By Amjad Saleh
ABU DHABI, 19th November 2022 (WAM) — The universalization of technology is possibly the most important game changer in the media industry, with the number of internet users rising from just 413 million in 2000 to over 5 billion in 2022, was one of the key findings of the sessions held during the Global Media Congress (GMC), which concluded on Thursday.
Indeed, this universalization has given people all over the world the power to deliver news, shed light on what is happening in the world, and offer free and honest reporting of global events from anywhere in the world!
While such levels of global access to technology can be positive, there can also be negative aspects, as control over the editorial and fact-checking processes of journalism shifts the levers to internet users worldwide, enabling the rampant spread of disinformation. Relevant to this, the covid-19 pandemic also catalyzed a massive influx of content creators online, which in turn saw an increase in platforms for creators.
Another fact is that new generations are all about the excitement, which means that it is now important for news providers to put together content that is both gripping and informative, what is commonly called “infotainment”, to ensure higher viewership and, ultimately, their survival. Additionally, media institutions must expand across the various online platforms available today to maneuver through the hyper-competitive climate of today’s media sector.
At the same time, data analysis and artificial intelligence have paved the way for improved opportunities to identify media consumption trends and develop new, more creative storytelling paradigms to attract a wider audience, where users’ focus has become more on the attraction than the quality and value of the content. is presented.
While accelerating growth and lowering the cost of content production, these technological solutions have also allowed creators and platforms to put more energy into content trust and validation. This paradigm shift requires greater investment in such technology across newsrooms, a feat that can be difficult for startups, which often have trouble securing funding and turn to government funding and philanthropy as an alternative.
Journalism has become a tug-of-war between fact and opinion, further fueled by a dichotomy between creating elaborate, insightful pieces or short pieces that draw more viewers.
This segmentation across the media industry is a divide that, if bridged, would create a new and unified media community, where different skills complement each other, where technologists shape the shape of stories while journalism specialists take care of themes and fact-checking.
On the other hand, technologies like the metaverse, while providing an endless source of entertainment, can also affect connections between people, experts highlighted at the Global Media Congress. Navigating such muddy waters must be done with great care, to ensure that such technology is rolled out, while mitigating its negative effects on real social interactions.
Education, specialists agree, would be the most effective tool for building media literate conscious societies, which should start in homes, with parents and extend across school systems and the very institutions and professionals responsible for delivering news and media content, especially since misinformation and disinformation can have major security effects on nations, as well as spreading panic among reckless masses. The fast pace that life has reached, and the endless avenues vying for people’s attention, leaves everyone with a lack of time and a craving for the effortless rush that greatly contributes to their indifference to fact-checking the information they consume and a penchant for enjoy stories that lack value and meaning.
Another aspect the industry should focus on is investment in education and training, media experts argued, which will equip media professionals with greater editorial and fact-checking skills to enable them to produce higher quality content, be it analytical and investigative pieces or short TikTok Videos.
The world is also riding on fleeting media fads because of their appeal as an easy source of serotonin and dopamine, natural substances that, while essential to our existence, can have an addictive effect that is not a trivial matter.
Diverting the attention of the people of the world away from character-building experiences is the problem, and the solution? Eliminate the growing asymmetry by striking a balance between the gratifying effect these technologies and new media provide, and the valuable and necessary knowledge acquisition they facilitate.