TNP's digital coverage of World Cup a hit with readers online
HOT SHOT: This Facebook post stating that FAS vice-president Lim Kia Tong will be playing a role in determining the fate of Luis Suarez drew 1.3 million views. The screenshot below shows the official Fifa World Cup Twitter feed picking one of Neil Humphreys’ videos as a “favourite”. INTERNET PHOTO
As Singapore's "football paper", The New Paper has always been big on its coverage of the Fifa World Cup.
This year, for the first time, TNP has also carried its presence at Brazil 2014 online.
And, judging by the numbers, its digital presence has made quite a splash.
Columnist Neil Humphreys has posted 53 videos of his time in Brazil so far, with his Pick the Winner clip for the match between Germany and Algeria made a "favourite" by Fifa's official World Cup twitter feed.
More significantly, TNP's news break that Football Association of Singapore (FAS) vice-president, Lim Kia Tong, played a key role in determining the fate of Uruguay striker Luis Suarez for the biting incident, garnered nearly 1.3 million views.
The story was shared 57 times, and racked up 1,043 "likes" and 159 comments.
Aside from videos and World Cup-related stores, TNP's digital front also includes the Football Kaki Live app, where readers get the latest World Cup scores.
Readers TNP spoke to gave the thumbs-up to Humphreys' videos, which showcases the columnist doing something quirky on camera.
Since the start of the second round of the tournament, Humphreys has filmed a Pick the Winner clip before every match.
It shows two fans before every game, one from each contesting team, who help him pick a winner using "scientific" methods - such as arm wrestling or a "see-who-blinks-first" contest.
"I like watching videos of fans doing something silly," said Stephan Lim, a 38-year-old producer.
"It has absolutely no bearing on who's going to win the game, or even who Neil really thinks is going to win.
"But it's commendable how Neil gets random people to do silly things on camera."
Roshan Benjamin, a football fan from Johor Baru, Malaysia, said he's pleased that TNP and Humphreys have carried their coverage of the World Cup online.
"I used to read Neil in The New Paper when I was working in Singapore for a few years," said the 35-year-old banker.
"I'm back in Malaysia now, but at least I can still read his stuff online. Not many people can write funny like him.
"It's quite unique what he's doing in Brazil. He's not just interviewing fans... but showing a humorous side of the World Cup."
Like Roshan, some readers said they get their updates of TNP's coverage of the World Cup via Facebook - by following, or "liking" TNP's page.
Humphreys aside, many readers said they were fascinated to read about FAS VP Lim, who was part of the disciplinary committee that investigated Fifa's charge against Suarez, who was charged for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder during the Italy v Uruguay World Cup match.
"That was a significant story for Singaporeans, because it was the one way we were directly involved in the World Cup" said Leon Woon, a copywriter.
"(TNP's website) chalks up quite a number of stories a day, (including) stuff from elsewhere that readers might miss.
"Like the story about the Chilean porn star who went on a sex marathon (when Chile beat Australia). That one was hilarious."
But reader Richmond Leong, 41, felt that coverage could have been more insightful.
He said: "Neil had one five-minute clip on his tour of the Maracana Stadium. But it was kind of dull.
"I saw another video which documented the ongoing construction and a temporary staircase, which shook very dangerously when fans used it.
So, aside from the fun stuff, there are other points of interest as well."
- ALI KASIM