Some smirked. Others were left bemused. There were those who laughed outright.
Why Twentytwo13 – they asked.
The idea to conceptualise this website came about at 10.13pm – and in military time that translates to 2213. Co-founded by multi-award winning journalists Pearl Lee and Haresh Deol, Twentytwo13 was added into a bag of other names and presented to a focus group aged between 15 and 30.
As we had expected, Twentytwo13 came out tops as the young group felt it was relevant and that there was a fashionable ring to it. We smiled as that was the idea we had in mind after all.
Powered by content creation agency Professional Storytellers, Twentytwo13 is driven by the likes of veteran journalists Graig Nunis and Purwaiz Alam, household names in the industry who have spent decades in several newsrooms. Graig is Twentytwo13’s executive editor while Purwaiz is the senior copy editor.
We are backed by a team of experienced journalists, designers and photographers.
On May 22, 2018, Twentytwo13 went live at 22:13 (10.13pm) with 13 articles – and there has been no turning back since.
Our string of contributors, including accomplished Malaysians based abroad, come from all walks. Those who did not bat an eyelid when told of the possibility of writing for us included senior lawyer Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohammad Yunoos, Genovasi Malaysia chief executive officer Datuk Lee Yew Meng, veteran journalist Frankie D’Cruz, senior journalist Rita Jong, former hockey international Logan Raj (based in Sydney), Jennifer Lee (who works for an international bank in Washington DC), UK-based former broadcast journalist Lakshmi Appadorai Baker, former journalist Ghaz Ramli (based in Perth), lawyer Hannah Kam, physiotherapist Johan Alam and undergraduate Amirah Nisha, among others.
Twentytwo13 is still at its infancy compared to its more established peers in the industry. Hits, likes? We are obviously nowhere compared to the big guns.
After all, most publications often provide accumulated numbers of their publications (and those they have acquired) to lure potential clients, but fall short of revealing if those numbers are related to the client’s market or the eyeballs the client has obtained after placing an advertorial on their platforms.
With our concept of one news item per day, we have stayed true to giving our readers original content. We got Tan Sri Mhd Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz, the then Kuala Lumpur mayor, to go on record that a dirty eatery in Bangsar would be closed down after a video showed the restaurant’s workers washing metal plates in a puddle of murky water went viral.
We’ve scored several exclusive interviews, including with Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Ismail Bakar who said he was bent on re-evaluating the civil service and former Podium Programme director Tim Newenham setting the record straight about the controversial programme.
Twentytwo13 also revealed how grassroots and key members were going to dump Umno ahead of the massive resignations in the party and we were also the first to reveal that BA of Malaysia (BAM) had planned to ditch Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor as its patron months before Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ibrahim was named the new patron.
As a visually driven news website that champions the people, Twentytwo13 has published articles affecting the man on the street, including environmental issues, land grabs, and bureaucratic incompetence. We keep tabs on sports as well.
We have also taken decision makers to task for coming up with policies that do more harm than good.
Our reports have also been published and quoted by major news establishments in town and across the crossway.
Twentytwo13 is here to complement its media friends. We believe in the spirit of brotherhood.
And we know such a spirit is alive in the industry as evident through the wide coverage we received when we organised our inaugural ‘Sila Lari, Jangan Duduk Fun Run 2018’ on Nov 4. The event saw the participation of 800 runners, including representatives from Istana Negara, banking giants AmBank, Olympic Council of Malaysia and Football Association of Malaysia.
We even printed T-shirts symbolising notable moments – Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V’s statement of ‘Sila Duduk, Jangan Lari’ during the opening of the Parliament session after the May 9 elections and more recently, Deyyy!
Although being a digital, mobile first website, the printing of T-shirts signifying a news item is our way of saying print is not dead.
Our news gathering expertise was acknowledged by production house Directors Think Tank and Astro Gempak with the collaboration resulting in the making of three short films – ‘Kisah Benar Kemuliaan Sohan Singh’, ‘Kisah Benar Ong Kim Koon, Hero Malaysia’, and ‘Kisah Benar Mithun Jay Langgim’ – which were aired in conjunction with Merdeka and the Malaysia Day celebrations.
The country achieved several milestones in 2018. May 9 saw the end of Barisan Nasional’s 61-year rule as the Pakatan Harapan coalition took over Putrajaya.
Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and several other former leaders have been hauled to court over alleged corruption – and many more are expected to spend more days (and nights) at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters in Putrajaya.
Changes in leadership and direction were seen in many government-linked companies while the alleged act of a developer almost triggered a racial flare-up following a land issue involving a Hindu temple in USJ, Subang Jaya. Thankfully, cool heads prevailed.
And the average Malaysians, some still basking in the euphoria of Malaysia Baru, are now beginning to wonder what’s next as we greet a challenging economic climate in 2019.
Come what may, Twentytwo13 will continue to break boundaries to provide people’s perspectives on issues that matter most.
And for fuelling our passion, we have you to thank.
It has been a blast in 2018. We look forward to a new epic adventure in 2019.