Media in an Open Environment

I was talking to a colleague in office and I realized that I need to talk about taking media to a new level. I have been procrastinating it for a while. I am penning down my thoughts on media in India and invite you people to share this with anyone you think can contribute. Please add your opinions also.

In my opinion media is supposed to perform three functions
1. Inform junta about things
2. Bring people together and share opinions
3. Shape public thought

However, currently media as I see it is not really doing any of these three. Media is being operated as a business with profit motives and as my colleague put it, actual function has become the by product. I would not question why or how this happened. I shall talk about what can be done to bring it back on track. And obviously this is where I would need you guys to help me out. Please help me structure my thought process.

I think there are few things that are really critical for having media in true spirit.

1. Objectivity - Obviously we want to take sides, churn out opinions but we should do it with objective bent. We should kill a brand, praise a person but should be objective.

2. Independence - Independence is a huge word by itself and can have many connotations. Independence of thoughts, independence from influence, independence to write. And lots more.

3. Thought leadership - Apart from just publishing happenings and reporting events, media needs to have thought leadership. They should have original opinion on things. Thoughts on how to shape the society and probably a bit of foresight to be able to foresee the future.

4. Reach and feedback - There are two things here. Media could use any platform for delivery - paper, website, twitter, plays, design anything but it should have a certain reach. Atleast in the targeted audience, it should reach everyone and it should be contextual and relevant enough for them to consider it signal, rather than noise. And feedbcak is more critical than everything else. Media needs to know what is happening, how are people reacting to things, what is the audience thinking, is India covering the right things, is the media being a thought leader in the first place?

Now having established things that are critical for media in my opinion, I will talk about how can Internet help us in achieving the goal.

1. Collaboration - This word has been misused more than any other word on the Internet. When it comes to media, collaboration could take shape of co-authoring stories, thinking out loud, accepting defeats and promoting what is better, so on and so forth. Mutiny is a very good example but again we tend to incline towards popular things rather than pertinent things.

2. Reach and Feedback - With Internet as delivery model, both reach and feedback can be much simpler. With Internet, we can real time feedback from people and improvise at the same time. The time gap between conversations is reducing and making us faster.

3. Democratic - Since people on Internet are hidden behind a cloak, they can come forward and talk about things that they want to talk above without any fears of retribution. Although this silver cloak is a bane as well, it gives regular junta lots of power too.

There have to be some issues with the Internet. I foresee following issues with the use of Internet. This is not a problem because of Internet but because it is open.

1. Accountability - Everyone on Internet is hidden behind a silver cloak. If someone wants to misuse media, Internet help him. No one is owner of the content and no one is questionable.

2. Seriousness - Most people still consider Internet as "oh the internet" and think it as a collection of amateurs blogging away to glory. There are so many good authors that I cant even create a list.

3. Numbers - There arent just enough people on Internet in India. And most of people on the Internet don't really care about reading things. I am not sure how many would read this post completely, leave apart shaping opinions and contributing. If you do read , please say "SECRET REVEALED" in the comments, I will be happy to get 10 comments.

In the end, I dont know if this kind of an initiative could ever gain momentum in India or anywhere else or if this can ever replace traditional businesses disguised as media. I am just trying to present a perspective on things.

Please understand that everything I have said could be incorrect. They are just my opinions and want you guys to help me come up with something concrete.

Thanks for a patient hearing.

P.S.: I started this as a personal email to Sanjukta and another good friend (Swagat) but I thought I could share this with a larger audience too.

Originally posted @

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