We live in the era of on-the-go entertainment and now people want on-the-go news as well. Starting from Radio telecasts and 9 o clock Doordarshan news to watching the news on our mobile phones, we have come a long way. Today people do not rush to switch on their Television to see what is happening in the world. They just take out their phones and Google. Today the news reaches people in real-time and details of each and every second are shared with the viewers. News and the ways to deliver it have evolved continuously transforming with the change in technology and the needs of people.
According to the study ‘India Digital News Report 2019’ published by Reuters, mobile phones and internet have penetrated even the most remote locations around the country, with over 65% of English-speaking online users consuming news on their phones. Even the News media houses have already made their online presence felt by hosting podcasts, creating apps, and having their own YouTube channels. These media apps can be personalized to mark the kind of content you want, local, national, international news, sports news, Bollywood news, etc. Just mention your preferences, and the rest will be done by the app which will send you personalized news alerts based on your preference and interests.
Partho Dasgupta Former CEO of BARC India states “There is a seismic shift in the way people are consuming news in the past few years. Information has become so easily available that people and businesses are benefitting from it. Even the social media apps which were made to bring people closer have become a source to share news and information!” the news channels today have changed their style of news delivery from formal to more casual to reach more audience.
Even though the information is easily available now and it feels like we have unlimited knowledge at our fingertips, at the same time we are inching towards another problem of “too much information” and Fake news. It is becoming increasingly difficult to verify information as anyone can publish their opinions via blogs, Twitter, YouTube channels, Facebook, etc. today people follow YouTube content creators, podcasters, and influencers for their information. These creators package and create content in an easily palatable way. Their content is designed to be extremely engaging and they have their own target audience. The low barriers to entry in these kinds of mediums have given people a plethora of options and diverse viewpoints. These content creators have an extensive reach and have the power to sway people’s opinions on various issues.
Podcasts have come up as one of the most popular news-consuming platforms. The interviews conducted by the hosts are informal and there is a more natural flow to these interviews. They can be consumed more passively as people listen to them while commuting to work or doing any other activity. Pause when you are busy and just pick up from where you left when you have time. The element of choice and control is just too irresistible!
News today is not just information it has become content and entertainment. While earlier the news used to be well researched, now it’s just a race to deliver the information first. Due to this, the quality of news has suffered. Partho Dasgupta BARC ’s ex CEO shared, “We need to ensure that we consume our news from a trusted source and fact check before we share it forward. It is our duty as citizens to ensure that we are not a part of fake news propaganda”.
The problem that this trend creates is that the internet algorithm reinforces the kind of news you want to watch and cements your beliefs. Unless people consciously look for opposing points of view, they are constantly exposed to ideologies that they support. The information has become available 24*7 and people are spoilt for choice. Even the media houses and creators have the pressure to provide news even more promptly.
Recently Australia passed a media law wherein it made it mandatory for Google and Facebook to pay media companies for news, thus ensuring that the news shown on this platform regarding the country is genuine. Even though in August 2020 Facebook did declare that it will pay Indian media houses for their news, the implementation of this is yet to be seen. Till then, the onus falls on us to verify the news source and forward information that is fact-checked and verified from different sources.