Categorised | Columns, Videos

The Nut Graph’s Plan B

WHEN Cindy Tham and I launched The Nut Graph in August 2008, I was clear that I wanted to achieve two things. One was to create a place for independent, accountable and kick-ass journalism that was premised on the highest ethical standards in journalism. These standards included ideas, such as doing a fact and quote check with the people we interviewed, that was not always encouraged in the previous newsrooms I worked in. The other was to be a kind and fair employer that was also committed to creating a learning organisation.

It’s been nearly two years now since we launched. And boy, what an incredible two years it’s been. This has been no less because of the political upheavals the nation experienced post-March 2008 in the form of by-elections, defections, resignations, and the coup d’etat in Perak. The learning curve was made more vertical because, as most of you know, our seed funders decided that they would not be able to fund us beyond the second year of our operations. Hence, our call for public support.

Our seed funding ended in March 2010. Because of readers’ generosity, funding we were able to secure from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation for our MP Watch: Eye on Parliament project, and some funding from The Asia Foundation, The Nut Graph was able to keep our team employed and keep publishing beyond March 2010. Unfortunately, Plan A, as I would like to call it, has to come to an end.

Plan B, here we come

The above interview, conducted by The Fairly Current Show host Fahmi Fadzil with me, highlights some of the learning and decisions that The Nut Graph have made over the past two years.

For certain, The Nut Graph isn’t the only news site that grapples with how to be financially sustainable. Still, the fact remains that Cindy and I were unable to make The Nut Graph viable. At present, as the remaining co-founder in the company, I am no longer able to justify spending up to RM80,000 a month when our income stream doesn’t come close to matching our monthly overheads. And so, what does one do with such feedback? At The Nut Graph, we’ve decided on Plan B.

Plan B is premised on the belief that The Nut Graph can continue publishing and sustaining its presence without having a salaried team. And so, by the end of August 2010, the entire team, including I, will be retrenched. That way, I can focus fully on my role as editor and journalist without having to constantly worry about raising funds to keep the entire team fairly paid.

Plan B will be launched in September. It will see our office closed. But that won’t stop us from working from home. It will also see most, if not all of us, eventually being salaried elsewhere. But that won’t stop us from continuing to write for The Nut Graph.

Plan B will also see us slowing down the frequency of our publication from five days a week, to just once every Monday. And yes, we will be publishing fewer stories and will likely not be able to write news articles and features anymore. But that won’t stop us from still writing our columns and commentaries critically and fearlessly, and I hope, with impact. And it won’t stop us from continuing to offer our staple of Six Words, Found in Quotation and Found in Malaysia, and whenever we conduct a Found in Conversation, reports from there. We will also continue to welcome contributions from regular and guest columnists.

The company will continue to keep paying our writers, editors and other contributors a nominal sum of money for their work for so long as we have money in the kitty. If or when that runs out, then The Nut Graph will continue to be sustained voluntarily by this collective of writers and editors, and any others who may want to contribute.

We don’t know if Plan B will work. We just know that Plan A isn’t working. And that’s fine. There is no failure, there’s only feedback, and what we do with that feedback. So Plan B is our response to the feedback we’re getting. And Plan B is also premised on knowing that with enough commitment to the ideals of good journalism and creating spaces where democracy can be upheld, most of what we are currently doing can continue to be done.

As an addendum, because our overheads will be reduced significantly once all of us are retrenched, we will be discontinuing the public donation appeal come end of August. We may continue to seek funding for special projects along the way, including to report on the next general election. But the imperative to keep us financially afloat will cease once we no longer have monthly salaries and other overheads to pay for.

Some of the TNG staff; from left: Ding Jo-Ann, Koh Lay Chin, Nick Choo, Deborah Loh and Shanon Shah

Some of the TNG staff; from left: Ding Jo-Ann, Koh Lay Chin, Nick Choo, Deborah Loh and Shanon Shah

Head start

For certain, there will be other uncertainties and challenges ahead, no less when the team is employed elsewhere and keeping one’s commitment to writing becomes an uphill task. What will happen next? Will be we able to sustain The Nut Graph?, we ask ourselves.

