Categories: News

HAWANA: Agility, knowing audience important for media outlets to compete with social media

IPOH • Media organisations need to change the way they deliver news to remain relevant by using social media as platforms and also as news sources, said panellists at the Hawana 2023 Media Forum today.

During a session titled Survival of Traditional Media in the Digital Era, panellists discussed how social media has taken over the traditional modes of news dissemination, often exposing issues that would otherwise go unreported. They agreed social media has changed the way people consume news, and as such, news organisations have to adapt to the platform.

This first requires a change in mindset.

“I think the ability for the newsroom to change, to go to the next level in creating…content is very, very critical,” said Nicholas Sagau, COO of REV Media.

He said agility should be the most important aspect of this mindset change, to multitask and better adapt to changes in technology.

The panellists said news organisations remain important content creators, but the challenge is to get the public to consume the content they put out.

Mindshare Group CEO Sheila Sandmugam said next is to “follow the eyeballs.”

She said most are getting their news and content on social media via their mobile phones now, instead of reading newspapers or watching news. She said the concept of one piece of news fits all was no longer possible with the various platforms, be it traditional or social media.

“It’s about understanding the platform; it’s about understanding the audience on that platform and how you actually create the content. Same story set in a different way, to connect with the audience,” she said.

She said although traditional media output lags behind social media posts, catering to the specific audience of traditional media will circumvent the issue as well.

However, the panellists also warned against social media manipulation, used to shape social opinion or achieve certain objectives.

Acknowledging social media as the primary driver of news now, Jakarta Post editor-in-chief Taufiqurrahman said it was important to be aware that bypassing traditional media has its negative effects.

“There’s this tendency for politicians to also bypass the traditional media,” he said. “They have an army of poseurs using social media too who reach out directly to voters and the electorate and they can drive a certain agenda without having to deal with traditional media.”

Sheila agreed. “Everybody now is a content creator, everybody now wants to be popular,” she said.

She called for guidelines to bring order to the social media scene with respect to curbing hate speech and racial slurs while reducing restrictions on topics to report.

The media forum, co-organised by Bernama and the Institute of Broadcasting and Information Tun Abd Razak, was attended by journalists and academics from Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, China, Japan and Kuwait.

Hawana is celebrated every year on May 29 since 2018 to honour journalists in Malaysia. — BERNAMA

Dayang Norazhar

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