Friday, September 29, 2006

Kontan Tabloid, Kontan Newspaper

Just to add on Awie’s recent posting about KONTAN’s 10th anniversary…

We also heard that KONTAN is going to publish a daily newspaper under the same name starting February 2007. And yes, this is confirmed because it was Pak Yopie himself who brought up the news.

Let’s just hope that the plan goes as scheduled, unlike err... The Point who has missed its deadline again and again, as Unspun wrote.

The Maverick Blog got people sweating... just a bit

Several weeks ago, a Maverick blogger wrote about how a major media group is planning to buy one of the very few surviving lifestyle & entertainment portal in Indonesia after receiving the information from an insider.

Earlier this week, she received a prank call... (well, she actually got a very polite call from her source, but that's not too juicy, is it?) asking her to remove the posting from our blog, because it was causing a rather uncomfortable situation for some parties.

The source explained, that the man from the media group (who has the same initial as Steven Spielberg's film in the early 80s about some alien creature) became uneasy after he was asked by a journalist regarding the takeover plan. When he asked the journalist for the source of the inquiry, then the journalist mentioned (drum roll please.... ) The Maverick Blog.

So, we've taken out the posting "temporarily", as the source said that these days are the crucial days in negotiations, and that the posting would somehow affect it. I assure you that it will back once an announcement is made.

We certainly hope that the move will benefit the portal and revive it to full potential. And to the man from the media group: Relax, mate... it's just a blog.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

KONTAN BBQ a la Yopie Hidayat

It was a simple barbeque party in the parking place. The editor in chief himself, Mr. Yopie Hidayat who loves fishing so much, took the liberty to grill the fish he caught a couple of days before. And the evening was so warm that some reporters started to play the guitar and sang.

But who would have known that it was the 10th anniversary party of the weekly economic and business tabloid, KONTAN.

As an easy reading tabloid, KONTAN presents a micro and macro economics analysis of the current issues on local and foreign development. For some, KONTAN is said to be a brief yet complete tabloid. Brief in a sense that the content is portrayed directly with no delay in vague descriptions and ambiguous explanations as most economic newspaper and magazines do.

The tabloid presents economics issues plus economists perspectives and predictions in a complete way that non-economist readers would have no need to search for further readings, unless they have special reasons of course. An issue, oftentimes, is displayed by focusing on the impact to the Indonesian economy in the near future.

As for myself, I see KONTAN as friendly both in writing and in the people behind it. Readers from any backgrounds would have the privilege to enjoy the light, sometimes humorous language. Then, if one also has the privilege to meet those behind it, I would never have to explain what I mean by friendly is.

Happy 10th anniversary to a dear friend, KONTAN!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

No longer ring ... ring ...

Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, O2, HP are only several leading mobile phone supplier among the others. The existence of mobile phone (cellular phone) in Indonesia began with Motorola’s expansion in Asia. At that time, the size of a cell phone was almost as big as a brick. These days, you can find the slimmest cell phones around. Samsung has declared themselves as the creator of the world’s slimmest cell phones, launching the Ultra Edition; D830 in 9.9mm, D900 in 12.9mm, and check out X820, world's thinnest profile of only 6.9 mm. It’s even much thinner than my compact powder!! Soon they will probably try to compete with Durex in terms of who has the thinnest products…

If we’re talking about size, anyone will agree with me that size does matter. Apparently, in the mobile phone industry the slimmest is the trendiest. These mobile phone suppliers offer much more than just small size; design and advanced technologies, such as mms/sms, video, mega pixel camera, radio, 3G, games, etc, are common features you can find in any cell phone around. Now, the slimmer and the more advanced features you have on your cell phone, seems to determine your class in this materialistic society. Many people get the latest model, as frequent as they change their underwear. The cell phone phenomenon is that they are increasingly becoming fashion phones, where you match your phone with your clothes.

To tell the truth, I’m a “gaptek” person and for me a cell phone is only to communicate and that’s it!! And to have my phone match my clothes sounds ridiculous… Many friends of mine have suggested me to change my cell phone to the latest model. One friend said, “Try this O2 Xda Atom Exec! It runs on Windows Mobile 5.0.” Other friend said, “Buy Nokia N90 and you can watch TV there!” All of their suggestions only gave me a headache.