I don’t know. None of us do. But what I do know is this: we have a head start. We have a website that is functional. We have a brand name that has grown to be known and respected. And I have a dream team of thinking journalists and editors who remain curious and committed about the possibilities of Plan B.

I’d call that a great way to start Plan B. And if Plan B doesn’t work? We’ll just see if we can devise a Plan C.

Within the newsroom, because resources have often been stretched, one of the office mottos is, “We do the best we can with the resources we have.” That motto will continue to be our mantra as we move forward. And I can’t speak for the others on the team, but I, for one, am relieved Plan A is ending. And excited at the chance of Plan B.

As a journalist and editor at The Nut Graph, Jacqueline Ann Surin has been privileged to have worked with Cindy Tham, Shanon Shah, Deborah Loh, Ding Jo-Ann, Koh Lay Chin, Gan Pei Ling, Nick Choo and Lainie Yeoh.

The Fairly Current Show video interview first appeared on PopTeeVee. The site hosts other video interviews with notable personalities on notable issues.

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85 Responses to “The Nut Graph’s Plan B”

  1. Jahabar Sadiq says:

    All the best. It will always be kick-ass!

  2. Amy says:

    I love TNG, but just one question – why does it cost RM80K a month to sustain it?

    • We have seven employees, not counting our different service providers from tech support to others. We make sure all our employees have fair wage packages including health insurance, phone and travel allowance, EPF, Socso and tax deductions. Plus, there’s rent and other overheads. It adds up if you want to pay experienced talent fairly.

      • Amy says:

        Gotcha Jacqueline.

        I second Kenny’s thoughts on this as well in the comments section. You have something in common with the other alternative papers out there, and I do believe that strength lies in numbers. It seems like a lot of effort has been poured into this – you have a fantastic website, a good team of writers and a vision. We all know that media sites will die if you don’t have a business strategy. For the sake of continuing TNG, you need to find a way to sustain it via a better business strategy, instead of mere donations or even grants. Because while you’re paying your contributors, your website designer/programmer, etc like a good company should, TNG isn’t making money like one.

        • Between May 2009 and March 2010, both Cindy and I, and a host of other friends, supporters and experts have been brainstorming and trying to think outside the box for TNG. TNG isn’t the only news site with a business model that is unsustainable. We just happen to be one who no longer has access to continued seed funding while we shop around for something that works.

          Thanks for the feedback but based on numerous conversations and planning I’ve had with numerous people, ending Plan A is the best and most responsible decision to come to. As for whether Plan B is folly, let us figure that out for ourselves. What we do know is Plan A is folly and we would be fools to continue trying to make it work. We already tried for more than two years.

          Perhaps other people who are convinced of their ideas should go ahead and try them out themselves. It would be so encouraging if they could make their ideas work in the current environment. Then the rest of us can learn from example instead of rhetoric.

          • Amy says:

            Understood, and I’m sure you’ve run through your options! I was just grabbing at straws because I want you guys to succeed — I like waking up to TNG’s daily news and updates. Maybe I’m just selfish. I want TNG to continue for a long, long time.

            • Thank you, Amy.

              I can’t tell you how much support from readers has kept us going for as long as we have despite the challenges. Rest assured, it will continue to keep us going, just in a different form :)

  3. Patrick says:

    Good luck and all the best! Hope you’ll find your pot of gold soon.

  4. kennyc says:

    If pledges for public donations don’t work, try collaboration with website portals that share the same sentiments about news, ideology and cause, e.g. Free Malaysia Today, The Malaysian Insider, or some bloggers who are doing well in sending out messages. Try something out of the box. Plan B will only lead you to further extinction in my personal point of view.

