Opening Speech by Patrick Daniel, President Singapore Press Club
Singapore Press Club 50th Anniversary Press Ball 2022 on 10 June 2022
Good evening, friends, colleagues and guests.
It’s such a delight to see so many of you today. We’ve waited a long time to be able to hold our 50th Anniversary Ball, and I want to warmly welcome every one of you. Thank you for your wonderful support.
I must especially thank our guest of honour, Josephine Teo, the Minister for Comms and Information, for honouring us with her presence. Thank you so much, Minister.
Today’s event is a special one for us. The Press Club was formally registered as a Society on 19th June 1971. So we are now in the last month of our 50th year.
To have lasted 50 years is a huge achievement. I’m happy to say we have not just survived; we are alive and well. I must thank past presidents before me, as well as the honorary secretaries who did much of the work, and also the past and present management committees.
I’m especially happy that during the Covid period, we successfully pivoted to digital platforms, and we continued to do some 50 events a year. Apart from webinars and online dialogues, we’ve also found that doing whisky or wine tastings via Zoom is actually a pretty good idea.
I’m also happy that our membership has grown steadily despite the Covid restrictions. One reason is, we’ve professionalised our secretariat and now have a full-time general manager and an assistant. We also did a rebranding exercise – our first in 50 years! – after we converted from a society to a company limited by guarantee.
The club’s main aim remains the same – to serve as an active and purposeful networking organisation. Our purpose is embodied in our slogan, “Connecting Media Professionals”. Going forward, we want to do more and work with partners to cover as wide a range of activities as we can.
Although we are called the Press Club, we have a broad-based membership, because we have long adopted an expansive remit and included the broadcast media, the PR and comms industry, and anyone in media-related professions.
To mark our 50th anniversary, we decided to launch two initiatives this year. One is to start our inaugural Press Club Awards, kindly sponsored by Citi. Thank you, Citi, for your unwavering support of the Press Club.
To differentiate ours from other awards, and to stay relevant to young media professionals, we created our own Rising Stars Awards to recognise excellent work by outstanding young journalists from all mediums and all languages. By young, we mean those aged 35 and below. We will be presenting four awards to our Rising Stars later this evening.
We have also launched a Sustainability Journalism Award to recognise the key role the media must play to ensure sustainability of this planet of ours. City Developments is title sponsor for this award. Thank you, CDL.
Our second initiative is to create a Singapore Media Industry Hall of Fame, again with Citi’s sponsorship, to recognise the veterans of our industry. As this is our 50th anniversary, we decided to begin with 50 veterans who have made lasting contributions to our media industry.
As we had a long list of nominees, we had to set two criteria: The first is, inductees must be at least 65 years of age. Secondly, they must have had at least a 25-year career in the media industry.
We will be unveiling our inaugural list of 50 Hall of Famers later this evening. Unfortunately, we can’t present 50 certificates tonight to all the inductees – it will take too much time. So we will just show the 50 names and photos on the screens, and we’ll send them their certificates later.
We believe we have an outstanding Hall of Fame that we can all be proud of. Of the 50, 14 are being inducted posthumously. Ten of the 50 are women. The 50 inductees encompass the whole industry – the print and broadcast media, as well as PR and comms, including those in the public sector. They also cover all four languages.
However, I’m sure some of you might feel that several deserving names are not on the list. For those we couldn’t include this year, rest assured this is not a one-off exercise and we will add more deserving names every year.
To conclude, allow me a marketing pitch. Growing our membership remains our constant goal. For those of you here who are not yet members, or whose membership has lapsed, I would like to urge you to join the Press Club.
We have several categories of members – regular members, associate members, corporate members, social members and also student members. In other words, if you are a friend of the media, we’ll find a way to make you a member.
For those who want to join us, before you leave tonight, please drop your business card – or just write your name on a piece of paper – into the membership box at the exit, and we’ll contact you.
Thank you, and I hope you have an enjoyable evening.