Business and the media mirror

The Internet made everything accessible with just one click, but information needs to be handled professionally

Business and the media mirror

Снимка: Pixabay

Автор: Tatyana Yavasheva

The world is changing, technology and digitization are transforming the media as well. The Internet has made free access to information possible, and social networks have enabled everyone to act as an information agency. But what happens to the media? What happens to information? Do we need economic publications and media focused primarily on the development of the economy, business, technology, or it will all be just for fun? Would artificial intelligence replace journalists at their main role as story tellers? False news - what kind of phenomenon is that and isn’t it an attempt to blur the boundary between truth and lie, between professionalism and irresponsible chattering in which manipulation rules?

Among the important questions is what kind of media mirror the business would like to look in - in media that professionally monitor the development and processes, or in media vultures, who are mainly concerned with scandals and bad news, with competition wars and battles for redistribution of areas of influence? What kind of national media does society need in this global conglomerate? There are many questions that need to be answered. And these are questions to which not only the media, but the business and society will soon start looking for answers and responding to them.

Economics magazine is a contemporary and a chronicler of the transition to a market economy. Looking at the NEXT 30, we have confidence that paper will remain a carrier of peace, luxury and prestige. We are also changing and pursuing ever higher professional standards.

In the following lines, we present three points of view on the topic of the major media transformation.

Prof. Georgi Lozanov, lecturer at the Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication at Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski ":

Business can build a world to his liking

It is time for the media to change the quality of entertainment by imposing morals and values in society

Prof. Lozanov, at what stage of transformation are the media?

The global process is technologically dictated and is linked to a qualitatively new type of media content distribution. It is no longer localized in a specific media - in the radio, television or newspaper, but it starts reaching us everywhere. This also changes the very nature of content, which is becoming less and less institutionally protected and anyone can intervene in its production. There is a huge information boom, but information is becoming more and more unverified and not qualitative, leading to the so-called fake news. Earlier, distributing information was the sole job of media with institutional weight, and now everybody everywhere informs everyone. This carries risks such as the ones of self-medication. The production of information is a complex professional activity, which is done according to professional standards to ensure that we receive qualitative and correct information. In the medicine information leaflet, only two changed words can kill the person. The entire information environment is loaded with a similar risk.

How big of a factor for the level of our awareness is the Internet?

The global network made the utopia of people to have free access to information come true. For centuries it has been restricted. The people in charge have always tried to hide something. Now it seems that all information belongs to you, even more than one can handle. But gradually, information filters start to appear on the Internet.

The business and the economy should hardly be seen in the media just in the form of scandals ...

Special media is needed to reflect economic issues. Economic journalism is as much journalism as it is expertise. It is not a topic for the masses, and it is becoming increasingly rare in our local culture. English-language media are taking over this audience.

In that case, should we take extra care for the Bulgarian-language media?

Special care is needed because of the specifics of the Bulgarian market and economy. Bulgarian society has its own agenda regarding its problems.

What would be a successful formula for the business editions in Bulgaria?

For the business media it is important to speak in an exciting way, as this topic is rather boring by nature. Information may be very important to people, but the over-seriousness in its delivery pushes them away. The other important thing for such media is to be independent and not to be part of economic battles and competition wars.

The life of any media also depends on its sources of funding. How can this be handled in a healthy way?

It would be a good idea to do this through the cover price, but in a small market like ours, it is nearly impossible. In that case, one has to seek the support of the business, so that it can get quick, reliable and useful information in return, but not information which is used as a form of influence. The fate of these media largely depends on the morale of the source of funding. There should also be a distinction between sponsorship and advertising. An ad seeks a commercial effect, it's a deal. The social responsibility of the business is in sponsorship. It does not bring a direct profit, but helps the business having a huge resource to build a world to its liking. During the transition, an economic class was created that still does not feel the social responsibility related to capital. When your capital crosses the limit of personal needs, then comes the historical role of business, the social construction.

There are already predictions that journalist and editor are among the disappearing professions of the future. As a journalist, what do you think about this?

The prognosis for their extinction is greatly exaggerated. Today everyone thinks he can do journalism. But people have already begun to feel that the Internet is not a media, it is an information flea market, and social networks are a form of private communication. In my opinion, the reverse process of returning to qualitative journalism, part of which is specialized economic journalism, will soon occur. In the past, when the cameras and films became cheaper and everyone started shooting, it was believed that amateur photo-shooting would kill professional photography. No such thing happened because people began to develop greater sensitivity and to value the achievements of professional photography. So, not only it did not perish but it actually increased its value. Something similar is about to happen with qualitative journalism.