    Your website has a funky name. By purportedly asking for donating without pledging a commitment to out of the box ideas of sending messages to the public does not [sound] right. Be different, be conceptual because the public needs innovation and creativity of approach in the message rather than blaring news which is far more outfetched in some other web news portal.

    An exclusivity of a piece of single news is how you sell it (read Zorro_Unmasked as a precedence of a successful idea selling), make some successful precedence and failure precedence, that will tell you where you stand as well as a drawback to your Plan B execution as well as relaunching and re-branding PLan A, which I still see as there being room for improvement rather than financial constraints being the issue.

  5. Sivin Kit says:

    Whether Plan A, or Plan B or Plan C … that’s for the future to determine.

    I don’t have fancy words to describe TNG. Here are my simple ones:

    Favourite, Good, Fair, Cool Cartoons, Fun, Investigative, Catalytic, Critical, Constructive, Collaborative, … (in the Spirit of the Movie “Inception”, the rest can fill in the blanks *smile*)

    And as a Mind Mapper myself, it was nice to see one in the picture! :-)

  6. Sean says:

    Once a week on a Monday? I was barely making it through the weekends without you!

    Best of luck with the next stage – I hope you all find outlets with wealthier patrons. Have you considered working for APCO?

  7. Joey says:

    Best of Luck, TNG. Will continue to look forward to reading the articles! Kepada Kak Nora, jgn ke mana2, pls! Adik2 kamu akan kesunyian!

  8. Shaboinq says:

    I wish I had the funds needed to help you guys out. It was refreshing to read your articles, interviews and insights. I will continue to support your endeavors through Plan B and hopefully you guys manage to find a generous sponsor in the eleventh hour :)

  9. Cheryl says:

    Fingers crossed that Plan B will work. I will miss reading the Nut Graph on a daily basis, I always look forward to your fair, courageous and incisive pieces.

    Best of luck,
    Cheryl

  10. Jay Chandra says:

    Just when I thought Kak Nora was gonna be here for long.. anyways, all hail to TNG for two-tastic years of fearless reporting!

  11. adeline says:

    Ladies, let’s pop the champagne for Plan B. I have a good feeling about this! Cheers.

  12. Tzu Ming says:

    Sorry to hear this, Jacqueline. I am sure you guys will be back in one form or another. Take care.

  13. hin yue says:

    To Jac and all the writers at TNG, well done for all the much needed critical and spot-on analysis with regards to the state of the nation. Even though Plan A has ceased, I believe TNG’s spirit lives on. Looking forward to reading more of your kick-ass articles.

    All the best
    hin yue :)

  14. Eng Wai Ong says:

    Really sorry to hear about this.

    I have enjoyed The Nut Graph tremendously. It is a shame I have never donated to you before. Personally I worry that TNG will now be doomed to oblivion, and that’s a huge shame, because I do not think you overlap with other alternative media such as TMI, FMT and MT.

    How about increasing the advertisement on the webiste? How short are you per month from the RM 80,000 overhead?

    • Increasing the advertisement on the website assumes there is growing demand for online advertisement. At this stage supply far outstrips demand, and unless we’re a site that garners millions of views, and we’re not, it’s comical to try to charge more or attempt to get more online ads.

      Increasing ads online also means we need to get in a marketing person or team because it is humanly impossible for me to do everything. This would mean increasing our overhead cost. At this juncture, I can’t justify doing that when the ad income projections will not bring us enough revenue to take care of the additional cost in overheads.

      I can either imagine being “doomed to oblivion” or imagine chugging along, doing the best we can with the resources we have, and believing that it really only takes a small group of people who care enough to make a difference. At TNG, we choose the latter.

  15. KW Mak says:

    It is so sad to read this.

    I will continue contributing my articles under Plan B, pay or no. I like TNG a lot and had hoped it would grow.

    Just to put on record, Jacqueline, of all the editors I have worked with, you are my favourite.

  16. kay says:

    TNG,

    Maybe it’s not late for you to try something between Malaysiakini and Malaysian Insider.

