, Selangor, Malaysia 10. The Star, 16th of March 2010, The Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad, Selangor, Malaysia 11. The Star, 17th of March 2010, The Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad, Selangor, Malaysia 12.
The Star, 18th of March 2010, The Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad, Selangor, Malaysia 13. The Star, 19th of March 2010, The Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad, Selangor, Malaysia 14. The Star, 20th of March 2010, The Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad, Selangor, Malaysia 15. The Star, 21st of March 2010, The Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad, Selangor, Malaysia 16. The Star Online, 2010, About the Star and Sunday Star, online, retrieved on the 30th of March 2010 from http://thestar. com. my/info/thestar. asp#readership