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.