    TNG is not so popular compared to Mkini and Malaysian Insider. Mkini is paid, MI is free. Maybe if you [charged subscription], and made it cheaper than Mkini. Try more advertisements.

    Promote your articles in other news portal like Yahoo News, Malaysia Today etc.

    Why not you invest some money from gross revenue for example in stocks etc.

    • We did a reader survey and found that at best, we could probably generate RM9K per month from subscription. No guarantee at all that we would get that RM9K a month, every single month. And RM9K is just a fraction of what we need every month. Which means constant scrambling to find other sources of income to keep us all salaried.

      In an environment where free is it, even Mkini struggles to maintain or increase its subscription base.

  17. May I ask some questions?

    1. Did you consider grants from ICONNITY or MSC?

    2. Your RM80,000 is really big, I mean gigantic. Did you really consider a lower cost model?

    3. Have you gone for some advertisement, which is one of the most supportive tools for websites, such as google.com?

    4. Did Cindy have some opinion about financial matters and business strategy? It seems like there is no business strategy to work with, only Plan A then Plan B, finally Plan C [and so on].

    5, Have you guys tried to build a seminar?

    Just asking, no offence. Maybe it’s not an end.

    • Thanks for your questions. Please refer to my earlier responses to other readers here in the comment section?

      Cindy did the best job possible as business development manager. There is no failure in trying and then finding out that something doesn’t work and then trying something else out again and again. That’s what entrepreneurship is all about. And at TNG, we have valued all the lessons we’ve learnt along the way about being professional and ethical journalists while at the same time trying to make the business work.

      Since May 2009, we have found new sources of funding from grants for projects, to selling my book, to our Found in Conversation events. It’s not for lack of ideas and trying that TNG, in its current form, is not sustainable.

      And yes, it’s not the end. It’s the beginning of Plan B.

  18. Ellese A says:

    Dear Nut Graph,

    Though I’ve been critical many times of your political leanings, I must say you’re one of the best “fair” sites moving to the centre and most of the times I find it balanced and insightful. You’ve provided opportunities for criticism, published and responded to criticisms unlike some other well-known sites like Malaysian Insider or Free Malaysia who censor criticism against them. For that, I salute you [as] a trailblazer. MSM medias and many pro-opposition alternative news blogs censor their editorial critics.

    I, in fact, like your new style which provides diverse and insightful topics with no political leanings or perspectives. I just want you to maintain this style of journalism. And if can, improve on it further. I’m not sure whether this is Plan A or B. But for this, I’m willing to contribute. Don’t have much money but your trailblazing effort is worthy of support.

  19. Maozi says:

    Oh was rather shocked by this, but hey, don’t lose heart!

    • Thanks, we haven’t lost heart. We are happy about the decision we’ve made because it’s the right and most responsible decision. It’s also a decision that will ensure TNG is sustainable in the long run.

  20. Kevin says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for all the hard and excellent work you guys have put in over the past couple of years. Each article I’ve read here has been challenging and thought-provoking, and I’m convinced they’ve contributed to a growth in my worldview. Will certainly continue to be a regular reader, and I wish you guys all the best for the future. It is evident that this has been a real labor of love =)

  21. Adrianncf says:

    I’m not gonna say tata coz it’s not the end and it’s the beginning of another exciting journey =) It’s been a long road since you guys started and well done for all the hard and good work!!! Keep up the spirit!!!

  22. Jamie says:

    Do let me know if we can help.

  23. frags says:

    It’s always been difficult to do internet startups. Especially with the rising costs in Malaysia. I think failure isn’t the end of something but rather the beginning of something else. Very glad you’ve decided to continue TNG. I think you’ve made the right decision.

    Things will work out.

  24. Shane Diesel says:

    Hi Jac,

    All I know of you is that, you are an intrepid journalist since your tenure at The Star (I saw your interview with Florence Looi hosting a talk show sometime last year) and I am damn proud of you.

