Media should embrace emerging technologies to tell stories

Media should embrace  emerging technologies to tell stories

The forces of intolerance and oppression have been gradually rising across the globe with increasing violence in countries like Turkey, Mexico and even India. Although the countries and their circumstances are different, the theme remains the same—to silence the voice of journalists. The need is to speak up whenever such things happen. However, to do this, news business must remain sustainable. This was the underlying theme of David Callaway’s keynote address at the recently concluded WAN IFRA India 2017 event in Chennai.

Callaway, chief executive of The Street, said, “Every media organization we lose due to business reasons makes our collective role weaker in the eyes of those who want to control us,” adding that the two issues of press freedom and business viability are suddenly coming together, which makes this time more challenging that anything in history.

In the last two years, Callaway said, the impact of digital media on traditional media such as print and broadcast has coalesced around two digital media giants—Facebook and Google. The massive size of their scale makes them direct competitors to traditional media even though they may deny they are news companies.

“The state of our industry relationship with Facebook and Google can only be described as combustible,” he said adding that the platforms remain a threat to the traditional news business at the moment and also to the reputation of newsrooms as credible sources. “The risk of fake news should concern every journalist.”

Embrace emerging technologies to tell stories
The most important job of a journalist is to tell stories. The mobile phenomenon has shown that people need news stories and information more than ever. Callaway said that members of the media should use emerging technologies to tell stories to sustain the news business.

“We need storytellers and truthtellers, whatever the technology,” he emphasized.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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