Can experts in a given field displace journalists?

When you go to visit someone, sometimes you hear, "Here, I've done everything by myself." And I say, "Yes, and it shows." When you build a house, it is always better to use professionals. The same is true when you get informed.

After 30 years of transition, what is your message to the business and media, looking at the next 30?

I hope we've got to where we're going. It is important for people to have a value system. To my students I tell that I do not steal silver tea spoons when going to visit someone, not because the hosts will catch me and punish me, but just because my morality does not allow me to do that. Standards must become part of our identity, so that we do not cross them. Specialized media should work for this value-based assertion. Business should come out to the light and become legitimate.

We have such a column in the magazine ...

Businessmen have to become moral authority in society, not to be perceived as crooks, often not without a reason. Morally rich make life for the poor also better.

Is the end of paper editions coming soon?

The end of mass papers is near. Their role is taken over by the phone in our hands. But there is a niche for better journalism that will rely on paper. This is another type of experience that gives you the opportunity to think. The Internet is a fast stream. Paper will remain in boutique media spheres and it will be a matter of luxury and prestige. This new kind of media will create their own audience in some sort of communicative clubs. I would like to see the media changing the quality of the entertainment, imposing values ​​in the society.

Prof. Dr. Grigoriy Vazov, Rector of the Higher School of Insurance and Finance:

Magazines bring the pleasure of reading

Economy magazine is done very professionally and I am among its romantic readers

 

Prof. Vazov, in what situation do you think are the business media in this complete transformation? What formula should they follow?

The business media themselves determine their behaviour, they choose the analyses to make, and the depth to have.

Yes, but there is something called readers’ interest. And the media are dependent on the expectations for them ...

There is no media that is not dependent on the readers’ interest. Economic media readers who make analyses, conclusions and draw perspectives for the development of the state, the economy, a specific business, are on a much higher level than the readers of other media that reflect the flow of information. Serious economic editions are weekly or monthly and they must be well prepared for their readers. The economic media that are currently on our market have a significant presence and I have high opinion about the Bulgarian media market in the economy sector. Economy magazines, for example, is a very professional edition.

After the major economic crisis in 2008, most economic sections and programs on Bulgarian televisions were stopped. Do we need competent economic media today?

Televisions make their own economic analyses related to the current topics of the day, mostly during the week. From other economic media I expect much more serious analysis. And it is good that there is a good set of economic editions on the Bulgarian market today.

Why do we need this kind of media?

They provide up-to-date information on the Bulgarian economy and the global processes, on individual companies and new trends. Both small and large economic structures in Bulgaria are being presented. Every business owner should have a serious analytical team assigned to get this information. Instead of doing that, one can get all the economic releases at a symbolic price and keep track of developments.

The audience of the economic media is relatively narrow. What should their formula for a healthy existence be if they have such an important mission?

They may exist through subscription and advertising. For example, I am a subscriber to the Economy magazine. I am not looking for the magazine because of the horoscope in it, but because of the important economic information it gives me.

Is there a place for paper editions in the digital era?

Of course. We know it will not be like 30 years ago or more, but paper as a bearer of information will always matter. It is too early to write it off. This is an important global discussion. A paper carrier is a paper carrier with its own advantages. The computer has another purpose. For me, it does not bring joy from reading and from the analysis.

What should be the behaviour of the economic media in this constant change of habits, and in the world as a whole? Digitization has become an important factor in this change ...

Oh, if I knew the answer, I would have probably been very rich. Hardly even the chief editors and owners of these media could answer. This is also a form of some natural selection. I'm not a science fiction author, so that I could predict what's going to happen in time.

What is your feeling about this unclear future? In what transformation process are we caight in, even though we are the ones to incite the transformation?

No one has brought us into transformation, these are natural processes of the development of society. There is no fiction in that.

Economy magazine has been on the market for 30 years. What would you wish them for the next 30?

In recent years, Economy magazine has undergone incredible development. I do not know what the reason is, but at the moment it's a very good economic edition. And this bilingual version implies many more readers. Four years ago, I was on the cover of the magazine, since then I have seen a strong upward development.