So, what about those people who always change their phones with the latest model. To whom they ask for opinion or from where they learn the specification of the cell phone. It’s surprising that Indonesia is well outfitted with publications on cell phones. I have found more than 15 magazines or tabloids that are ready to fulfill our need on the latest information surrounding telecommunication, and cell phones are only a small part of them. Look at the media list below! They can be generated as the leading telecommunication media.

Tren Digital
Tabloid SMS
Tabloid Roaming
Komputer Aktif
Hardware Magazine
Phone 3 Magazine
HP Magazine
Info Komputer
PC Magazine

At the moment, I’m handling one mobile phone supplier from Taiwan, Dopod, and I admitted that they have a high class products. The products have eh… premium price, but I’m sure that it is worth the technologies they offers.

After the product launch, the media would contact me and ask to borrow the products to be reviewed. Their judgments of the product are reliable, because they explore the whole features of the product; design, performance, program, entertainment media, are the most common categories. They can even take these gadgets to bed. Most of them also make comparison of one product with the competitors. Whether it’s credible or not, we just leave it to the readers. Do they buy it or not? But I guess you have to read more than two media until you can decide whether the product is good or not. In that point, any majority always win the case, right!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

New baby born

Breaking news: new baby born! The Mavericks congratulate Jonggi Manuhuruk, a journalist of Media Indonesia on his first baby born: Kinnari Emmanuela Manihuruk. The baby girl was born on 18 September 2006 at Mitra Keluarga Hospital, Kelapa Gading. Hopefully she'll bring more joy and happiness to the family.. :) All the best for Bang Jonggi, Mbak Kathrine and the cute li'l baby Kinnari!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Media Info: 25 New Journalists in Seputar Indonesia

This week, Seputar Indonesia daily newspaper recruited 25 new journalists! These new journalists are all fresh graduates from different majors of several universities in Indonesia.

Why would they need new journalists? Apparently, Seputar Indonesia is planning to increase the numbers of pages to its publication. Currently, it has 40 pages and soon it will become 44 pages. The additional pages will cover hard news: politics and economics. So, readers could enjoy 20 pages of hard news!

When Maverick visited SINDO's office last year, the Editor In Chief Sururi Alfaruq said that Seputar Indonesia would focus more on lifestyle and feature articles. So, why did they decide to increase their hard news pages?

Hmm.. that's the big question. Will the newspaper that owned by the Media Nusantara Group change their main focus?

War Correspondent Rien Kuntari

What comes to your mind when you hear that a person is a WAR CORRESPONDENT? Most of you would probably imagine someone who looks like the Marlboro man (without the cowboy gears, of course). Well, go ahead and erase that image. Say hi to Rien Kuntari, Indonesia’s own war correspondent from Kompas who’s made the rounds from TimTim to Vietnam to Iran and Rwanda.

“Many people get disappointed when they meet me for the first time,” she said when speaking at Maverick’s Friday sharing session last week. She has many stories to tell, from stumbling into a pit of human heads in Africa to getting trapped in dangerous territories. However, she always had experienced the kindness of strangers, but she always attributes her scoops humbly to journalist’s luck.

Rien began her foray into war reporting back in 1991, during the The First Gulf War. Then, she was merrily plodding on the diplomacy beat with little hint or expectation that she would be sent to the war. At that time Kompas had a bad relationship with the Iraqi Embassy, which denied the paper any press visas. The only one in Kompas then who had a good relationship with the Embassy was Rien, who had gotten to know the ambassador in her reporting duties.

She wants to him and explained why the Embassy should let a Kompas journalist in to cover the war. In the end the Embassy relented but on one condition: that Kompas sent Rien and Rien only. “I was a fresh journalist and had joined Kompas only for a month, and I never go anywhere with airplane before,” she said. “But I must go because it was my job.”

The going wasn’t easy though for her. Her English then was at best rudimentary, she had not been overseas before and was not savvy to other cultures; it was a male-dominated profession and other reasons. But she persevered and made it from one war to another with flying colors.

And when I asked her: “How do you see human character naturally after going through those kinds of rare experiences?”
She said that every human being always had two basic characters; bad and good. Saddam Hussein, for instance;, was well known as a tyrant (thanks to western media). But Rien said that Saddam was malicious only to his political enemies, not to anyone else. She saw first hand how warm and friendly he could be to his people.

