Content is King, technology the Prince, says Prof. KG Suresh
The pandemic situation world over has changed the role of media. Especially in the ways of creating content and delivering it to the target audiences. And this is also reflected in India.
Meet Prof. KG Suresh, Vice-Chancellor of Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication (MCNUJC), Bhopal. Suresh talks about the future of media in India and globally!
Prof. KG Suresh has also served as Director-General, Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC, New Delhi) – India's premier media training institution; Senior Consulting Editor with DD News, India's public news broadcaster; Editorial Consultant with Asianet News Network; Chief Political Correspondent with Press Trust of India and Group Media Advisor to Dalmia Bharat Enterprises.
Prof. KG Suresh is a Member of the Academic Council of the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; Society of Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute, Kolkata; Research Committee of Indian Council of Social Science Research; Advisory Council, The Delhi School of Journalism, University of Delhi; Academic Council, Central University of Himachal Pradesh and the School Board of Abanindranath Tagore School of Creative Arts and Communication Studies, Assam University, Silchar. He is a Member of the Awards Selection Committee of the National Council for Science and Technology Communication, Department of Science and Technology.
Journalism is drastically changing. In a way, disruptive innovation… Do you agree with this statement?
Absolutely. Journalism has changed. And it is constantly changing. Never before, in the last century, you have seen such radical changes that are happening in the domain of journalism. And it’s a big challenge not just for media platforms, journalists but also media educators. But it’s also a challenge and it’s also an opportunity like never before. It depends on the way you look at it. Either the glass is half full or half empty!
Is digital media taking over journalism? Will print ever die in India?
To a great extent, this is true for the western developed countries and also some developed Asian countries. You see that print editions are winding up; people are going online. But in India, I do not see that it is time to write the obit for print. I think print still has a long way to go in India. It's like that in India, we send satellites and we still use bullock carts. Because both have their utility.
Bullock carts are very critical in many rural parts of India. Bullock carts are not necessarily a synonym for backwardness. Similarly print still carries a lot of credibilities. Print, because of its very strong editorial processes is still relied upon and trusted by a large number of people. It's still the traditional media. People look at newspapers as a symbol of empowerment. It is something tangible. You can hold it in your hand. I am yet to see a parliament debate where people will show a mobile phone and say that this has been reported. But I can remember heated parliamentary debates where newspapers were waved, and the editorials were highlighted. So, the credibility and respectability of the print digital have still to attain. I am not ruling it out. It may take some time. As of now in India print will remain relevant.
With its unlimited space availability and interactivity will digital media make a difference to news consumer experiences?
One is the portability and accessibility. The second is that the digital can appeal even to the neo-literates, semi-literates, and illiterates! The audio, video and image content attract everyone. Now somebody from Orissa or West Bengal working as a Plumber in Kerala wants to know news from his place. He does not understand Malayalam or English. So obviously he will look at some Oriya or Bengali local language websites.
Content convergence is happening in mainstream media. Central news desks to support multiple content delivery platforms is the key idea behind it? What do you think about it?
Well, the integrated news desks are going to be the next thing in media. But you will have to customise your content for different media platforms. Every platform has its own requirements. People do not have time now. They need everything in a jiffy!
What are the new trends in Media Education in India? Will online teaching continue even after the pandemic situations?
Media education needs radical changes. We have to prepare students not only for jobs but also to become media entrepreneurs. Media education has somehow come to identified as teaching more technology! Technology is something that our youngsters are very savvy about. I have always said that we need to teach them how to create good content. Content is the King. Well, technology can be the Prince!
And yes. The online classroom trend will continue even after the pandemic situation. Our students are going to get the advantage of connecting with the global journalism experts.
Will artificial intelligence influence the media in the coming years?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help journalism grow. Particularly the reporters in the field can take AI help in connecting with people. Analysing the data. The world has changed a lot. Journalism practices have moved from monologues to dialogues. Conversations are happening with the target audiences. A conversation can provoke the audience to react. Which is the need of the day.
Pure journalism and user-generated journalism. What is your take on it?
We are in an era of user-generated content. But we can’t expect the right quality of journalism from it as they are not trained well in handling the basics of journalism. I have always wanted people to get trained and then do journalism. Well, there are no Citizen Doctors and Citizen Engineers!
What is the future of media?
It is going to be a blend. A blend of print, radio, television, and digital media. And all four must reinvent. At the end of the day, it is the credibility that matters. Indian news consumers are changing and are willing to pay for quality content. So, subscriber-based content delivery is going to emerge. I am very optimistic about the future of media in India.