News website Twentytwo13 has carved a name in the media scene despite being around for only two years. Its uniqueness sets it apart from other news websites as Twentytwo13 believes it has no competitors but is instead friends with its peers.
Often quoted by established news organisations locally and abroad, Twentytwo13 lives by the mantra of putting people’s perspectives first while breaking boundaries.
Founded by Pearl Lee and Haresh Deol in 2018, the news website is driven by quality, original content. The concept of the website is beyond just reporting – it provides insights and story angles not published elsewhere. Twentytwo13 is also accredited by the Information Department of Malaysia, a government body under the Communications and Multimedia Ministry.
“The landscape has changed tremendously over the past decade. Not too long ago, news articles ignited conversations on social media. Today, news articles report conversations on social media,” said Pearl, who is Twentytwo13‘s managing editor.
“Journalism seems to have been lost in the pursuit of getting more hits, likes, and the fixation of being the first to break a story. There are also those who aggregate news from other sources and place their own bylines at the expense of the original creators.”
Pearl, a two-time winner of the prestigious Malaysia Press Institute Award, stressed that providing news is not a popularity contest.
“It’s about doing justice to the readers by offering insightful articles that will spark conversations. At Twentytwo13, we strive to give our readers quality content and an avenue for their grouses to be heard.”
The other key personnel within the news organisation are executive editor Graig Nunis, senior copy editor Purwaiz Alam and creative editor Amar Qastellani. Having served various newsrooms in Malaysia, the team comes with decades of experience.
“Based on our various tours of duty over the years in newsrooms, we believe the customer experience is of paramount importance. We treat our advertisers as partners. We reach out to our readers who take the time to connect as they are our most valuable asset.”
Among Twentytwo13‘s partners are Razak School of Government, The Iclif Leadership and Governance Centre and artificial intelligence company WISE AI.
Graig and Haresh, who is Twentytwo13’s editor, are among the 70 individual recently listed in Marketing In Asia’s 70 Rising Personalities On LinkedIn In Malaysia.
Pearl has close to 20 years of experience as an investigative journalist and has reported on news, politics and lifestyle while Alam, a journalist with over 37 years of experience, has worked with most of the English medium newspapers and several news portals in Malaysia.
Key individuals in Twentytwo13 have won multiple awards during their journalistic careers, including from the Malaysian Press Institute and Sportswriters Association of Malaysia.
They are also regularly interviewed and featured by local and foreign news establishments including BFM, Bernama News Channel, Astro Arena, UK’s The Guardian, Nikkei Asian Review, Indonesia’s Trijaya FM, MNC World News, and recently, Nigeria’s Channels TV.
Since its inception, the news website has produced numerous exclusives. This includes revealing efforts to make then Regent of Pahang Tengku Abdullah Shah the Pahang Sultan en route to being crowned the Yang di-Pertuan Agong 16 days before the official announcement was made.
It also got the Kuala Lumpur Mayor to shut down a dirty eatery where plates were washed using water from potholes in Bangsar. The website also produced a special report on how the Malaysian Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) transformed its venue hall into a temporary Covid-19 hospital in just four days. MAEPS later had its name inked in the Malaysia Book of Records for this feat.
Twentytwo13 has also scored several exclusives in the Malaysian sports scene and even hosted former Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Steven Sim at its office in Taman Tun Dr Ismail in January 2019.
Graig, who has been in media and public relations for 25 years, said Twentytwo13 is changing the way people view news.
“By giving insights, readers will have a better understanding of a particular episode or incident,” said Graig, who hails from one of Malaysia’s legendary sporting families.
“We take pride in our quality journalistic skills. Twentytwo13 also believes news is not dictated by a handful. This is why we value the views of people and we have been creative in pushing a point.”
The website’s contributors include senior lawyer Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos, Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Associate Professor Dr Azeem Fazwan Ahmad Farouk, lawyer Hannah Kam, former journalist Rita Jong and veteran educator Veronica Shepherdson.
Twentytwo13 also produces videos and recently conceptualised ‘We’ll get through this’ – a tribute to Malaysians during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
Twentytwo13 also organises events.
Some 800 runners took part in the Sila Lari, Jangan Duduk 5km Fun Run at Padang Merbok in 2018. The event was flagged off and participated by Olympic Council of Malaysia president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria, who was joined by representatives from AmBank Berhad and the FA of Malaysia, among others. The event, to encourage families and youngsters to have fun while sweating it out, was covered by media organisations including The Star, New Straits Times, The Mole, BFM, Bernama News Channel and Astro Arena.
In a bid to raise awareness on the plight of journalists, many of whom had lost their jobs last year, and to showcase a different side of mixed martial arts, Twentytwo13 together with the Malaysian Mixed Martial Arts Association organised Fight For Change (FFC) 2019.
The highlight of the event was when Haresh took on professional fighter Shareh ‘The Jeneral’ Nasrullah in the cage. Sponsored by YTL Group, AirAsia and PR agency Rantau Golin, among others, the event raised RM31,000 which was channelled to the National Press Club of Malaysia’s Journalist Welfare Fund.
FFC 2019 was also widely covered by numerous news organisations, including New Straits Times, Astro Arena, The Mole, BFM and MalaysiaKini.
“We do things differently. There are many ways to disseminate news. We break boundaries by highlighting people’s perspectives, even if it means getting into the cage,” said Haresh in jest.
“We want to encourage people to be passionate about news, to gather their thoughts and formulate their views. We value views and we aim to air them, even if it means offending the powers that be,” said Haresh, a well-known media personality who is also the National Press Club of Malaysia deputy president.”
“We are proof that newsrooms can break away from the traditional set-up without compromising journalism. It’s about being lean and mean, ensuring sustainability while offering our customers an educational experience through engaging content,” he added.