    I must admit, I had a considerable amount of crush lasting about 3-4 months on you sometime last year. You are beautiful, courageous, and turn me on with your effervescent style.

    Mwakz<3 <3

  25. 0S1 says:

    As I was reading the comments above, I realised something very interesting. The commentors on TNG seem to have a far better command of English compared to other alternative media sites. With that in mind, I was wondering whether, in the implementation of Plan B, you might want to consider making use of your seemingly highly-educated and literate following and promote extra guest (volunteer basis) journalism.

    Maybe something like creating a simple signup sheet which allows you to send out a theme for the week to all those who sign up and they can then attempt to write about the topic. You will still need to edit and ensure a certain level of quality but it may allow you to have a more steady stream of articles to publish even after the implementation of Plan B.

    With that said, although TNG will be updated far less, I will still continue to visit and follow the projects and articles. TNG is a refreshing change from MT, FMT, and TMI and provides a [perspective] that I always appreciate. Thank you for all your efforts so far!

  26. ywcgabrielle says:

    T_T.

    Regardless of TNG’s future, do know that it has done well in meeting its goal of being a beacon of ethical journalism in this country. And even if it ever folds (touch wood), I’m sure it will manifest as a gold standard for similar efforts in the future, and you can consider that a continuity of sorts.

  27. Aku says:

    I enjoy reading the news analysis from The Nut Graph. But I am sad to say that a lot of my friends do not even know about this web news. My thought is that the popularity of a website has to do (not all the time) with its brand name. Most Malaysian (including myself, of lower intellect) did not know the meaning of The Nut Graph, until I checked it up in a dictionary. So when one is interested to check out the news or a current issue, one would Google and most would enter something about news about Malaysia, like Malaysia Today, The Malaysian Insider… but they would ignore The Nut Graph, because they have no idea what it is.

    That’s my thought.

  28. Viktor Wong says:

    Hi Folks,

    I am surprised to see that The Nut Graph will cease operation officially due to some financial constraints.

    Your news portal is one of the popular ones, besides Mkini, MInsider and the rest. You all have done a good job in distributing the truth to our readers and your fans.

    Despite your operations closure, I admire your courage to continue on at home and by volunteering. This what our nation wants, the kind of people like all of you.

    All the best to you all and good luck.

  29. reza salleh says:

    Damn sad. TNG remains in my heart one of the very few fighters of the good fight. It cuts me to think that something like money stands in the way of the enormous amount of education you guys dish out in your work.

    It’s kinda like super terrer musician but cannot do music coz tak boleh cari makan so have to continue day job as accountant (no offence if any of you are accountants).

    I wish you guys all the best and will try to include you in lyrics for a new song. Hmm what rhymes with The Nut Graph? Good journalism is tough? TNG is like a yummy curry puff? I’ll work on it.

  30. David C.E. Tneh says:

    Dear Jacqueline and TNG team,

    I will miss the usual highlights from The Nut Graph team. You guys have indeed made a change in the way Malaysians see things in our very politicised landscape. I wish you all the very best in your own respective endeavours and rest assured, your actions have inspired many other like-minded individuals to speak up against the many “untruths” in our society and country.

    You have made me proud to be a Xaverian, Penangite, and most importantly, a Malaysian!

    Cheers

  31. Eric says:

    We’ll miss Plan A, but we’ll cheer for Plan B.

    Best of luck to the whole team.

  32. pilocarpine says:

    I’m afraid I need to tell you that it is rather gloomy to have TNG fall to Plan B.

    But at least, it is a plan.

    I hope TNG will pull through. I really REALLY enjoy reading TNG!!

  33. TNG is the only alternative news/analysis site that doesn’t make me want to tear my hair in frustration. I can’t count how many times I’ve linked to your articles. Still, good things rarely last — it’s always trash that sells the most. Keep up the good job of doing good work, whatever plan it might be.

