Social media replacing mainstream media: Sashi Kumar

The contemporary media is in a state of flux and churning.

The social media poses a challenge to the traditional media and provides the news for the formal media, said Sashi Kumar, Chairman, Media Development Foundation and Asian College of Journalism, Chennai.

He said that the social media occupied the void created by the mainstream media whose capacity to articulate real issues confronting society had become diluted.

Quoting the examples of Egypt revolution and reportages on tsunami, where blogs and citizen journalists played a significant role in disseminating credible and real-time information, Mr. Sashi Kumar said the mainstream media was in a state of retreat and the social media was increasingly taking its place. While the market model had helped media enterprises make money, real stories that confront society such as poverty, rural issues, farmers’ suicides, agricultural crisis, infanticide, and foeticide, hardly find space in the mainstream media, which was afflicted with the “press club syndrome” that sets the agenda for the day.

Although the number of news sources had grown exponentially, the information given by these sources were similar, he said.

The fear of “missing a story” had become the chief concern of formal media, particularly TV channels.

This pushed real issues to the periphery. This “illogic or perverse logic” coupled with the fear of losing out to competition was pushing the media houses to carry stories that were similar in nature and were eschewed from the realities of society.