Another example is when she was in Rwanda. Most of us would have the impression of Rwandan soldiers as brutal and sadistic as depicted in Hotel Rwanda Hotel. Rien, however, also saw another side to them. Throughout her stay there, she was always protected by five soldiers from the Rwandan army. “They didn’t allow anyone to harm me or even scratch on my skin. And they were fully supportive when I told them that I had to interview the other side to get a balanced coverage of the situation. They drive me to a village where I could go over to the other side. After the interview, I went back to the village where they picked me up.”

Rien regaled us with many more war stories for two hours and left us wanting for more. It was a privilege to have had her visit us at Maverick and we hope she’ll capture her experiences in a book.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Dani Mijarto is Back!

I have known Dani – Pradaningrum Mijarto – from her early days as a sport reporter in Harian Ekonomi Neraca. She is friendly, gregarious and -- when we meet -- we always have passionate discussions on current issues. She never hesitates to share ‘background info’ on a hot topic, which always makes our discussion enjoyable as well as insightful.

She was a senior sport reporter in Warta Kota last year, when she sent me a farewell sms, saying that she’s heading for Maastricht, Netherlands. She had won a scholarship from the Netherlands Education Center (NEC) to further her studies in Universiteit Maastricht where she majored in Arts and Heritage.

An email followed a few days later, saying that although there were other Indonesians in the faculty of economics, medicine and other social sciences, she was the only Indonesian majoring in Arts and Heritage. “Who would anyone be interested in arts and heritage in Indonesia, anyway?” she said in her email. “I just hope that what I am going to learn would benefit at least to our city, Jakarta (as benefiting Indonesia would be too hard)”.

Well, now she’s back!! This time as a senior reporter in Warta Kota’s Sunday edition. This is perfect for her since Sunday papers usually contain light (but not unimportant) topics such as interesting old places. She will also have more time to apply her knowledge gained this past year. In fact, when we talked last night, she was passionate about promoting old Jakarta and its museums.

Welcome back, Dani. We look forward to you contributing to Jakarta’s arts and heritage.

Maverick bloggers engage ... in real-time and real life

It's great to finally be able to put a face on a name. In this case, a very famous Indonesian blog. Priyadi Iman Nurcahyo claims to be just "an ordinary human being living in Depok, Indonesia", which he states on the main page of his world-famous blog.

Last Saturday, Ong, Lita, Hanny, former Maverick Eva, and myself attended this Advanced Blogger workshop at the IndoComtech 2006 exhibition at the Jakarta Convention Center.

Mbak Lita and Eva were so enthusiastic to attend that they came at 12:45 to the classroom (well, since we registered just a day before, I asked everyone to come early just to secure our spots in the workshop).

The workshop was certainly useful, as I was quite ignorant of blogging in wordpress, and had no idea that wordpress actually has a free software to download that works as a blog page editor. Pretty cool stuff though, especially with the widgets.

However, CHIP Magazine (the organizer) didn't seem to be very prepared and the flow of the workshop in the beginning was too slow. We actually had to wait long for WinRAR to be installed in the computers before we could actually do much with the wordpress software. We hope that next time such workshop would be more efficient.

Here's a group picture that we took after the workshop. I stole this from earlier. Btw, Priyadi is the one wearing the khaki jackect.

Friday, September 08, 2006

maNew Faces in Maverick

There are three new faces in Maverick this week.

The first is M. Adwi Yudiansyah. Prior to Maverick, Awie was an Expert Assistant at the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) where he provided advice, analysis and recommendations on Indonesian broadcasting policies. After the Asian Tsunami, Awie was sent by the Faculty of Social and Political Science, University Indonesia, to Aceh as the training coordinator in a capacity building program for the province’s radio stations. Awie holds a Mass Communications degree from the University of Indonesia and is all rearing to use his experience in his new role as a PR consultant.

The second new Associate is Irma Putri Singgih. Irma comes to Maverick after having worked as a public relations officer for the Sheraton Media Hotel & Towers Jakarta and as a lecturer at the Inke Maris Communications School. She holds a BA majoring in Mass Communications from the Lim Kok Wing Institute of Technology & Arts, Malaysia and a Diploma in Business Studies majoring in Public Relations and Communication Studies at the London School of Public Relations . She has also interned at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre while working as an assistant marketing communications manager at East Sussex, Eastbourne, UK

Last but not least, we have Chris Tumelap, who joined us as an editor in our Media Tracking Division. Chris was a reporter and currently a contributing writer in The Jakarta Post. Chris holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Indonesia. She then went for a Post Graduate Certificate in Journalism from the University of Technology, Sydney, and a Master of Arts in Migration Studies from the University of Sussex, UK.