  34. Ruzaini says:

    Hail to TNG for the highest ethical standards in journalism and news reporting. This is the one news site that I never fail to visit each and every single day. Keep up the work.

  35. nuts says:

    Same old stories .. none of you @ TNG thought of the consequences… just plain grand ideas…. too naive and not too smart…

    • Of course you must be right since you would know best.

    • siew eng says:

      Well, while it lasted, TNG managed to generate intelligent debate on public interest issues that are often ignored in the mainstream (yes, Jacque, I’m calling them that!) media. So the consequences are pretty great, actually, with the exception of the non-sustainability of the current set-up.

      But even if Plan A ended for them, there’s Plan B still for appreciative readers like me to look forward to.

  36. Nigel says:

    All the best guys. And passion will find a way. Sometimes not what we think is best but what the environment needs. Thank you for being here in this form. We look forward to Plan B.

  37. May I ask more questions?

    1. How long have you been building [the] website?

    2. Is there anyone in your team who has a miniumum of 4 years experience in managing websites?

    3. Which advertisement network agency are you using?

    4. Is there project [work] currently?

    5. Did the seminar generate thousands above [in] earnings? How [many] people attend it?

    6. Is there any revenue beside seminars, book selling, advertisement, donations, subscription and grants?

    Sorry to ask too many questions. Just wish to know.

  38. Hi Jacq – Just got reading this and I would love to meet up with you guys to explore possibilities of keep TNG afloat via a sustainable business model. I set up our social enterprise (Leaderonomics) a few years ago and had to overcome the challenge of building a sustainable biz model to keep our vision of transforming the country (via our means!) alive. And its not an impossible proposition. If you would like to chat and catch up, shoot me an email : [email protected] and lets see what we can work out. Thanks.

  39. Media GURU says:

    In the traditional media, there are 3 ways to generate revenue to sustain the operations 1) subscriptions/circulation sales 2) advertising & sponsorship support 3) other channels such as seminars/exhibitions/conferences/training/workshops. Even in the era of cyber media, the same principles apply. I am shocked to see that there is little concerted effort to create avenues for revenues. There is not even a rate card on your page on “Advertise with us”. I read that you mentioned that there is no time to solicit for advertising. But have you not considered outsourcing to a media rep? Or collaborating with other media with a ready sales force? They cost you nothing until the advertising is procured. In the real world of publishing, the publisher must play a role of getting money in to pursue his [or her] dreams. The people at Forbes, CNN, Murdoch are still schmoozing for advertising even though they have great established media brands in their stable. That’s the media business!

  40. Rhan says:

    Dear TNG crew,

    Most of us want to do something great and grand, but before seeing [the] lights, perhaps we should [look at] the model and process, surviving tactics, and objective such as readership target.

    “We have seven employees, not counting our different service providers from tech support to others. We make sure all our employees have fair wage packages including health insurance, phone and travel allowance, EPF, Socso and tax deductions. Plus, there’s rent and other overheads. It adds up if you want to pay experienced talent fairly.”

    I perceive the above response [as a] bit idealistic (unrealistic). Plan your inflow before commiting the outflow. The “Chinaman Model” set-up is always a good start. That said, I still think [the Malaysian] market is actually quite small. [And the fact is], there are already a number of websites that work on [a] similar model. And TNG striving to be [different] by [upholding] a higher standard in term of news, analysis and even readers’ comment (honestly to spend time correcting grammar and syntax on comments [is] really a shock to me!).

    Especially that Chinese [Malaysian] or Malay [Malaysian] [housestyle], and a rest day [on] weekends when it is the best available time for readers to read and surf doesn’t help at all.

    Hence, the first thing that needs to be done is to increase readership. Take [..] The Huffington Post as case for reference: most popular sections have posts that talk about breast ironing, Einstein and Blake at the same time. Or you all prefer The New Yorker? Then I think you may be overestimating Malaysians. Just my opinion.

