The newsroom, as we knew it a decade ago, has gone through a metamorphosis. The pace at which news needs to be generated has increased manifold. It has become imperative for journalist to be relevant to its readers.
R Sukumar, Managing Editor, Livemint shared ideas on how one can stay relevant. He explained with the help of an example that in some cases a newspaper is at a disadvantage. “If Infosys declares its results at 8.30 AM, a newspaper can flash it only the next day. By the time, many reports will already be available online. To tackle this, one can break the news on the brand website first and use social media to ‘engage’ and ‘amplify’. One can also be first to come out with an analysis, which is a great driver of traffic online,” he said.
It’s still journalism whether technology-enabled or on social media, and must marry speed with adequate representation of both sides, he emphasised.
With the current media’s incessant need for speed, where does substance and accuracy stand in the priority? Have people taken the sensationalism way where there is no content or substance? How can media companies top the speed game while remaining true to the ethics of journalism?
“Today there is a tsunami of information. The information in one edition of New York Times is what an 18th century person would have got in his whole life. TV took 48 years to achieve what Facebook has already reached in such a short time. For building business, speed is important to survive but it is imperative to have substance to thrive,” said Saurav Majumdar, Editor-in-Chief, Entrepreneur.
“Journalist should not react but respond to events. Don’t just chase eyeballs and don’t be shrill. It is wrong to go for sensationalism. It is imperative to tell readers what you know, and also what is it you don’t know. This is what we practice at Mint,” Sukumar said.
One cannot compromise on substance just to be the first to break a news. In fact it is the other way round. “As speed increases, so does the need for accuracy and validation,” he added.
The reportage earlier was different; today there are instant reactions and a lot of impatience. The onus is on media houses to validate, verify information and have systems in place to get credible news out on time, shared Kapil Kaul, CEO, India and Middle East, CAPA.
“To a large extent substance has been a victim of speed. It’s difficult to disassociate speed and substance. The winner will be able to straddle both. You need speed to grow and you need substance to be credible,” concluded Majumdar.
R Sukumar, Saurav Majumdar and Kapil Kaul were speaking at the PR Summit held in Delhi on April 27, 2012.