And finally, the popular question: Will the mouse eat the book?

The old-time large circulations remain in the past. But paper editions will always have their romantic readers. I am among the romantic readers of the Economy magazine.

Liliya Stoyanov:

Digital transformation greatly changes the media

Artificial Intelligence would hardly replace the influential presence of journalists like Oprah Winfrey

 

Liliya Stoyanov is Chief Executive Officer and Business Angel at Transformify (https://www.transformify.org). Specialist in Fine and Digital Transformation, Professor at Zigurat Business School and Expert Evaluator on Horizon 2020 at the European Commission.

Mrs. Stoyanov, you created the company Transformify and its name suggests that we are in the process of transformation. What kind of transformation is the media going through today?

Digital media have a lot of power over people's opinion and can change their vision, but they do not always transform life for the better.

What kind of change has transformation brought to the media?

They need to quickly adapt to digitization and constantly look for new channels to generate revenue, attracting new users. It's a challenge to find ways to keep them, because it's easier than ever to get users to follow not one account but another. Take a look at Instagram and Facebook.

Their appearance changed the perspectives and rearranged the market. What role does traditional media play?

Traditional media are newspapers, magazines, online publications and blogs that have existed for a long time. The question is how they respond to the consumer demand. How information is to be offered easily, in a convenient way and free of charge. Instagram and Facebook are completely free to the user.

But aren’t social networks the bigger conductor of so-called fake news? The responsibility of the media itself towards the information which is being distributed through is getting lost there ...

I was investing in a company in South Korea and Singapore, which is blockchain-based. It uses technology to track who creates the content, who buys it and where it is published. The path of the content can be tracked, but it is hard to tell whether it is true. Often, this is a grey area, "fake news" is a relative concept - they are fake to some and they are true to others.

But when information is written by a journalist who stands behind it with his well-recognized name, it's kind of a guarantee ...

The name of the journalist can only give value to the quality of the material.

There are journalists who still respect professional ethics and standards, while the so-called social media are just information carriers.

Facebook is an aggregator, it collects and distributes information. Individual media create information that then reaches aggregators to reach more users. I am also a journalist myself - I write about entrepreneur.com as an expert.

What kind of media are to come?

Online media very quickly attract consumers. They are more popular than print media and television, which also registers declining interest. Consumers love to watch videos on their phones, they prefer Netflix. This trend will continue.

How can media successfully surf the ocean of change?

The way is to digitize, and to provide on paper only content sought by the consumers. Well-advertised videos and podcasts can attract new users. When you have good traffic, advertisers will be willing to advertise with you.

As an entrepreneur, what kind of content would you encourage to be created?

Depends on the consumer group of a given media. I will give an example with entrepreneur.com, an edition aimed at entrepreneurs from around the world. It is written by people who share their own experience, so that other entrepreneurs can avoid their mistakes and apply working solutions.

How does the media support itself?

Mainly from advertising. Authors do not receive any payment. Writing for a world-famous media, we promote ourselves as a personal brand, as well as the brand of the company we have founded.

Do you, however, feel financially committed to contributing to its maintenance?

No, we give them free content. And how they will recruit advertisers is a job of their sales department.

What is the working interaction between business and media in Bulgaria?

I do not know the environment well, but the market here is small and you should focus an affluent niche, so that you could live by it, generating big enough traffic.

There are predictions that journalist and editor are jobs that will one day disappear. Will robots replace them?

Not so much robots, because the content written by AI does not have the same effect. In my opinion, there will be journalists like Oprah Winfrey who are making popular shows. The creation of such a brand takes a lot of time, and few can do it. Experts like me replace journalists because they post for free in the media as they promote a brand, service, or there is a link to their site in the information. That way, these experts "sell" themselves and their expertise.

And here lies the difference, because journalists usually do not aim to "sell" themselves. But then, is it time to close the journalistic faculties?

Within a decade they will shrink greatly. From them will come people who have the ability to create a strong brand. In order to make a show of the rank of Oprah Winfrey, they need some knowledge. This is why the focus of what is being learned will change. More and more universities are inviting academics who do not have a purely academic career but are practitioners and business people. I, myself, am such a lecturer. This is a new trend in education.

How will the media look like in 10 years?

They will mainly be digital. The part of the printed editions will be minimal, with content that users have the desire to preserve as a book. I see an increasing fragmentation of the media and this is a good trend.

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