Conventional media must face up to journalism evolution



KUCHING: Conventional media practitioners should not be threatened by digitalisation but must adapt to the change.

Utusan Sarawak editorial adviser (Politic) William Chan said media practitioners need to do so given that what is happening is something we should consider as an evolutionary process in journalism.

“Do not be worried if you are in the print or conventional media, things may look gloomy and the paper is dangling and yes it is because the consumer habit of getting the news has changed where they prefer getting it faster.

“What we in conventional media can do is instead of feeling threatened, we must get ourselves prepared for changes and broaden our knowledge,” he pointed out during his talk at the Journalism Seminar and Workshop at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK).

He said it is a fact that newspapers are now printed in fewer pages while news websites are flourishing, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

“It is not wrong to say that we must find ways to tackle this biggest challenge, it takes a while to determine what are the exact changes influenced by digitalisation, I don’t see any proper report on it.

“We as trained journalists must be careful and must be precise in our presentation, so do not be afraid of digitalisation but stay put … be adaptive to change.

“We must convey messages from any parties in an accurate manner because media ranking may not be negatively influenced by digitalisation.

“As long as when we do reports, truthfully, we approach our presentation in the best possible manner. And that’s how we face today’s challenges,” he said.

The seminar organised by Pertubuhan Wartawan Bebas Kuching (Pewarta) with the theme of “Meeting of the Minds: How we can move forward the newspaper industry/journalism in Sarawak”, was facilitated by a media practitioner of 40 years, Desmond Davidson of Malaysian Insight.

Joining him were veteran journalists, academics, authors, communication consultants and researchers, namely Dr Toman Mamora, James Ritchie and William Chan.

The topics discussed and addressed by panelists were: So, let us have an overall look at the industry, what are the successes and failures of the industry in the last three decades?, Are the online news portals killing the newspapers? and the rationale for having news in print and online by some companies. Would that not be a money-draining venture when everyone in the business is fighting over a small pool of advertisers?

Pewarta is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) which aims to look after the welfare of freelance journalists.

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