[Apply Now] Reading Group on Digital Technology

Digital technology has quickly become a key area of focus for societies globally. It has allowed people to create, innovate, and communicate to an extent that promises to revolutionize our economies and industries. Information systems, smart devices, and innovative infrastructures have become so pervasive as to be integral to our daily lives, reshaping our everyday interactions and expectations. In Singapore, their potential has been the source of our Smart Nation ambitions. However, recent debates over TraceTogether and 5G networks, among others, have drawn attention to the ethical, social, and geopolitical aspects of technology.

How exactly are digital technologies affecting Singapore? What are the political, economic, and social considerations in our adoption of these technologies? How best can we balance the vulnerabilities, challenges, and policy trade-offs that come with national attempts to harness the benefits of a more connected society?


To tackle these pressing questions, SPJ is launching an inaugural Reading Group on digital technology which will run from March to April 2021!

12 applicants will be selected to participate in four sessions to take policy deep-dives with various experts in the field, working towards the goal of creating a written piece. This space is designed to be collaborative and generative, open to passionate individuals from universities in Singapore, the US, and beyond.

Applications open on February 8, 2021. They will close on February 15, 2021 at 2359H SGT. Selected participants will be informed by February 19, 2021. All university students, undergraduate and graduate, are invited to apply.Submit your application at: https://bit.ly/SPJReadingGroup

We hope you can join us!



This reading group program is meant to:

  1. Provide a space for critical, self-driven, and generative policy discussion
  2. Create a constructive environment for writing
  3. Build a supportive academic community for the study of current affairs

The reading group will comprise four sessions from March to April. These sessions are aimed at helping participants progressively explore areas of interest they have identified, with a view towards in-depth engagement and the eventual production of a written work. 

Participants will be given access to Harvard faculty, as well as a diverse range of participants from tertiary institutions both in Singapore and the United States. All Op-Ed and other submissions resulting from the program will also receive a guaranteed review by the Journal.

All 12 participants are expected to take ownership of the program. For each session, two participants will be responsible for organizing, coordinating, and guiding the group along. Specifically, this entails facilitating  discussion, preparing discussion questions, assigning prior reading, communicating with the invited speaker, and defining learning outcomes. This will be done on a rotating basis. Separately, there will be two participants in charge of collectively summarizing each session, for all four sessions (i.e. four collective summaries). The group will be supported by an SPJ administrator, who will assist in the logistical setup and content review for each session. 

The first session will be dedicated to introductions and brainstorming. Participants will engage in a design-thinking workshop to begin brainstorming about the theme while ideating towards a specific digital policy, product, or sub-topic. This way, the group becomes a synergetic and collegial space for participants to develop ideas across disciplinary boundaries.

The second and third sessions will be geared towards topical policy deep-dives, offering participants the space to engage with the different sub-topics previously identified in the first session. These sessions will feature pre-assigned reading, as well as an invited speaker integrated into roundtable-style discussions. 

The fourth session will serve as an editorial symposium for the presentation and review of written drafts and potential article leads. Participants will have the chance to raise subjects they found interesting over the course of the program, workshop possible publication topics, and bounce ideas off their peers.

By the end of the program, all participants are expected to submit an Op-Ed or Explainer to the Journal, by 30 May, 2021. 

An overview of the format is as follows:

Session Date Description Student Moderator Responsibilities
Session #1 Week of March 1 Introduction & Brainstorming
  • Facilitating discussion
  • Preparing discussion questions
  • Assigning related reading
  • Coordinating with speaker/administrator on topic
  • Defining learning outcomes
  • Reviewing collective summaries
Session #2 Week of March 22 Policy Deep-Dive
Session #3 Week of April 5
Session #4 Week of April 19 Editorial Symposium
  • Coordinating presentation order and peer pairings
  • Collection and dissemination of drafts (if any)
  • Preliminary review of drafts to prepare relevant questions/discussion points
  • Reviewing collective summary