For the past few months, we have all been witness to the absence of our daily morning newspapers while we sip on our cups of chai or coffee. Days for many of us are often incomplete if we don’t hold a physical copy of a newspaper in our hands. Post COVID, newspapers coming to a standstill is something we all fear. But if that happens, will journalism be affected or evolved?
As part of the 8th edition of the Edutainment Show, a unique platform which offers career guidance in the fields of Mass Media, Communication and Design, a panel hosted by Joyonto Mukherjee, the director of external affairs at Jagran Lakecity University, aimed to answer this question in an hour-long discussion with senior journalists and news anchors.
The session started with a brief welcome to the panelists which included eminent journalists from the field of print, television and radio, and went on to address the elephant in the room – how journalism as a career would evolve in the post-COVID-era.
“Print journalism has primarily become web journalism now. Technology has enabled the wall between various mediums to fall. The only change is how one presents the story,” said Sachin Kalbag, executive editor, Hindustan Times.
According to Senior Journalist, Griha Atul, content generation was the new sphere to take over journalism. “Media is always about constant change and as a journalist, irrespective of what media you belong to, one must always stay relevant and lead the way”, said Atul. According to her, the digital medium of journalism and digital monetisation are the two ‘next big things’ for journalism post COVID. “We subscribe to a newspaper hard copy. However, there is no monetization for an e-paper, and that is what is really important right now.” She added that citizen journalism was the need of the hour and people would always rely on such content.
We have seen the rise of various Youtubers like Dhruv Rathee, who depend on disseminating information through various means such as his YouTube channel. “Anchors on YouTube are bigger personalities than anyone and that is a big threat to the establishments today”, said Alok Joshi, veteran journalist, and columnist.
When asked by Mukherjee as to how it is reporting on the field for various journalists, amidst the dangers and challenges around them, Vikram Oza, consultant anchor of ET Now, said that there is always an element of risk. “We have to deal with it. It is our job, to disseminate information as is and that is quite exciting for me.”
Atul also found this new- ‘normal’ of reporting from the confines of her house quite interesting. “This concept is as novel as the virus and is quite interesting. It clearly shows that the content is speaking and that digital is the new workspace.”
All the panelists felt that journalism in the digital space would re-invent itself. Initially, television would break stories and newspapers would carry a detailed analysis later. Today we see the web breaking stories even before television. Things like ‘MOJO’ or mobile journalism would expand and give a rise to every citizen journalist who ought to go where the news took him or her. Monetization and data analytics and the adaptation of various journalists to the various media, to exploit their advantages would be the new normal. According to Kalbag, ‘Explainer Journalism’ will be one of the biggest things in the future to hit the market of journalism.