CEO, as in Chief Editorial Officer?
I'm flattered that the Malaysian Insider, the Malaysian news portal with the Italian Connection, has found it newsworthy to put up a news about my return to the Malay Mail.
The May 6 report headlined "Rocky" returns as Malay Mail CEO contains one fundamental factual error! I have NOT been appointed as the CEO of The Malay Mail.
The error is found on the first paragraph:Ahirudin ‘Rocky’ Attan, known for his Rockybru weblog that was critical of the Abdullah Administration, has been named as chief executive officer of the 112-year-old The Malay Mail.When we train cadet journs, we tell them how to avoid such basic mistakes. We must verify the information we get. We can't trust all our informers all the time. In this case, the Insider could have easily avoided the mistake if they had contacted me to verify their info.
Malaysian Insider has also omitted some necessary facts when discussing me and blogging, including the fact that I was the first blogger, together with Jeff Ooi, to be sued by a newspaper company then headed by certain individuals who now lead the Insider. And that the VSS was not really "voluntary". I won't deny the "substantial pay-off"; after all, I was not a small fry.
Usually, when faced with misreporting by a newspaper or online news, you ask for a correction and apology. But I'm cool here.
I spent 21 years as a journalist with the NSTP. I was editor of two of the newspapers - the Business Times in 1998 and the Malay Mail in 2001-2006. Like it or not, I am still attached to that place. It has gone down the gutters lately but it's not beyond redemption.
At a talk organised by a GLC the other night, where a senior editor was a fellow panelist, I was asked by the moderator if I'd go back to the NSTP or the Malay Mail if I was offered to. My answer was, yes. If I know I could bring changes to the profession, I shall return.
But to be able to make any changes, I must go back as an editorial man, NOT as Chief Executive Officer as reported by the Insider.
p.s. The Malaysian Insider did get the spelling for my name right (Ahirudin Attan - single D, double T) so I'm really quite impressed with the quality of their reporting. Honestly.
KUALA LUMPUR, May 6 - A prominent blogger is returning to the mainstream. Ahirudin ‘Rocky’ Attan, known for his Rockybru weblog that was critical of the Abdullah Administration, has been named as chief executive officer of the 112-year-old The Malay Mail.
His appointment as CEO paves the way for the departure of current chief editor Tony Francis. But the afternoon tabloid will remain under Dynahall Sdn Bhd, which is owned equally by Datuk Ibrahim Mohd Noor’s Simpletech and Media Prima’s Gabungan Kesturi Sdn Bhd.
“Rocky was named CEO today and Tony Francis will leave immediately. Malay Mail will remain outside NSTP,” an editorial executive with the tabloid told The Malaysian Insider after being briefed on the matter this evening.
“Morale is a bit low as the staff are shocked,” he added, saying the staff had tried to prevent Francis from resigning.
Ahirudin was acting editor of The Malay Mail from 2001 and was later made the editor. He took a voluntary separation scheme in February 2006 and was said to have received a substantial pay-off.
He began blogging in May 2006 and built up a following by attacking Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the establishment and supporting Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Following Abdullah’s retirement and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s appointment as the Prime Minister, he has been less critical of the government.
The Malay Mail, founded in 1896, was part of The New Straits Times Press (M) Berhad until it sold its 100 percent interest for RM5 million to Dynahall. The purchase did not include the newspaper’s archives, which is seen as a valuable commodity.
Simpletech’s owner Ibrahim has a stake in BlueInc that owns string of lifestyle magazines. Gabungan Kesturi is a substantial shareholder of public-listed Media Prima Berhad which, in turn, is a major shareholder in NSTP Berhad.
Ahirudin was also president of the National Press Club between 2003 and 2007 and recently re-elected as president again. His former editor Datuk Ahmad A. Talib has just been appointed editorial adviser to the NSTP group, which led to speculation that Ahirudin would return in a senior post.