Online news sites: Less partisan, more popular
Has the Internet become less of a Wild Wild West?
Since the 2011 General Election, the online landscape has seen more balanced and more moderate websites such as Mothership.SG and The Middle Ground.
These two lead a pack that includes Six-Six News, Inconvenient Questions and Must Share News.
Senior research fellow Tan Tarn How of Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) wrote on its website last week: "The political Internet in Singapore is now home to a much wider spectrum of political views and players, and this is even more so since 2011."
This, he said, was a contrast from the "early Internet", where alternative news media online was used to express sentiments against the Government.
In 2011, Mr Tan and his fellow researchers found that people put more trust in mainstream media than the information available online.
The popularity of the more moderate sites like Mothership.SG can be attributed to a more mature public looking for more diverse views and who are more willing to trust alternative news media, he said.
The Online Citizen, which was prominent during GE 2011, was seen as anti-establishment. It attracted as many as 1 million viewers a month, but viewership slumped after the election.
IPS research fellow Carol Soon said: "While the online space was more partisan in the past, we are hearing more voices from the other end of the spectrum now."
And Singaporeans here are taking notice as they turn to these sites for political news.
Communications professor Liew Kai Khiun of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) said: "For Singaporeans interested in the political scene... they would have also included The Middle Ground and Mothership.SG in their newsfeeds.
"What these sites do for Singaporeans is contribute a more neutral - and perhaps witty - ground for netizens."
As younger voters clamour for more voices in Parliament, they are also looking for more diverse views and robust debates of policies.
NTU's Ang Peng Hwa said: "People use the Internet to search for information and alternative views.
"Searching for and listening to alternative news don't mean that they will vote for the opposition - they just want to ensure that they have made a good call."
Media Literacy Council president Tan Cheng Han also said that "people are increasingly trusting online sources" as opposed to just the mainstream media.
When asked why moderate sites are now more popular, founding editor Belmont Lay of Mothership.SG said: "The audience has grown up."
But it is also possible that bloggers and editors of online news sites have grown up, too.
Earlier this year, IPS found that the blogosphere now tends to be fairly rational, logical and reasonable.
The study, focused on rationality of the political online space, also found that a possible reason for this is the recognition by bloggers that balanced arguments are required to sway minds.
Six-Six News has published exclusive interviews with the likes of Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam and Social and Family Development Minister Tan Chuan-Jin.
This is a change from 2011, where such sites would not have as much access.
Prof Liew said this could be because "the Government is accepting the reality of the social media landscape".
Mr Tan Chuan-Jin told The New Paper that opening himself up to social media and the online media is "another medium for engagement" and that it was a "useful platform for us to further explain our policies and thinking".
"(The online) space will naturally be contested, but Singaporeans must decide how conversations and discussions are conducted and what kind of tone should be set," he added.