— Kaying Celeste (@kayingceleste) September 28, 2015
Yesterday, Vulcan Post introduced the inaugural Singapore Digital Publishers Summit. The prospect of launching a new conference like this was daunting, especially to a two-year-old startup with five people on their Singapore team. But as many builders of our generation have said, dreams weren’t build by the meek.
A successful conference takes three main things — people, speakers, and discourse. We wanted many people to come, great speakers to share, and a lively discourse resulting from the first two elements.
The event was held at Novotel Clarke Quay and saw over 150 attendees, exceeding the team’s expectations. Most of them were public relations and social media professionals, representing popular brands in Singapore like Jetstar, GrabTaxi, and Airbnb. We were also joined by fellow online publishers and marketing folks who were looking to support and glean insights from the event.
Some attendees were even business owners looking to take a peek into the world of Digital Marketing, or simply curious about how publishing is moving onto a digital platform.
The event boasted a star-studded panel, who combined receive a few million pageviews monthly to back their expertise. With industry experts and journalism pundits from CNET, AsiaOne, The Smart Local, The Online Citizen, The Middle Ground, and many more, they tackled issues ranging from the role of the online newsroom, to the growth of niche sites, ethics and disclosure, and the buzzword for the night: content marketing. The first panel quickly set the tone for the day. Titled ” The Current State Of New Media In Singapore”, it was headlined by Bertha Henson from The Middle Ground and Terry Xu from The Online Citizen, and was moderated by Vulcan Post’s Managing Editor, Jacky Yap. The panel spoke about the role that websites like The Middle Ground, The Online Citizen, and Mothership.sg played in the General Elections coverage, and even defended themselves against accusations from an attendee who claimed that online websites had lost their credibility, and were reduced to “entertainment websites”.
Discussions around points raised by panelists sprouted at the event as well as online, as many flocked to Twitter to share their views and learning points, leading to the hashtag #PublisherSummit trending in Singapore!
— Vanessa Tai (@VannTaiTweets) September 28, 2015
— ShuQi Liu, Q Comms (@SGQComms) September 28, 2015
peEking into digital newsrooms' workflow: no ed calendars, be on top of trending news, be clear abt advertorials&content #publishersummit
— joy chan (@joychanjy) September 28, 2015
Seems like content marketing is a great way for brands to establish thought leadership. #publishersummit
— Anna Ragen (@annaragen) September 28, 2015
Bertha Henson corrects a guy in Q&A and gets called "defensive". Whaaaaa ….?? #publishersummit
— Deborah Tan (@DebTanTweets) September 28, 2015
— Benjamin Xue (@switchboxben) September 28, 2015
As Jacky Yap, our Managing Editor here at Vulcan Post said: “We organised the Singapore Digital Publisher Summit because we wanted to learn from fellow publishers, and gain different perspectives from our friends in the industry. We are really happy with the content this year, and we hope to do even better with next year’s summit, and bring more relevant voices to share on all things digital content.”
The event, by all three goals, was a success. As it came to a close, the topics that we planned for the event seemed to unexpectedly merge into a single understanding: the life of an online publisher is not an easy one. Whether as a blogger or news site, no writer goes digital to make money. Many people had different perspectives on how to sustain an online publication, but ultimately, what joins people together is dedication, either to a passion for writing or to a journalistic commitment to bringing news to people. And as an online publisher, we too learnt from this experience — that there’s a community ready and willing to teach, debate, commiserate, and even share with each other.
Maybe that’s what Singapore’s digital publishers need right now.