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Magazine industry should leverage the disruptive potential of digital age: Dr Shashi Tharoor

16-January-2018
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Magazine industry should leverage the disruptive potential of digital age: Dr Shashi Tharoor

At the 11th Indian Magazine Congress in New Delhi, Dr Shashi Tharoor, Author and Honorable Member of Parliament, delivered the closing keynote address around the current state of affairs of the media world and how magazine journalism could leverage the power of digital to stay relevant.
Calling himself “the child of the Indian Print media”, Dr Tharoor spoke about the rapid growth of social media platforms and how they in turn have altered the business models of most media houses. “The exponential growth of social media is there for all of us to see. Platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter have increasingly become the first source of news coverage and general information, across the younger generation in particular. For young people, the principal source of news is social media. With 200 million WhatsApp users and 241 million Facebook users, the development of social media has definitely meant that the media industry’s business model is changing from that of a content publisher to that of a user-generated content facilitator.”
Dr Tharoor also spoke about the ethical challenges that media practitioners often face while coming to terms with credibility and speed of news. He said, “Today, smartphones have made everybody a content-creator and if every citizen is a source of news input in this way, the media itself has changed beyond recognition. Moreover, social media also brings up a number of ethical challenges to the media industry as a whole. The primary one being the issue of verification of facts and the issue of the unabashed spread of fake news. The media, in its rush to break stories, has fallen prey to inevitable rush to judgment. It has, too often, become a willing accomplice of the motivated leak and the malicious allegation and journalists today have no time and no inclination to check or verify the facts.”
Sharing his suggestions about making magazines more relevant in this digital first world, Dr Tharoor added, “We must encourage a culture of fact verification and accuracy that the industry in many places, with some honorable exceptions, is clearly bereft of. If we can hold our politicians, businessmen and women to account for the claims and the promises they make, we must also begin to evaluate journalists and news organizations, too, on the same scale. The magazine industry should leverage the diversity of its ranks along with the disruptive potential of the digital age to stay relevant.”

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