Friday, May 31, 2024

Social media pressure changing news making

Opinion

Afsan Chowdhury

THE relentless reality of social media has begun to influence news making at several levels. Three social media elements are making these pressures so strong. (a) It reaches consumers almost instantly and in no way can professional media compete with that. (b) Content creators can mix and offer audio-visuals that cost little to produce because of phone video making and editing. (c) It has a regular and loyal fan base that circulates the content more rapidly than is possible for professional media to do so.

Response to challenges

THE result is the rise of a challenge that professional media cannot respond to adequately. Paper media has already tuned out and become dependent on government advertisements or supported by a special interest group. The problem has hit those papers more which are trying to align themselves along market lines.

One way they have responded is to open online sections apart from the e-paper versions that all have. However, problems have remained. Media outlets are national in nature and all are concentrated in Dhaka. Since the owners and editors see Dhaka as the state capital, hence national, the news is very limited in scope as well.

That means focus on the formal part of governance which is represented by the Dhaka-connected elite. Meanwhile, the rise of the peri-urban and rural societies linked through digital communication has been extensive. And this has diluted the ‘national’ platform whether in news making or other sectors.

The competition is, therefore, between interest in ‘national’ affairs and ‘local’ issues in almost every space. The growth of content-generating capacity outside Dhaka/national has also coincided with a decline in news matters far away that is now Dhaka. On top of that, this competition is counterproductive as everyone has access to ‘national’ issues leading to low exclusivity.

When this is the scenario, almost everyone is hurrying to cover the same news. Thus, all mainstream media as opposed to social media are copying each other. That has also reduced the audience niche for each outlet as the news is being shared informally on the same topic on social media. To the consumer, the brand value is depleted when all report the same topic the way and resemble each other inevitably.

Forced to diversify?

BEFORE the digital era, media outlets had several products but each had their own identity. Now, that is not the case any more. It is not the content that matters but the form as well. So, a media construct has several outlets and they basically carry the same news. From paper to social media videos, it is the same news as far as the consumer is concerned. This is being done by all the major media outlets as a result of which media content is not increasing but duplication is.

Had this problem been of one or two outlets, it would have been a manageable challenge, perhaps; but it affects all players. As a result, the same content is so common that in multiple forms it is making them repeat contents. So, the audience is looking for alternatives such as social media and it is free. Thus, branding now has lower value as the content is universal.

So, the traffic to independent content creators is rising and they are now competing with corporate media outlets. The result is greater accessing of social media content where the variety is greater.

Many professional media outlets are, thus, tempted to try an easy way out since all it needs is a copy paster and some editing top produce ‘content’. But that approach also has its limitations. Just about everyone can do it; so, the quantum of unique content has rapidly declined, making presence no longer an effective marketing approach. Hence, the dependence on ‘views’ are increasing, hoping that it will help to gain and retain consumers.

More views, less news?

NEWS as a product is becoming increasingly difficult to sell and even the term newspaper is threatening to become obsolete. One individual content creator is able to produce as much and as attractive as a corporate media body making such content-making being exclusive the biggest challenge. When everything is being known instantly, the concept of breaking news itself needs to be redone. The era of news first may be coming to an end, rapid or slowly.

Social media has, therefore, created a situation where people know what is happening but want to know what it means in terms of impact and analysis. That makes ‘views’ much more exclusive as content, hence more attractive.

A new model is clearly emerging where a series of products will be available catering to different audiences and influencing opinion will be far more algorithm based.

That makes views more attractive to consumers, hence more attractive to advertisers. If people are getting news from social media, they will turn to professionals to learn what that news means. The mixed news and views media is already facing that challenge which is likely to grow more in the future.

Afsan Chowdhury is a researcher and journalist.

Article originally appeared on New Age.

Related News

Securing water for sustainable urban future

Opinion By AKM Mahmudul Haque WATER, the essence of life, is a precious resource that sustains our planet and its inhabitants. Yet, despite the vastness of our oceans, only a small portion of the water is potable. Recent studies have revealed alarming statistics that approximately 80 per cent of the water supplied in cities and ... Read more

We need to transform social norms for gender equality

World Population Day Views Md Nuruzzaman Khan World Population Day, which has been observed on July 11 every year since 1989, holds significant importance in addressing critical population-related issues. This year, the focus is on gender equality, symbolised by the theme of “Unleashing the power of gender equality: Uplifting the voices of women and girls ... Read more

Quality education for all, but quality schools for few?

