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General Articles

Media as a Weapon.

Media as a weapon was the title of the 2013 International Media Seminar organised by George Kasiliyake of the International Club of the Riviera.

How do you define media? It comes in all shapes and forms resembling less and less the days of when the printing press was the only source of news - not counting the town criers, of course...

The world of journalism has changed. Definition: The role of a journalist is to get the story behind the story, avoiding the spin and finding the truth. As a result of how media is funded, with every organisation seeking a slice of the same pie from advertisers, it is becoming increasingly difficult in present times to keep publications ethical and 'news' worthy.

Advertisers and news consumers have a plethora of platforms on which to gain information and/or distribute it. The traditional tabloid or broadsheet cannot survive without being funded by advertisers, but most news stories are freely available from Twitter, blogs and the online versions of these same publications, most of which are also competing for a slice of the same advertising pie. In consequence, advertising revenue has diminished, and where it was once the norm for three personnel to cover breaking news the world is moving to that of one-man operations where the pressure to maintain quality content is becoming a strain.

News... what we may have considered as news is also being compromised in favour of the overwhelming celebrity culture blighting all news channels from Twitter to the BBC. The line between fantasy and reality is becoming ever more blurred, perhaps because the 'real' news is so depressing that Joe Public has opted to focus on the world of fantasy in celebrity-land to gain a lift. Much like in the dying days of the Roman Empire, "bread and circuses" is becoming the easy way to comfort the masses and maintain the confidence of advertisers wanting positive results from their investments.

Technology has also interfered with how we gain and make news. On the positive side it has proved invaluable and effective to many parts of society who used to find it difficult to make their voices heard. On the other hand there has been an inexorable drift away from informed comment and analysis to a world of "soundbites", most vividly demonstrated - and enforced - by the 140 character limit of a Twitter post.  Although it may be naive to think that journalism could return to grassroots, modern trends in news gathering still leave the business developer (advertiser) a little confused as to how best to use media to gain a return. And this confusion reinforces the downward spiral that is decimating the world of news reporting.

The only winners in this - at the moment - appear to be niche media. While news reporting is rapidly heading for intensive care, specialist publications, both in print and on electronic media, are proving to be the new success stories. This seems logical enough; in an interconnected world that's as diverse as the people who inhabit it, instead of dutifully consuming that which the high priests of the media deem fit for us, we are forming new communities based on shared interests and picking the methods of delivery we like the most.

In conclusion, the media is finding itself less of a weapon than a hapless victim in a rapidly changing world. We at The Riviera Woman find the only way forward is to forge long-term partnerships with advertisers and not to simply expect their support as we might have done in the past. Perhaps a return to grassroots fused with a bit of old school values is not such a bad thing. We have learnt that to gain respect we have to show it. And where there is respect, we have gained trust.

Saturday, 30 March 2013    Section: General Articles
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