More than a decade ago, Bertrand Teo (MMC'21) was an intern news reporter in Indiana when he witnessed a major shift in the newsroom: the rise of social media. This new way of reaching readers - through short captions and at speeds faster than print—forced news organisations to restructure themselves and adapt to the digital age of virtual communities.
When he returned to Singapore in 2011, Teo saw similar trends in the media as a TV news reporter with CNA (then Channel NewsAsia) and was keen on sharing his experiences. After enrolling in the Master’s program at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Teo began researching and preparing for his book Navigating Disruptions, Media Relations in the Digital Age.
“There were these big changes at CNA and I just got a lot more background information and all of it linked so well, so magically with my experiences that it could flow into a book,” the 36-year-old said.
“The (WKWSCI) experience really played a huge part as I had access to subject experts and people who came at a time that helped me make sense of things and turned the narrative into a book.”
Written in less than a year, the part-memoir and part-critical-essay was published by Marshall Cavendish Asia last December. Besides recounting his working experiences as a journalist and a communications manager, Teo included insights from industry professionals, social media personalities, and WKWSCI researchers.
“The (WKWSCI) experience really played a huge part as I had access to subject experts and people who came at a time that helped me make sense of things and turned the narrative into a book,” he said.
Teo particularly enjoyed Professor Ang Peng Hwa and Associate Professor Edson Tandoc’s classes which provided him with insights into the state of Singapore's media landscape and the country’s evolving news consumption habits.
“All these (classes) helped me to reflect more deeply about my career experience and gave me the foresight to fit the various pieces of the puzzle of my book narrative,” he said.
Teo divided his book into three sections: the first two discuss how digitalisation transformed newsrooms and the public relations field respectively while the last explores the future of corporate communications in Singapore.
Throughout the book, he also interweaved his perspectives from abroad to complement and enrich his commentary on the local media landscape.
When asked what he considers the next media disruptor, Teo said videos will reshape information sharing. Covering this topic in his book, Teo spoke to social media influencer Fauzi Aziz about the rise of video-sharing platforms like TikTok.
“New players (like TikTok) are coming up with more interesting and creative ways of telling stories. I think that (new organisations) will try to match their audience. It’s just a matter of time,” Teo said.
Navigating Disruptions, Media Relations in the Digital Age is available for purchase at major bookstores.