I don't think connections are everything. If you're interested in the job, write in. For instance, if you're keen on trying out photojournalism locally, approach Singapore Press Holdings (SPH). Write to the HR department and they will put you in touch with the art/photo departments of the various newspapers (Straits Times, New Paper, Business Times, Zaobao, Shinmin etc).
Include a portfolio of your work. Pretty landscapes, astounding macro shots and sexy model shoots are great to look at and will show off your technical skills, but be aware that newspapers don't publish a lot of landscape, macro or model work. A lot of local news photos comes from:
1. coverage of events - from boring press conferences to product launches to tragic accidents to court cases (snapping people coming out from court who are trying to hide from you)
2. profiles/interviews with people. Portrait work where composition is everything: you will not have the opportunity to shoot the subject in a well-lit studio: you are likely to be shooting while the person is being interviewed by the reporter, or shooting in the subject's office/home.
3. Street shots
There is also a market for feature/architectural/fashion photographers, to illustrate articles in feature sections of newspapers. You would be shooting art pieces, sculpture, interior design, houses, fashion shoots, product shoots, portraits, travel, landscapes. If you are interested in this area, be specific about it in your application. You don't want to be hired as a news photographer and find that the work is boring or not your style. But don't expect to be hired if you just put "landscape photography" in your resume, unless you are aiming to get your work published in specific magazines.
I believe magazine work is harder to get: there, word of mouth is very important.
As for the wire agencies, be aware that post-processing is not well tolerated in the trade. A Reuters photographer was sacked for digital manipulation of his images: he had altered hue/saturation in his pictures of firemen fighting a forest fire to make the image more dramatic. Post processing is perfectly acceptable in "feature" type photography, but not for news coverage.