Media convergence tops UAJ training

MEDIA convergence has become the dominant theme of contemporary journalism practice, education and research, Naila Hamdy, associate professor and chair of the department of journalism and mass communication at the American University in Cairo, has said.
Dr Hamdy said television, radio, internet and mobile phones have fused into a multiple media platform that offers integrated news to deliver to media consumers.
She shared these observations in a presentation on ‘journalism in the age of media convergence’ to media practitioners attending the Union of African Journalists (UAJ) 46th training course for young African journalists in Cairo.
Dr Hamdy also said the channel of news media has changed as previous boundaries among print and electronic media in how they do business has been almost eradicated.
“News consumption is not the same as in pre-internet times when people tuned in to 24-hour news channels to catch up with the news,” she said.
While television, radio and newspapers still exist, Dr Hamdy stated that there is growing competition from interactive online media.
“Egypt now has 49 million internet users and any young person online is accessing their news via new media technologies,” she said.
Dr Hamdy noted how the phenomenon of media convergence has also brought about more co-operation, partnership and collaboration than ever before in the media.
There has also been newsroom integration, joint advertising and other special projects.
“Most importantly, the audience has an incredible amount of information to choose from. If the reader is not given relevant, important information, they cannot be kept,” she said.
The converged media is shifting the power to consumers or citizens who can be involved in the process.
This shift, Dr Hamdy said, calls for responsibility and credibility, which traditional journalism continues to offer.
She said while social media brought breaking news, traditional journalism on the other hand brought credibility to online news.
“If the press is the fourth estate, social media can be seen as the fifth estate,” Dr Hamdy said. “A good example of this is ‘citizen journalism’ as citizen journalists often act as a watchdog of the media.”
She said the African journalists’ workshop, held in collaboration with the UAJ, presented a great opportunity for knowledge sharing.
The workshop, which has been taking place over the last 20 years, also enables African journalists to compare the various media landscapes within which they operate.

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