Copyright Notice

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the author, at the address below.

Sakmongkol ak 47

Saturday, 18 September 2010

The issue of the New Media-restated


I have been meaning to write on this subject a long time. I have been a keen observer and at the same time, also a participant in the clash between old and new media. The new media, brought about by the onslaught of the digital revolution, has proven to be a powerful tool, in shaping people's opinion. The efficacy of the new media however depends heavily on whether we appreciate and understand the new media and more important, in the end, know what is required.
So when I read the PM has inducted new faces into his communications team and refurbished the appearance of his online portal, the time is right for a comment. We need to evaluate whether that initiative was undertaken on the basis of appreciating, understanding and knowing what is needed to capitalize on the new media. Otherwise, that initiative will just be another effort to show something is being done if nothing else. Not to mention, the additional budget and a further fattening of self-importance.
But at least the PM realizes that the new media sells news and people better than the old media. By old media, I mean conventional papers. Conventional media cold not sell a candidate as well as the new media.
But do get things done right in the first place. Can we further the cause of the new media and leverage on it, if people with old school skills are inducted into it? More likely, the new media will be colored with old lenses. You move one step forward, but then you stepped back two paces.
So when the PM inducts Dato Khalid and another person from Reuters, we are not sure whether he has got the right material. Sometimes I envy retired journalists- they get to have a second lease even though, they prove in the end to be, just paper tigers. The assumption being, old school expertise is transferable in a new environment without undergoing reconstitution. ( maybe I will use this angle when analyzing why NST's circulation has dropped below 90,000- next article) I just hope Najib's Communications outfit has got it right this time.
So when old school practitioners get into the world of new media, what is the objective? Old habits die hard. Is the objective aimed at revising the new media so that it becomes mainstream again? Then, we have got it turned on its head- we think taming the new media and thereafter neatly packaging and doing slick presentation of program and personalities will sell a candidate. In other words, the infusion of veterans with old habits bring with it the danger of retrogression. You actually set things back.
Which ultimately means, undue reliance is placed on the form rather than substance. So we tell people through the mass media, believing that people will vote according to what the old mass media tells them to.
If the infusion of old school media practitioners lead to the tabloidization of the new media, that Najib's initiative will fall flat on its back. That is precisely what ails the old media. it functions reasonably well when the flow of interaction is one way and more importantly, the mentality of the audience is simple. Hence, important and weighty issues are trivialized and represented by gross oversimplification.
The media tells the public, in sensationalized and highly condensed form about some substantive issues; the public accepts having no choices to verify or disprove what the media tells them. in that regime, the old media reigns supreme. It rules and shapes public opinion.
If that is the premise on which Najib's new media initiative was undertaken, then it signifies a failure to appreciate and understand the power of the new media. The new media changes how the game is played. It has empowered us all to be story tellers. The information monopoly of big media institutions, such as newspapers and TV networks, has been broken. We are all publishers now.
But it is also true that thus far, the big winners in this revolution seem to be governments and big corporations that now have much more potent ways to control information, as well as fringe political groups that can now spread their 'lunacy' to a vast new audience.
So what, we cynically ask? So for Najib's communications outfit to be effective, it must acquire potent ways to control information. How can it accomplish that? By engaging in mature discourse with the public and not wielding the clubs of censorship on others. Worse, by tabloidization of key and important issues.
The key word here is engaging in mature discourses. Can the infusion of new blood into the communications outfit accomplish these?
Otherwise, the reading public will prefer the new media because the communications outfit or even the ministry of information cannot control information.
Consider this. The implosion of the traditional media in the midst of the digital media revolution has caused news organizations to do two things: drastically reduce the size of newsroom staff and demand that the remaining reporters adapt to the web-and-cable-TV-driven news cycle.
Could it be that the induction of new faces and a reconstituted online portal managing the PM's presence in the new media, represents an attempt to adapt to the world of new media? And the induction of old hands of the media is relied upon to streamline the new media practitioners of the PM's communication outfit?
Why is that a problem? Perhaps because, the problem is with the product. You see, the PM's online portal operated by all those reporters frantically tweeting and facebooking and churning out twice as many stories, may actually NOT pay off in terms of engaging the public in mature discourse. Trading quality and depth for speed and story counts means news organizations are giving away the power to effect the public agenda. Politicians, bureaucrats and corporate leaders will find they can easily ignore a neutered communications outfit.
So in order to make the PM's communication outfit take advantage of the power of the new media, even old hands in the science of the media must jettison old habits and adopt new skills.
It has to be mindful of the fact that independent bloggers have popped up here and there to fill the gap of credibility. Without the new skills, even with the backing of institutional entities behind them, these eager watchdogs in the PM's communications outfit, will lack teeth. Who will listen to them? Because to the reading public and adherents of the new media, all those Chihuahuas yipping about far more engaging things are making far more useful noises.
As the digital media revolution progresses, new formats may well arise in which powerful journalism can thrive. But that outcome is not guaranteed. It seems equally possible that journalism will be trivialized and marginalized while the dominant voices will be those of bilious and defiant bloggers.
Let's see what stuff is the PM's communication outfit made of.








