Archive for October, 2016

Our Media

Posted in Uncategorized on October 1, 2016 by kola

there has been an issue gnawing at the back of my mind for a pretty long time and in these insomniac moments i am thinking it best to address it. oh please! i know inasmuch as it is a political season your first thoughts will be to think that i am going to go the way of the political pundits and write something directly political. please spare me.

the issue at hand is the changing trends in media reportage in this country. anybody will agree with me that the media has now taken several forms like the erstwhile hydra and with the influx of social media and its myriad applications what we now know as traditional media is fast fading away.

i will not bother to give a list of social media sites available online because everyday new applications are churned out by the big companies and even some young innovative ones equipped with sometimes a smartphone and internet access with coding abilities. the days of waiting for newspapers to get to your doorsteps when paper boys were boys of age who wanted to earn a buck with distribution are long in the dust. when families met at the breakfast table to discuss what was in the news over tea. please this is not a foreign concept as seen in the movies but it is pretty much Ghanaian when you have parents who take education pretty serious or are themselves educationists. that era when your dad will expect you to read the newspapers and summarize everything you read in a concise narration as possible whilst he sat in his favorite chair after work.

nostalgic someone?

well that is mostly in the past now. nowadays most of the newspapers have an online portal where with the aid of your smartphone you just log on and read and then for the discussion on the issues in the news you watch the morning television shows and the various discussion panels presented by the various stations on the issues. or you just listen to the radio for same.

however in this election year the sensationalism is all in the politics and the cacophony of discussions being a litany of achievements or the failures of one party as compared to the other and it is usually between the two major political parties of the country. some of us can not stand it and deem it as noise and therefore will rather wait for the other side of the media to bring up what is the news and then we catch up on the discussion.

by the other side of the media i am referring to social media. news travels fast on social media and say one thing and before you realize it goes viral on the popular social media sites especially Facebook and then the discussion takes off with people looking at the issue from every direction even the layman’s point of view – a very interesting perspective when you consider it. what has a lay person got to contribute to an issue they have no idea about. but that is the beauty of social media and at the same time it is its bane.

unlike with traditional media where sources have to be corroborated, social media has its own way of giving life to an issue. when a topic comes up on social media everyone who can type jumps on the wagon and wants to be seen as knowledgeable and just share what they think in relation to the issue. it is not surprising to find that a celebrity dies and social media is paying its respect and then if the deceased is a footballer and somebody writes something like ”rest in peace. really enjoyed his music”.

well as is popular these days i can’t think far on that.

since i am talking about obituaries there is this phenomenon of killing people on social media before they die and there are several examples in Ghana i will not get into where news on social media has reported a person’s death, usually untrue, and a month or so later the person has actually passed on. usually with social media rumors spread more quickly.

can you begrudge the traditional media people who still have not embraced social media? well not me. in more ways than one some people with blogs just publish anything that comes to mind (like i’m doing now) without the proper verification of the information they get because since it is their blog they write what they want. however it is important to consider the damage the stories that are published is going to do on the individual in question and even though there is no editor to demand that stories are corroborated, social media journalists have to respect some writing codes.

the importance of social media in news dissemination in our modern world can not be over emphasized and this is evident in traditional media taking stories especially on world celebrities off their own social media pages such as Facebook and recently Instagram and Twitter. and when sometimes there are parody accounts then you know the information is usually one of mischief or scandalous.

many times we say a picture is worth a thousand words but with the influx of photo enhancing applications such as Photoshop it is important to verify sources of photos before considering them because a photo could be skewed to tell a story of whoever took it or edited it to suit their viewpoint.

there are social media sites that are solely dedicated to fanning rumors like tabloids and others too that are purely satirical. these sites need to be watched carefully lest traditional media takes stories off these sites and publish them as factual.

the face of media is changing and it is important that we embrace the changes that come with it. it is important too that an individual learns to discern which information is news worthy worth pursuing and which one could just be satire and also to be on top of issues consider a variety of news sources before one believes what one hears in the news.

the ball is in your court now. how you interpret the news is up to you and whether you depend on the traditional media or on social media just be sure you are on top of the news. that is the only way you can also tell others about what is trending at the moment and in these times information is key.

like i always say it begins with YOU!