Views Mohammad Ehsanul Islam Khan Education empowers and shapes nations. Increased enrollment and reading levels in Bangladesh have also enhanced education access. But the focus on quantity has overtaken the drive for quality education, leaving only a handful with access to top-notch universities. According to Dr John Dewey, “Education is not preparation for life; education ... Read more

Equal education leads to a better society

Opinion Mehreen Chowdhury EDUCATION is known to be strongest when voices and diverse perspectives are heard and shared around the community. It is vital that young people are given the space and safety to express them without feeling ashamed. The idea of special education is governed by the concept that education is for all. It ... Read more

Alarming increase in child marriage

Opinion Zillur Rahaman CHILD marriage is one of the social ills in Bangladesh. It was once an epidemic in Bangladesh. It, however, came under control because of various measures and the supervision of the government in the past decade or so, but has been increasing at an alarming rate since the Covid pandemic, which increased ... Read more

Time to prioritise social justice

Views We have the chance to reshape the world we live in – economically, socially, and environmentally. Gilbert F Houngbo May 1 is widely known as International Labour Day, a day when we celebrate the contribution of workers worldwide. It is a moment for pride, celebration, and hope. After three years of the Covid-19 crisis, ... Read more

More heatwaves are coming our way. Are we prepared?

Views While Bangladesh has a lot of experience in tackling cyclones and floods, we have not taken heat stress into consideration until now. Saleemul Huq The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently completed its sixth assessment report (AR6), with the Synthesis Report coming out in March. The Synthesis Report carries some key messages about ... Read more

Women must be at the forefront of the transition to a low-carbon economy

Opinion Veronica Mendizabal Joffre and Pinky Serafica Can we truly reimagine a path to a low-carbon transition and change the climate narrative? This is hard to envision when we witness the unprecedented damage we are inflicting on the planet. For women, the effects of climate change are already a lived experience. Where environments are damaged ... Read more

Why collaboration is in our collective interest

ViewsRMG NOTESClimate ActionWithout fashion retailers and their suppliers working together, our industry as a whole will continue to see emissions rising. Mostafiz Uddin According to the latest report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world is likely to fail to reach its most ambitious climate target – limiting global warming to ... Read more

Will our universities survive in 25 years?

Views Syed Saad Andaleeb Quality education is the backbone of a wholesome and prosperous society. But finding the “quality” in quality education continues to be elusive in Bangladesh. The “so called” universities (more like community colleges) are rife with social, economic, political and ideological problems that work against building learning organisations. Teachers, the kingpins, don ... Read more

Can teachers be the pivot of change in education?

Views Manzoor Ahmed “No system of education can be better than its teachers” is an aphorism that remains meaningful. The nostalgic and idealised image of the teacher as a scholar, dispensing knowledge and wisdom to the young selflessly, who lives a simple life with little concern for material rewards and who is looked upon by ... Read more

Climate loss and damage are clearly visible in southwest Bangladesh

Views Ashish Barua, Sawkat Chowdhury The Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) by Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that the sea level, over the last 120 years, has increased by 0.20 metres, and continues rising fast, caused by thermal expansion, glacier ice loss, ice sheet loss, etc. The sea level ... Read more

How can Dhaka solve its traffic problem?

Views Debra Efroymson If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that “traffic was particularly bad today,” I could have retired already. Over the years, people have hazarded various suggestions as to the cause of the terrible Dhaka traffic and its potential solutions. Causes include: not enough roads for all the cars; poor ... Read more

Celebrating 50 years of global environmental movement

Opinion Saleemul Huq The global environmental movement started in 1972, with the first global environment conference held in Stockholm, Sweden, hosted by then Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme. Among the heads of governments who also attended was the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who famously declared that environment and poverty were two major global issues ... Read more

Saving earth from disasters

Opinion By Md Zillur Rahaman TODAY is World Earth Day. The day is celebrated worldwide each year to show support for the protection of the environment. It was first observed in 1970 and is now held globally by the Earth Day Network. The UN-sponsored conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from June 3 to June 14, ... Read more

Women for women

Opinion Faria Rashid PATRIARCHAL societies like to deceive women into thinking that women cannot get along, work together and stand in support of one another. Given the patriarchal history of society, it has mostly worked to keep women in their places and apart from each other. This is why we hear so much about women ... Read more

CSR and a new order of business

From being seen as mere philanthropy and ‘doing good’, corporate social responsibility is now at the heart of business sustainability and ethical and accountable corporate behaviour Bitopi Das Chowdhury CSR or corporate social responsibility has been a buzz phrase for quite some time now. Not a day goes by without it being mentioned, albeit in ... Read more

Harmful impacts of cartels on consumers

Munshi Abdul Ahad A cartel is an anti-competitive arrangement between two or more competing businesses. Anticompetitive agreements, particularly cartels, harm consumers in urbanised society, as well as in the emerging countries. In adding together, cartelised industrial sectors lack competition which certainly reduces competitiveness in the long run and may have a negative impact on the ... Read more

How to troubleshoot the economy

Sadiq Ahmed Bangladesh is facing serious macroeconomic challenges and I have written a lot explaining them in a series of articles published in The Daily Star and in The Financial Express. In this new article I am going to write specifically about how Bangladesh could address those challenges while also mobilising substantial external financing in ... Read more

Jute bag prospects in global arena

Md Rashedul Karim Munna Global consumer demand for eco-friendly products has increased in both developed markets (such as Western Europe, the United States and Australasia) as well as new markets with emerging opportunities (such as the Middle East) mainly because of heightened awareness of the ill effects of environmental pollution and global warming. Large chain ... Read more