WORLD’S WINDOW INTO INDONESIA

Indonesia 2018 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Anthony Wonsono, Executive Editor of Berita Satu, on creating a unifying brand concept, sharing Indonesia with the world, and innovating ahead of the 2019 election.

Anthony Wonsono
BIOGRAPHY
Anthony Wonsono has been Executive Editor of Berita Satu since March 2017. Prior to that, he was in Washington DC as Co-Founder and Director of the think tank Nusantara. He holds a degree in international relations from George Washington University in Washington, DC.

How do you cover business and economics across the platforms you operate in, and how do you maintain the central Berita Satu brand?

We actually started as a set of brands that did not have a unifying component. Slowly, we began to realize the majority of our brands were strong in one core area: business. Investor Daily began its life covering stock markets and business and economic conditions, and we were one of only two companies that did that. Globe Asia was a business magazine tailored toward young professionals interested in learning about conglomerates in Indonesia. Jakarta Globe had a strong business desk, and we were able to rely on synergies with Globe Asia. Thus, over time, a focus on business became one of our central tenants. Around three years ago, we developed the concept of an integrated newsroom where all nine brands operated from a single newsroom. We also had a strong presence in the business community, and access to many of the top businessmen and up-and-coming companies was already clearly established. We leveraged many of these connections and were able to position ourselves quite well. The transition was organic, and we have maintained this type of growth. We really like the individual identities of all our brands and are careful to ensure that our best offering is labeled under the Berita Satu brand.

Is there a strategy for elevating Berita Satus on the international stage?

We are constantly trying to improve our circulation. When it comes to our circulation desk, there are two key groups we focus on. The first is the Indonesian diaspora; we have between 7 and 8 million in the Indonesian diaspora around the globe. Of those, around 4-4.5 million are potential readers for the Jakarta Globe. These are the scholars, students, and professionals. We also seek to target a younger audience, and part of this process is making contact with all the institutions that have a large Indonesian population and starting there. Educational institutions, think tanks, and governmental organizations are keen to reach Indonesia's large population. The second major group is everyone with business interests in Indonesia. Due to our strength in business news, we felt that it was time to leverage that national expertise on an international stage. We want to share Indonesia with the world and underscore the potential that the country has for business people all over the world.

What are your expectations for the reporting environment and the media sector in 2018?

In terms of the reporting environment, I expect continuity. We are one of Southeast Asia's most stable democracies and one of its most respected governments. With this comes a certain responsibility to maintain an open and free media. For 2018, journalists are in great shape. Many of the veterans of the industry fought for the freedoms we are enjoying now. Issues such as blasphemy and extremism will continue to be a problem; however, that is part and parcel of a growing democracy. They are growing pains that we will have to deal with. In terms of the broad media environment, we are all gearing up for the 2019 election. We are preparing to educate and inform this massive country on the pressing political issues, and it will no doubt prove to be one of the most pivotal elections in recent memory. The media environment will be exciting, and many media companies will try new things. The way the US, for example, reports on its elections is different than how we do it in Indonesia. By creating a similar approach, we will be able to capture and employ data in a whole new way, guiding and informing our customers like never before. We saw the potential this year after the regional elections, and we will continue to improve upon this system.