The Electronic Media Generation: Journalists by Instinct
Electronic media has imposed new values on traditional media
Educating and empowering young people to become critical thinkers is crucial for ensuringa smooth transition from traditional media to new media. The steep rise in social media penetration that has brought in an era of multi-faceted journalism has made this particularly relevant, according to panellists on the opening day of the 11th Arab Media Forum (AMF 2012).
Titled ‘The Electronic Media Generation: Journalists by Instinct’, the session highlighted the success of social networks and blogs in competing with major media outlets. It also dealt with the increasing number of ‘young journalists’ who spread personalised news via electronic outlets, without conforming to established media conventions. The workshop discussed ways in which new media is altering information dissemination and the effect it has on traditional media channels.
Moderated by Amna Al Ali, Professor, Foundation of Education, UAE University, the panel additionally featured Ali Al Kheshaiban, writer, Al Riyadh Newspaper, Al Sadek Al Hamami, Professor, Faculty of Communications, University of Sharjah, Ghada Abdel Moneim, writer and philosopher, Egypt, Lahib Bani Sakher, Social Activist, Jordan.
Speaking against the motion of ‘Journalism by Instinct’, Sadek Al Hamami said: “Journalism is a practice that is subject to different criteria; it is contractually bound to the society. The contribution or participation of the public does not imply they have the tools to be specialists in journalism. A clear distinction must be made between information and news and one cannot confine the role of journalism to a mere transfer of information. Journalism is the intelligent analysis and management of information; hence, an ethical code of conduct applies when conveying it.”
The workshop examined the possibility for media to participate in the cultural development of young people to promote their overall awareness, powers of discretion and capacity for evaluating and selecting newsworthy content.
Highlighting the need for media institutions to act as role models for cultural development, Ali Al Kheshaiban said: “Electronic media has imposed new values on traditional media. Moreover, with the large youth population utilizing social media for the exchange of information the fear is that they will lose sight of their values and the ethics of journalism. I strongly believe that the youth is knowledgeable enough to analyse information. However, it remains crucial to create awareness and educate them in order to have a perfect balance between new and traditional media.”
Ghada Abdel Moneimsaid: “Social media networks have played an immense role in shaping different cultures. This realisation is slowly spreading amongst the masses. In time, the public will be well-equipped to distinguish facts from rumours and eventually place great confidence in information and news delivered through electronic mediums.”
Ghada Abdel Moneim added: “We have come a long way in the last few decades and evolving with the times is not only inevitable but also necessary. In the next decade, we are likely to witness more complex content, a large portion of which is extracted from social media channels. The public is also likely to play an increased role in the transfer of knowledge and information.”
Themed ‘Arab Media: Exposure and Transition’, AMF that began today will run until9 May at the Grand Hyatt in Dubai. The two-day event has drawn the participation of over 3,000 regional and international journalists, as well as influential decision makers, opinion leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators.
In the run up to AMF 2012, Dubai Press Club released the findings of the fourth Arab Media Outlook, providing projections for the regional media sector up to 2015. Every attendee to AMF 2012 has been handed a copy of the report.
The Arab Media Forum has garnered year-on-year success through the past 10 editions, validating Dubai and the UAE’s ability to host such high-profile forums that draw a significant international media presence.