Alliance essential to media survival
With the changing landscape of communication now in the digital world, the only way for the traditional mass media to retain its authority as the source of factual information is to collaborate with each other.
Mongolian journalist Duuya Baatar, a McCain Global Leader for 2022 and keynote speaker during the 27th National Press Forum in Manila, said via Zoom it is important for the newsrooms, whether in broadcast and in print, to hold the line together to protect the integrity of the media.
Baatar acknowledged the declining trust of the community towards traditional media as primary sources of news due to the rise of citizen journalism in social media, the latter undermining journalism principles in news gathering and presentation of news.
She said it is high time for the media to collaborate with one another to create a stronger bond to fight disinformation especially in the various social media platforms.
“When we only compete among ourselves, people cannot see broadcast or print, but they see media as media. Our readers are most often disillusioned that social media is run by professional journalists,” Baatar said.
She said it’s time for the media to recognize that about 80 percent of the market is captured by various entities in social media while traditional media is left with only 20 percent as its audience.
Baatar said if traditional media would collaborate in fighting disinformation, a bigger percentage of people would be recovered from these questionable sources of information.
She said the media needs to call out people and educate them about the difference between a journalist and a non-journalist.
This was echoed by Rappler’s Inday Espina-Varona, saying the media should start building trust among each other.
“Let us go beyond our instinctive competitive urges and acknowledge that this is not just a race of our ratings, but appreciation of good stories that help the public know. How should we expect the community to trust us if we ourselves cannot trust others?” Varona said.
She said in rebuilding the trust among media, it could mean being not afraid to cite each other when presenting stories, especially those news outlets who labored to get the stories first.
Also, in correcting each other’s mistakes, she said instead of ranting about it on social media, it is better for a colleague to go straight to the person or news organization involved for correction or a friendly reminder.
When it comes to challenging social media as a platform for news, especially those coming from social media accounts that are not journalists by profession, Varona said journalists could go deeper into their presentation of stories rather than creating simple news reports.
“Right now is the perfect chance for us to go back to traditional journalism methods, to go deeper in the subject matter, go to the human factor,” she said.
She said this could also be a means to combat the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) that is challenging newsrooms around the world.
Philippine Press Institute Chairman-President Rolando Estabillo said PPI has started pushing its member newspapers to go for digitalization in order to cope with the changes in the digital age.
The PPI News Commons (ppinewscommons.net) is an online news-sharing community which connects the 70-member local media outfits in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao of the organization.
The platform, launched in 2022, aims to collate and curate local news from across the country and serve as a springboard to a wider audience and help secure the future of journalists.
Estabillo said the monetization of the platform is currently ongoing to assist PPI’s member newspapers in going digital.
The 27th National Press Forum has the theme, “Midya at Pandemya: Reporting in the new normal. Taking charge of journalism post-pandemic” where other panelists discussed on the need for the media to take advantage of going digital and learn the ropes such as monetization of its contents.
One of the Cordillera’s community papers, Baguio Chronicle, won the Best Edited Community Newspaper, Best Editorial Page, and Best in Reporting on Migration Issues during the awards night held on April 25. – Ofelia C. Empian