Anonymous,  18 September 2010 at 11:01  

Hahahahaaaa ... UMNO embrace the new media? really?

" Work is in Progress "

" No Conflict with the New Media "

-Ikan Tongkol-

Anonymous,  18 September 2010 at 11:15  

Its so obvious what needs to be done;

Create new laws requiring approved permits/licenses to regulate online publishing & any forms of news,opinions & the like.
Licenses includes for social media eg Tweets,FB etc..

Limit licenses to only 5000 per year.

Set up special squad with full powers & hacking expertise to police the internet.

To prevent abuse of system,Approved Permits to be given to 4 Master Vendors as umbrella;to provide assistance & develop the online info industry.

My humble opinion.

OneMalaysian,  18 September 2010 at 12:12  

Dear Sakmongkol

“The information monopoly of big media institutions, such as newspapers and TV networks, has been broken. We are all publishers now.”

Those who read in English grew up reading either the Star or the NST, or both. But the new media is changing all that precisely because there are now so many publishers telling so many stories – some false, some true, some stupid and some intelligent – that makes for a competition of ideas and of audience.

The important distinction between the old and the new media is not in how they convey information, but in the messages that they convey. As the old, mainline media (TV and print) are all owned by political parties, one expects nothing more than propaganda. They have lost their credibility and function as the fourth estate.

So the arrival of the so-called fifth estate – the blogosphere and online media – is a godsend for Malaysia. The difference between this new media is not about how they purvey news and views but, crucially, it is about the “truth content” that they offer. The fact that more people are now getting their news and forming their opinions through this new media means that people don’t believe in propaganda any more.

So a revamped portal with a new crew will not make any fundamental difference if it just propaganda better packaged.

King Spin,  18 September 2010 at 13:53  

Only real communication plan PM has is KJ. Only his soundbytes matter. Even in twitter KJ is PM's mouthpiece, defending the indefensible. PM needs bodies in there, real time testimnials from his cabinet, party and Div chiefs. Thts where its at. tapi orang cam ahmad Talib and Johan Jaafar are stupid.

Anonymous,  18 September 2010 at 18:49  

Truth and credibility are things that matters regardless of new or old media.

schenker78 19 September 2010 at 00:10  

among all papers, NST writing are shit. Thestar is okey except the domestic news and joceline tan crap View... wong chun wai slightly better..

mainly ppl buy star to read advertisements, jobs, motoring section, lifestyle etc...

kosmo and h metro doing well as h metro esp is a tabloid type... more into tahyul stories, crap news and sexist rape stories plenty...cerita bomoh, cerita ala mangga, mustika are plenty in harian metro...

berita harian n utusan are both crap, the worst paper being utusan ... people can use it to bungkus nasi lemak or wipe off their shit ASS if chinaman have no money to buy toilet tissue......

flyer168 19 September 2010 at 04:21  


The question...

"Is Jibby & UMNO/BN the solution or the problem?"

As it stands...the Downfall of Jibby & the dissolution of UMNO-BN will solve many of Bolehland’s problems...let us pray...

There is nothing much we can all do until then...

Bolehland & its citizens are all squeezed by the "Orbs/Juglars"...thanks to Jibby...

After wasting all our Tax $$$...

Just to share this...

KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 2010 (Bernama) - Office of The Prime Minister of Malaysia -

Describing Israel as a "world gangster", the prime minister said the regime's arrogant attitude resulted from its assumption that it was protected by a world power.

Putrajaya renews controversial APCO contract - By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal - July 06, 2010 -

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 - New faces, blog in PM’s renewed 1 Malaysia push - by Shazwan Mustafa Kamal -

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 — Veteran journalists Datuk Khalid Mohamed and Abdul Jalil Abdul Hamid, formerly of Reuters, are joining the Prime Minister’s Office communications unit next month, beefing up its 1 Malaysia team that includes international public relations strategists, APCO Worldwide.

The Emperor's New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson -

It is stupid to focus on Communication which is not the problem area!

Jibby should instead Focus on "Executing" the real "Paradigm & Structural" changes to make the "Real Difference".

"There comes a time in life when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor political, nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right" - Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King...

You be the judge.


Anonymous,  19 September 2010 at 09:09  

So a revamped portal with a new crew will not make any fundamental difference if it just propaganda better packaged.


I am sure even PM can't answer those questions..

And if he cares enough to find out >> he will realise that the easy money broker SYNDROME is alive & well even ON THE CONTRACTS to do his own website.

But PM does not care..he will not get his hands dirty.SO at the end its all rhetorics.

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP