The Financial Express

Media in transition phase!

| Updated: September 30, 2021 21:44:58

Media in transition phase!

Readers broadly know what they look for in newspapers without the knowledge that the same is the job of newsroom leaders. But the news that gives the feel of knowing the unknown is scarce despite over-saturation of information.

Browsing news sites one after another in search of the next story - an interesting one - keeps a reader's interests alive. Scanning pages of paper or switching over to a series of television channels may seem to be quite boring at one stage, although they all have the common objective of satisfying him content-wise.

Instead, readers may feel disturbed in the age of ubiquity. While exploring the new, they find not too many unique pieces. Rare are the features that can soothe a restless soul. One may rather wonder whether bliss is missing from today's life on account of bombardment of too much of information.

"Where is the Life we have lost in living?/ Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?/ Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?" wrote twentieth century poet TS Eliot.

The media alone can't offer joys unless people politically assert the right to happiness. Loss of sensitivity to crimes, scams and corruption that keep on cropping up has resulted from arrogant action to stop journalistic investigation.

Individuals, otherwise empowered by smartphones with internet and willing to address society's issues of crying needs, can't overcome the very windy trends that dictate the number, the millions, netted by algorithm, trapped into devices.

In the sea of redundant news items, even a serious reader gets tired, amateurs meet boredom. Online tempting offers and fake news on social media sometimes cause further disillusionment.

For a large number of non-newsmen have now turned into newsmen on social media, only a few typical readers are left to subscribe to newspapers brought out by professionals. Only technology can't be blamed for the situation.

We can't deny the alienation of the journalists - deliberate and thoughtless - from the human sources over the decades. These sources are not just officers, policemen, advertisers and politicians.

The masses, especially the young ones who see reflections of their faces and live in the virtual world, are no more willing to remain 'your obedient pupil, sir/madam' unless they themselves are a part of the media discourse.

This is where the media outlets in general including those in Bangladesh seem to have lost touch. Rather than trying to reach out to people physically, the mainstream media houses are becoming commodity of the big platform companies. There is no clear knowledge if citizens want salvation from the tech snake that enters their dark private rooms.

The traditional media's shrinking popularity has reduced not just its own influence. A sharp decline in their advertisement revenue, aggravated further by the pandemic, has resulted in not only furlough in the industry worldwide but also an exodus from the profession itself. A media manager in Dhaka regrets that journalism has become an unattractive profession for the youth over the past decade or so.

It's not all about journalism or industry. How society's dynamics - earlier reflected in the Bangladeshi media - have lost their directions is yet to be fully understood. Now the media's transition looks uncertain and largely incomprehensible to society.

This, however, indicates a newer demand for and a newer approach to storytelling where the readers can feel they too are a part of the process.


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