    • In web business, especially an informative one, [cost] doesn’t come cheap. To produce truly unique bits of information, hours and hours of research are needed, and it will only be hundreds of words. What we can see here is truly unique that you can’t find [any]where else.

      Unlike our newspapers, some of which are simply translated and published, here I see the words and information are linked and researched. The cost of such an informative website is between RM5 to RM20. It’s free here and it’s definitely hard to maintain, unless there is big funding behind you. It’s also a marathon that needs to be kept up, running it as it will for years. The best part of internet, which is also the worst part for most, is something on the internet takes time to accomplish because there are ways to do the same thing and you still have to compete for it, not to mention at the same time making people accept it.

      In Malaysia, I believe it’s not currently achievable, as we embrace fast culture rather than the slow one.

      The solution, is come back to the basic thing. Providing free and unique information requires the low-cost model, cutting everything into pieces and selling them or dumping them. It will be sad, but the story continues.

      Make sure you know what you are doing, there is no low-cost model while you keep your things around, there must be sacrifice. Also, you will have to consider all lowest options (yes, lowest option requires research) and doing things in an orderly fashion, not the [other] way round.

  41. cml lim says:

    JAS — sorry to hear that Plan A is not working out… I believe you have made the right decision to “cut your losses” and move to Plan B.

    First and foremost, I do not question the business model or the support costs, but based on your comments, it is evident that the numbers do not support your Plan A (at least at this point in time). While I feel TNG is “revolutionary” in its vision and mission, it is unfortunate that the general population (read the customers/market) is not there to support the viability of the business.

    Hopefully (and it should be soon with the continued decline of the local mainstream media) your Plan B is just a temporary measure until the market and the target audience matures — maybe after Pakatan Rakyat wins GE13? — so that you can reinstate Plan A.

    In summary, I applaud your journalistic stance and it’s just a shame that the market is just not there to support the business aspect.

    Best wishes to you and your team as you move on to a new chapter…. I will continue to support TNG as best I can.

    Continue with the dream!

  42. Chen May Yee says:

    But where am I going to get my Malaysian news fix? I suspect many of us Malaysians abroad will miss your thoughtful takes on life, culture and politics. I guess we’ll just have to wait longer between each take.

  43. Peter says:

    Oh, man! I was busy for the past few weeks, and just found out about the changes to TNG. A bit sad but ultimately happy that TNG will continue to exist in one form or the other. Will miss the comments section and the education through civilised debate.

    Thank you to the TNG team for all the excellent, courageous and mind-provoking articles. All the best to plan B and I will continue to visit and support every chance I get!

  44. Chen says:

    Hi TNG!

    I have been thinking about your Plan B and feeling like the rest of the fans about how we are going to get through our work week without our daily fix. Peter’s comments above prompted me to put in my two-sen worth of ideas. If the news is going to come out on Mondays, there’ll be a whole week of “non-activity” in terms of news. So why not make use of this time-space to allow the commentators of the news to truly dialogue about the issues. The current structure of the site does not give enough prominence for the comments for this to happen. It’s now rather “hidden” and requires some searching and clicking about to get to the comments. If there is a way to highlight the comments on the main page and make reading the comments more accessible than the current format, it might invite more people to comment. It would be more like a forum. And this would make TNG really stand out among other online news site. Something to think about?

  45. Shanon Shah says:

    Saya bagi pihak Kak Nora ingin menyampaikan mesej yang dikirim olehnya:

    “Kak Nora terlalu enjois menumpang glamour di The Nut Graph dan oleh kerana memang dari segi genetik akak sudah gila glamour, akak akan terus cuba memfofularkan diri di sini, tak kiralah cetak tiap-tiap hari ke, sekali seminggu ke, serentak dengan kitaran haid ke, apeapejelah. Oh ye, and akak laps you, Jacqueline Ann Surin dan wartawan-wartawan mithali yang lain di TNG. Tenkiu veri nais.”