New people from different and eclectic backgrounds will certainly bring fresh ideas and insights to the Maverick team. Welcome aboard!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sandrina Malakiano is still here!

This former colleague of mine claims that she has been having difficulties getting "gigs" after she's officially out of MetroTV. We must wonder why, because most of us know of her so well: we know about her marriage life, and most of us can imitate the way she pronounce "MA-LA-KEEA-NO".

Well, if you've been following the story, I am sure you've heard all about the story behind her "disappearance" from the TV screen. Not seeing her on MetroTV is quite a loss to many viewers as she practically was THE FACE of MetroTV since its beginning (the other face would be that of the bearded one).

In the beginning of the year, MetroTV got so many inquiries regarding the "no-veil on air" issue, and their answer at the time was that Sandrina was taking a long leave to join her husband Eep, who was leaving to obtain higher education in Germany. Well, everyone bought this story (including me) and thought Sandrina had gone bye bye. Apparently, this was not true (or at least didn't play out that way, as Eep never left and Sandrina claimed that she has always been around).

I remember one day in a very internal meeting at MetroTV, a man with the initial DBS who at the time was Editor-in-Chief, said that Sandrina is too closely associated with MetroTV that other TV stations probably wouldn't want to hire her as an anchor. There's probably some truth to that, but I personally feel that Sandrina in the post-veil era has a different persona and that "hard-news" image is gradually fading. And from talking to her, it seems that the change is something that she wanted as she aims to be a "freelance show-host".

In the coming month of Ramadhan, Sandrina will be seen hosting a couple of Ramadhan shows on various TV stations. And looking at the Ramadhan trend in the past years, there's so many gig opportunities (and hard cash) to take, as celebrities with "Islamic-image" will be so high in demand to be: hosts, MCs, celebrity guests on countless off-air events and tv/radio programs.

She also said that she plans to hold a "Hello?? I'm Still Here!" press conference in a very near future (most possibly before the start of Ramadhan). This, in my opinion, is just a great way to secure a LOT MORE gigs in Ramadhan.

So what's really the problem, Sandrina?

Gamekeper Steve Irwin's Very Last TV Shoot

Yes, we were all shocked to hear that the great "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin died from his injuries after his chest was punctured by the tail of a stingray, during a shooting of his TV show off of Australia's north coast. It was reported that Irwin had pulled out the poisonous barb out of his chest, but the blow proved to be lethal.

The show "Crocodile Hunter" and Steve Irwin has inspired us all. He made us appreciate nature like no one ever before with his typical comments such as "This is such a beautiful poisonous snake" in heavy Australian accent.

Irwin was a super human figure who we thought only existed in fictional stories and comic books, but earlier this week it was indeed proven that he is merely human.

His show was also copied by others. All of a sudden, there were numerous animal-adventure (is that a correct term for this genre?) show with fun n crazy hosts. Yet we all still loved Irwin's show more than others.

The Indonesian televison industry, is also known for making "adaptation" programs that are somehow "inspired by" or "accidentally similar to" shows from western television. When the original Fear Factor Indonesia was running in RCTI, TransTV also had a similar show which even had an interestingly similar bumper. However both shows didn't last long due to bad ratings. Perhaps they should have packaged the shows in Dangdut format to boost the rating. One thing for sure, the copies surely can trim down the costs . TV Stations or the Production Studios don't have to pay for the licence on the co-production to the guys such as Becker, Fremantle, etc.

Cutting costs is one thing, but most tend to also cut costs in areas that are most important and concerns the safety and well-being of the crew. When MetroTV reporter Meutya Hafid and cameraman Budiyanto was kidnapped in Iraq, it was simply a lack of preparation and safety precaution for the team of 2. Of course most people were too immersed with the whole hostage drama that was played out for months after the incident. TV7's Jejak Petualang travel-adventure show team went missing several months ago. Perhaps this could have been prevented if the team was better equipped and funded, with a pre-taping advance team to survey the area.

A professional such as Steve Irwin, who must have a highly professional team with a huge production budget, died during a regular shoot. Should our people care more, or is "modal nekat" enough here?