ENBA 2018: Senior editors worried about technology's role in newsrooms of 2020

During the exchange4media News Broadcasting Awards held recently, senior editors felt that social media and unedited internet news will overshadow traditional newsrooms.

by exchange4media Staff
Published - Feb 14, 2018 8:55 AM Updated: Feb 14, 2018 8:55 AM
ENBA 2018

Musing over the future of 'Newsroom 2020,' industry veterans and young guns gathered at exchange4media News Broadcasting Awards (ENBA) held recently. Many agreed that the old journalism jobs might soon become redundant and a new hyperlocal internet stream paired with better rural reach will dictate what makes news and mass opinion.

"By 2020, the medium will affect the message. The medium will be penetration of broadband in the country. Broadband is now penetrating 600 districts across the country and 6.32 lakh villages," said Tarun Nangia, Associate Editor, Special Projects, NewsX

The young editor at NewsX, Nangia, also explained how social media now has the power to fill in the spaces where mainstream media is lagging due to various factors.

On the role of social media, Sanjay Bragta, Editor, (Integrated News room) Zee Media, said, "All those people who have smart phones, they are independent reporters, publishers and editors. If any incident happens before their eyes; they shoot it, write a caption and put it on social media. If they want, they even use Facebook Live. They don't need an OB Van, they don't require a newsroom nor do they need any copy editor."

Bragta also brought attention towards the diminishing role of an editor in the newsroom due unfiltered information already present on social media. The speakers also felt that the traditional newsroom is powerless against the social media stream.

"Editors used to be controllers, they use to decide which news will go, not go, which will go in what way and more. All ethics have been destroyed by social media. On social media someone writes that a Hindu has killed a Muslim man, or a Hindu has killed a Dalit. These days that's the kind of stories we discuss in Newsrooms. It is weird but it is the truth," he said emphasizing the helplessness of editors and disruption caused by social media.

On a similar line of thought, Rana Yashwant, Managing Editor, India News, talked about the misuse of technology and criticised the journalists who favour particular political parties. He pointed out that technology is to increase speed in the domain of news and make it interesting for viewers, it is not supposed to manipulate truth.

"In 2020, we will have Augmented Reality and we will be able to show a polluted Ganga as a clean Ganga or a dried up river as a flowing one depending upon whose agenda you are fulfilling. Sometimes you can't differentiate if the anchor is a journalist or a party's spokesperson. By 2020 we have to change this system prevailing in the newsrooms," he said.

However, Smita Prakash, Editor-in-chief, ANI, stressed how with the emergence of technology, speed plays an important role in the media industry.

"It goes without saying that it (news) is technology driven, everything that we learned about journalism in the beginning was about chasing stories but eventually the focus transferred on delivering the story. So you have to be the first to get the story out," she said. She added that in multimedia newsrooms, like ANI, journalists are multitasking as they go out for reporting, shoot incidents/events using selfie sticks and publish the story without editing as there is no time for it in the era of fast news.

She also warned about the consequences of not adapting with the changing times. "Those who are moving with time, those who are breaking stories as they are happening, they are the ones who will be relevant in 2020," she said.

Supriyo Prasad, Managing Editor, Aaj Tak, who also won the best Editor award, stressed on the threat that mainstream media in India is facing. His biggest fear, as he told during the event, was if journalists were going to lose credibility completely by 2020.

"According to the present times, by 2020 we will have producers of political parties like we use to have beat reporters. I was wondering if the anchors in 2020 will also wear Gamcha (traditional towel) like Yogi Adityanath. I want to see the extent to which we can go. It's worrisome," he said.

Prasad further said that he wonders if journalists would stop being nationalists and socialists and instead be journalists.

"We need to worry about what will happen to the credibility of journalism by 2020. By 2020 will we be able to keep the confidence people have in media? It's very likely that by 2020 we will not have 'News'. People will come, watch us for entertainment purpose and leave," he said.

Puneet Ahluwalia, who has served on Trump Asian Pacific Advisory Committee, said that he wants lobbying in India to become legal by 2020, like US, and expected the "shady" and "under the table" deals to end.

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