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Student newspaper Friday Weekly is revamped and renamed zbCOMMA

30 December 2008, Singapore - Friday Weekly, the Chinese student newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), will be revamped and renamed zbCOMMA (逗号) starting January 2009.

The student paper will be distributed together with SPH´s Chinese flagship newspaper Lianhe Zaobao via school subscription and at selected buzz pods.

The name zbCOMMA is inspired by the punctuation “comma”, which signifies the student paper’s objective of continuing its mission to cultivate the interest of newspaper-reading among students, in addition to motivating these young readers to read Lianhe Zaobao as they grow older.

The inaugural issue of zbCOMMA will be distributed together with Lianhe Zaobao every Wednesday starting 7 January 2009 to schools which have subscribed to the student newspaper.

Friday Weekly, the predecessor of zbCOMMA, was first published 17 years ago. It has been providing youth and students with news on current affairs, written from a student angle. Moving on, zbCOMMA will have a stronger emphasis on in-depth news features and will further connect with students and teachers.

The revamp is supported by the Ministry of Education (MOE). The team behind zbCOMMA is collaborating with the Ministry to implement a pilot project on Newspapers in Education (NiE) in some schools in 2009. The paper is also working with the newly set-up Singapore Centre for Chinese Language to develop NiE’s teaching pedagogy and materials to bring newspaper-teaching into classrooms more effectively.

Mr Robin Hu, Executive Vice President of Chinese Newspaper & Newspaper Services, said: "Over the years, Friday Weekly with its independent mode of publication and distribution, has built a strong brand for itself as an integral teaching tool for teachers. However, such a discrete existence from its parent body Lianhe Zaobao has resulted in secondary school students losing touch with the latter after leaving school. Consequently, they do not appreciate Lianhe Zaobao as the best channel for insights into the Singaporean Chinese community , and also as the interface to explore Chinese culture as well as to understand developments of contemporary China. A situation like this is not only regrettable in itself, but more crucially, it is our responsibility to help every generation of Singaporeans to consolidate our unique bilingual and bi-cultural strengths."

Mr Lim Jim Koon, Editor of Lianhe Zaobao, said: “Friday Weekly has successfully reached out to the students for the past 17 years. We hope that with zbCOMMA, we will continue to cultivate the interest of reading Lianhe Zaobao among students. Together with Popcorn, a student section in Lianhe Zaobao’s zbNOW, they will reach out to secondary students of all ages. zbCOMMA will act as a ‘bridge´ for students to get in touch with reading Lianhe Zaobao.”

zbCOMMA will be published every Wednesday and will adopt a “four-in-one” approach by presenting news from zbCOMMA, Zaobao News, Popcorn (in zbNOW) and online interactions to offer students an enriching reading experience.

Some sections in zbCOMMA as follows:

Punch-news features on current affairs, social issues and education policies which concern Singapore youths; also provides news updates from major news reported in Lianhe Zaobao

By Law- news coverage on Juvenile Court cases and lawyers will be invited to address legal matters related to youth

DigiChoco-offers tips on drawing computer graphics and recommendations of interesting Chinese websites and blogs

Mage – teaches magic tricks which is the current rave among school children

Shout – a forum for students to discuss and voice out their opinions on the latest current affairs

Reading Kit and Conversation Kit – NiE’s teaching materials to help students improve their command of the Chinese language including oral examinations

Ms Lim Soon Lan, Editor of Friday Weekly, will continue to be the editor of zbCOMMA.

Ms Lim said: “zbCOMMA will see more interaction between MOE, schools and students. More importantly, the student newspaper is backed by the strong editorial support of Lianhe Zaobao and its pool of reporters. With zbCOMMA integrated with Lianhe Zaobao, students will be exposed to a wider range of reading materials.”

zbCOMMA´s predecessor Friday Weekly was first published on 22 February 1991. It has a subscription base of over 100 schools. With the launch of zbCOMMA, it will take over Friday Weekly to perform its educational role in the school curriculum.

zbCOMMA is available only through school subscription and at all buzz pods located at bus interchanges. The cover price for zbCOMMA is at $1.80, which includes a copy of Lianhe Zaobao. Preferential rates will be offered for school subscriptions.

Schools which are interested to subscribe to zbCOMMA can contact SPH´s Circulation Department at 6319 2166 or email:


Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Co. Regn. No. 198402868E

For more information, please contact:

Ms Ong Hui Yong
Associate Editor
zbCOMMA / Thumbs Up
DID: 6319 1879
Mobile: 9777 4746

Ms Selina Esther Lim
Assistant Manager
Corporate Communications
DID: 6319 1872

About Singapore Press Holdings Ltd

Newspapers and Magazines
Main board-listed Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) is the leading media company in Singapore, delivering news and information through print, Internet and broadcasting platforms. In Singapore, it publishes 17 newspaper titles in four languages. Every day, 2.9 million individuals or 79 per cent of people above 15 years old, read one of SPH’s news publications. SPH also publishes and produces more than 100 magazine titles in Singapore and the region, covering a broad range of interests from lifestyle to information technology.

Internet and Mobile
Beyond print, the Internet editions of SPH newspapers enjoy over 150 million pageviews with 9 million unique visitors every month. Apart from SPH AsiaOne portal, SPH’s online and new media initiatives include a revolutionary mobile advertising and information service, ZapCode; online marketplace for products, services and employment, ST701; local search and directory engine,; Stomp (Straits Times Online Mobile Print), a portal that connects, engages and interacts with readers on the Web and via mobile phone messaging; omy, a bilingual news and interactive portal and The Straits Times RazorTV, a free access interactive webcast service offering live chat shows and video on demand clips.

SPH has a 20 per cent stake in MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, which operates free-to-air channels 5, 8, U and TV Mobile, and a 40 per cent stake in MediaCorp Press Pte Ltd, which publishes the free newspaper, Today. In the radio business, SPH has an 80 per cent stake in SPH UnionWorks Pte Ltd, which operates entertainment stations Radio 100.3 FM in Mandarin and Radio 91.3 FM in English.

Outdoor Advertising
In addition, SPH has ventured into outdoor advertising through its wholly-owned subsidiary, SPH MediaBoxOffice Pte Ltd, Singapore´s largest outdoor motion display advertising network media company and a 35 per cent stake in TOM Outdoor Media Group, a leading outdoor advertising company in China.

SPH owns and manages Paragon, the prime retail and office complex in the heart of Orchard Road, Singapore’s main shopping belt. SPH’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Times Development Pte Ltd, is also developing a 43-storey upmarket residential condominium, Sky@eleven, at Thomson Road.