Budi Sutrisno, Jakarta – As The Jakarta Post continues on its path of transformation, it has appointed M. Taufiqurrahman as its seventh editor-in-chief, effective on Oct. 1.
The change of leadership comes at a critical time when the world is facing the COVID-19 pandemic, which has taken more than 1 million lives worldwide and brought countries into recession.
Taufiq, 43, is replacing Nezar Patria who had served as the Post's chief editor since 2018. He was the deputy chief editor, serving at Nezar's side as he led the Post's first phase of digital transformation, converging its newspaper and digital operations.
Amid the global trend of declining print revenue during the pandemic, it is expected in the coming years that the Post can accelerate the transformation through strengthening its digital presence and focusing on meeting the needs of its local and international readers.
Taufiq said the pandemic had presented a greater threat to the media industry, which had changed tremendously with the outsize role of social media and aggregator service.
"COVID-19 and its political ramifications also brought a fresh realization about the importance of the media, old and new. More and more people rely on the media to get their news and debunk some fake news and hoaxes about COVID-19 and politics in general," he said on Wednesday.
Taufiq has been with the Post for 16 years, starting off as a cub reporter in 2004. In the last several years, he has taken on leadership roles as managing editor before becoming the deputy chief editor.
Moving forward, he said he had set a vision for the Post to chart a new course that would allow for the publication to continue producing good journalism and have a sustainable operation for the unforeseeable future.
While expressing his highest appreciation for Nezar for the successful digital and print newsroom convergence, the Post CEO Yudi Wanandi welcomes Taufiq on his new journey.
"These are hard days, but none of us are alone in this. With Taufiq at the helm, we are certain we can weather the storm together," he said.
Yudi said as a media organization, the Post remains committed in its role as "a beacon of fairness and truth".
Established in 1983, the Post has become the leading English language newspaper in Indonesia, guarding the country through political and economic crises and its transition to democracy.
During the pandemic, it has continued to push boundaries to keep informing readers during the world's worst public health crisis.
Since March, it has put down paywall on COVID-19 articles on its website so that people can get the latest update on the coronavirus situation in the country and beyond. For the first time in its 37 years of existence, the Post has also printed remotely to keep staff members safe during the outbreak.
To improve engagement, it has also pioneered webinars and online talk shows that have gathered thousands of views and sparked discussions on current affairs in the country.
In August, the Post won the 2020 Public Service Journalism Award from the Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) for the #NamaBaikKampus (#CampusReputation) collaboration.
Along with seven prominent news publishers in Asia Pacific, it is currently participating in the first Google News Initiative Asia-Pacific (GNI APAC) Subscription Lab, an initiative from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), FTI Consulting and Google to help the companies develop their digital subscription business.
Nezar, who is leaving the Post after being appointed director at state-owned postal company PT Pos Indonesia, congratulated Taufiq, calling him one of the Post best members. "Under his direction, the Post can leap forward," he said.
Nezar also expressed his appreciation of the people he had worked with at the Post, saying that the publication's strong resources could propel the development of the outlet to a higher level.
"The Post has a strong influence that was not built overnight but by 37 years of hard work by journalists and the best minds who follow the principles of good journalism – a few among the industry in the country that can consistently do so," he said.