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Telum Talks To Clara Chooi, Editor-in-Chief of Hybrid

Congratulations on the recent revamp of Tech Wire Asia, what are the initiatives behind the revamp?
We started with the rebrand of our parent company, Hybrid. The new Hybrid is all about creating more compelling media; it is bold and decisive in look and design, and is a true reflection of our vision and mission.

With that experience, we started Tech Wire Asia‘s revamp. We wanted more synergy between Hybrid and its products, and we wanted a new look – a better user interface to drive audience engagement.

We audited the brand by getting views from readers, clients and our staff, and used their responses to form Tech Wire Asia’s new brand story. Simultaneously, our designers and developers worked on a new logo and design, and on 12th October, Tech Wire Asia 2.0 was born.

What are your expectations after the revamp and what does the team plan to achieve with Tech Wire Asia?
Tech Wire Asia’s current monthly unique readership stands at about 1.5 million. Before the end of 2018, we expect that figure to double to 4 million. Our data tells us that the revamp has already resulted in improved audience engagement – there was an immediate 20 per cent drop in our previous bounce rates and average time on the site has increased by 40 per cent. It is still early days, but these numbers are promising.

Image: Tech Wire Asia new design

Have the content style and approach changed after the revamp?
Definitely. The site started in 2015 with an eye on becoming Asia’s leading enterprise tech news source for entrepreneurs, IT professionals and innovators, and we committed to that goal through the stories we told.

But as we developed further into our niche and grew our team, we became better at identifying unique angles befitting the needs of our audience.

The revamp is essentially a visual demonstration of where that journey in content development has taken us – we’re not just a source for tech news, we’re an independent and influential voice in the tech community offering actionable insights for our SME audience.

Having worked in the journalism industry for more than a decade, what are the major changes you have witnessed?
Plenty. I joined the Malaysian media industry just after the 2000s, at a time when breaking news pieces had to be phoned in, not summarised into three or one-line “flashes” and sent quickly over the Internet. Smartphones and tablets weren’t yet considered essential tools of the trade; they were just fashionable tech accessories that our more financially stable friends sported as status symbols.

And more significantly, newspapers were still considered primary news sources. Online publications hadn’t yet become credible alternative news sources… in fact, there weren’t very many of them in the country. Reporters mostly filed their stories in the evenings, hours after covering the news, and it was okay because they just needed to make sure their stories were in before the newspaper goes “off stone”.

Today, the online media space is thriving. Print media, on the other hand, is suffering… revenues are down, circulation is down, and many are responding by cutting costs, laying off staff. Some even refer to it as the sunset industry.

In the busy digital content market, what are the strategies that Hybrid implement to reach out to the audience and to keep them interested?
We use data analytics to tell us whether our content is keeping our audience engaged. Analysing news trends and reader interest form an integral part of Hybrid’s daily editorial processes.

Through the use of social listening tools, our writers are always updated on what topics are performing better than others, which headlines are scoring views and how well they are likely to perform in the next few hours.

Do you think the journalism industry is nose-diving too fast into the digital age?
Nose-diving? No. Evolving? Yes. Journalism has always been fast-paced and a good journalist will thrive in the dynamic nature of the industry.

When I first joined, I was told by one of my editors that journalism isn’t a job – it’s a lifestyle. I’ve held on to that motto since, and I think that if you enjoy it like I do, you’d find that the digital age is the most exciting time to be a journalist.

Describe a typical day at work: What are your editorial duties / responsibilities at Hybrid?
Up at 5.30am, at the gym at 6.30am and at my desk by 8.30am. And that’s where the “typical” part of my day ends. What happens after 8.30am is never the same: I’m either buried neck-deep in edits, discussing angles and trends with my writers, looking at site stats and social media activity, analysing web traffic with our digital guys, talking topics with our freelancers or, well, reading the news!

What are your worst PR pet peeves?
Receiving a call demanding an RSVP for an event that clearly has no news value.

Preferred way to be contacted?
Email. Always email.

 

This interview originally appeared on Telum Media

Telum Media provides a pan Asia Pacific media database for PR professionals. We are run by former journalism & PR professionals who saw the need for a comprehensive media database to save time for both PRs and journalists.

To contact Clara Chooi for comment please email clara@hybrid.co or call +60 327 123 150

For job opportunities please contact Hayley Dugdale – hayley@hybrid.co or call +44 117 244 3189

Interested in joining the team? Apply for our Tech Editor here.

About Hybrid

Hybrid is a global influencer, creating rich and relevant content for brands wishing to connect with audiences in a more effective way. Powered by a progressive collective of journalists, strategists and business minds, Hybrid moves with unparalleled pace across five independent brands in high-growth markets. Hybrid has offices in Bristol (UK), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and Sydney (Australia).