    Saya yang menurut perintah,
    Shanon Shah

  46. stewoolf says:

    The dreadful day is here!! TNG is scaling down.

    Time to walk the walk beside talk the talk. I challenge readers who support independent, objective and even-handed reporting to put their hard-earned money where their mouths and principles are.

    All we need is 80,000 readers pledging RM$1.00 per month to TNG.

    Compare this, one copy of Star (RM$1.50) vs one whole month of TNG (RM$1.00)!! It’s a no-brainer.

    What’s the point of paying RM$66 a month for 500kbs “broadband” without TNG!!??

    So, join me to pledge RM$12.00 to support TNG for a year, not for charity, but for the pleasure and honour to read The Nut Graph.

    • Hi,

      Thanks for the support! How about this? For all our fans and supporters who would like to continue supporting us, it’s actually too late for us to not end Plan A and to now start Plan B.

      But we hope to raise funds for certain projects for example covering the next GE. Maybe we can count on all of you to pledge your financial support then?

    • Chen says:

      Yes, I agree. Funds should go to the payment of public intellectuals – the writers and journalists who bring newsworthy information to us. In this way, we can pay them back for their work, and help towards the development of a thinking and intelligent public in Malaysia.

  47. ok says:

    Okie dokie.

    Today I will click on ‘PayPal’ in your “Support us” page to donate.

  48. xianzai says:

    Dear TNG~
    I will always support U
    Wish all the best to u and keep publishing! [...]

  49. chak says:

    Sorry to hear this, Cindy.

    I do enjoy the quality of writing here. To be honest, alot of the other alternative news sites around are getting quite sensationalist, which I think is bad for credibility when we need it the most.

    Hope Plan B works :)

  50. stewoolf says:

    Hi, Ms J:

    The pledge is meant to keep TNG alive, filling gas tank or stomach, getting by another day, and to let the readers have a sense of commitment and ownership. Readers can moderate comments, contribute articles, and suggest topics/projects which they can pledge to finance.

    In short, to get TNG a fighting chance to reposition, as an alternative model beside Malaysiakini and TMI, to tap into the evolving market in a barren media landscape.

    Time for a trusted nanny (the readers) to care for the two-year-old TNG so the single parent can court a partner. I mean, business partner.

    Take a break. Consider the options. Take care.

  51. Skia says:

    TNG was just to good too continue like this. For everyone’s sake, I hope that Plan B will work and maybe eventually evolve into a wonderful Plan C at some point. Temporal projects sound like a feasible alternative. I’m sure you’ll be doing a great job. Thank you for all the work you’ve been doing and all the best for the near and distant future.

  52. Juana Jaafar says:

    Dear Jacq and team,

    Well done in Plan A, and all the best with Plan B. Duit kurang tak apa. Jiwa mesti ada. Onward!

  53. mnz says:

    Hi,

    We need an alternative media that’s truly alternative (compared to government and opposition media). We need a media that’s truly independent, that kick ass on *both* sides of the fence, and apologetic to neither.

    If you are able to evolve up to that point, I won’t mind a subscription fee. Maybe, only subscribers can post comments.
    Note that if you ‘kick ass’ without considering sides, you may be able to get the maximal number of readers and subscribers.

    You can perhaps ask readers to vote on possible options?

  54. Jamie Khoo says:

    I noticed TNG has less editorials now… and more ‘found in quotations’- which is cool, but I much preferred more editorials with loads of originality.

    How about pay-per-view articles? Or subscription! Like Premesh Chandran of MKini said… you’re gonna need some form of funding besides advertisements to stay afloat.

    http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/8/23/nation/6902795&sec=nation

    If you’d like us to dig in our wallets, I know I’ll do it.

  55. John says:

    All journalism – good and bad – contributes to the discourse of a nation, and the kind The Nut Graph does has enriched us tremendously.

    Thanks for being troopers in Malaysian journalism! It hasn’t been easy, but I’m sure you, and especially us, the rakyat, are the better for it.


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