Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Journalism sites nowhere on top 20 list

by Sintha Mkuziwaduka

Media platforms are changing rapidly but journalism institutions are slow in adapting, Kagiso Media head of media convergence team, Nevo Hadas has said.
Hadas was making a presentation at the ongoing Africa Media Leadership Conference in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. In the presentation titled ‘Radio 3.0 It’s the distribution... er Or The end of listeners‘, Hadas highlighted the fact that there is no journalism organisation in the top 20 sites in the world.
Hadas said the media are in a dangerous space, one that is rapidly changing. He said there is need for more investment and change in people, culture and budgets. About US$20 billion dollars has been invested in new media as compared to US$3 billion in traditional media, Hadas observed, adding there is room for innovative ideas.

Hadas further said it is no longer a question of whether the revolution being experienced in the west will come to Africa or not, the question is when. He added, despite the challenges posed by new media, there is more advertising money being spent today and traditional media is still growing in the developing market.

With the advances in digital technology, listeners have grown to become audiences with a lot of interactions developing. The media must know what their audience wants and needs, he said. “We do not have listeners anymore; we have audience,” said Hadas adding: “Too little time is spent on research.” He advised media houses to adopt mixed revenue models with different approach to online advertisers.

In a presentation, CNBC Africa Chief Operating Officer, Gary Alfonso, said local content compiled by local people is the key to remaining relevant. Using an example of CNBC, Alfonso talked of how the portray of Africa can change by using more images of the progress in the continent rather than images of hunger, war and famine.

“People must be able to relate to your content. Telling good stories, how people are engaging with economic trends,” he said in the presentation titled ‘Exploiting the ‘weaknesses’ of technology and the potential of radio’.

Ground reporting brings more value and relevance than ‘helicopter’ journalism, he said. ‘Helicopter’ journalism is where a foreign reporter flies in business class, stays at a five-star hotel and spends five minutes in the village to cover a story.

Alfonso said growing viewership, and readership, is the only way to grow the bottom line, adding there are more opportunities in out-of-home viewing. In the information age, content is the differentiator and traditional media must “rise above clutter”, he said.

Media houses are also faced with the challenge of training people only to lose them at their peak, according to Alfonso.


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