First day back at the Mail, first visitors. I had a meeting with the reporters and editors in the afternoon. Gave them their first two assignments:
1. Buy a pair of jeans
I'm allowing jeans in the office. The idea is for them to be relaxed. Feel free and liberated. But I also reminded the reporters that there are places, such as the Parliament and the courts, where jeans aren't allowed. Yes, we are going to promote free press but like jeans and everything else in life, there are limits to what we can do.
2. Start a blog
Only a handful of the reporters have blogs, I learnt during the meeting. So with great pleasure it was that I gave all the Malay Mail reporters, sub-editors, and editors one week to start their blogs. They can blog about anything at all - politics, football, cosmetics, pets, their work, their editors, etc.
Why blogs? I want them to feel the freedom of writing blogs. And the responsibility of moderating comments, testing the limits, and engaging others in useful discourse.
And as the oldest newspaper in Malaysia goes on-line - which is what I plan to do with the 113-year old paper - the journalists working with the paper need to know what makes blogs and bloggers tick, and what the New Media is all about.
The Mail has about a hundred staff.
After the meeting, I received my first visitors at the Malay Mail. These two young ladies are from India and in the country to do a film project on Internet censorship and blogging. They will also interview Nathaniel Tan and YB Elizabeth Wong for the project.