Brave new world full of opinions – editorial from Bangkok’s The Nation

bridge.jpgI am really interested in how the advent of new media–or more precisely perhaps, social media as a more accurate referent to the evolution of new media whose early emphasis was on technology–is impacting traditional media’s historical role as the gatekeeper of information.  Indeed, if social media continues to take off, the public relations industry risks being obsolete if it does not adapt and realize that we need to go beyond issuing the standard press releases and refuse to extend our stakeholder relations program beyond key editors and journalists of traditional media and corporate analyst types, to citizen journalists and opinion leaders.

Indeed, traditional media is already wide awake to the ongoing redefinition of its role, caught in the crosscurrents of a public increasingly angling for a greater role in shaping the news and information that they consume.  I thought that Bangkok’s The Nation wrote a rather searching editorial in its May 3 edition on this issue. 

“The media as we know it is coming to an end,” it declared. 

“Bloggers, citizen reporters or simply general users have been contributing to media content in ever-increasing quantity and quality. The information flow has for some time ceased to be one-way, and it’s only a matter of time before what initially was called ‘feedback’ matches or overtakes the ‘output’ in terms of reliability and credibility,” the op-ed continued.

Of course, this editorial (click here for the full op-ed or here for print-ready text) comes at a rather urgent moment in Thailand’s history, where press freedom has been even more curtailed under the military junta (in a recent report by New York-based Freedom House, Thailand’s press freedom ranking slipped to 127 out of 194 countries from its placement at 29 in 2000 and 107 in 2006).  See report by The Nation here.  Yet, the military government is starting to see that despite media control, its citizens are able to continue expressing their opinions in various online platforms, which presents a much greater regulatory challenge than traditional media. 

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