COVID-19 unequivocally changed the media scene. As countries went on lockdown to contain the virus, organisations and newsrooms had to adapt and reform a new method of newsgathering and news reporting. But what can we expect for this year? Would journalists have to continue adapting to a new change, or will things return to how it was before?
Telum Media spoke to Marites Vitug, Editor-at-Large of Rappler, Kamarul Bahrin Haron, Editor-in-Chief of Astro Awani, Stephane Delfour, Director for Southeast Asia at Agence France-Presse, Walter Fernandez, Editor-in-Chief of Mediacorp, and Zulfiani ‘Uni’ Lubis, Editor-in-Chief of IDN Times to share their insights for journalism in Southeast Asia in 2021.
The key highlights mentioned by various panelist including inequality across different nations, the importance of fact-checking, the relevance of press release in this age, and how COVID-19 will still be a crucial topic this year.
- “COVID will remain in the top topics of this year” says Stephane Delfour, as the return of tourism and vaccine is adjacent to the virus.
- “You need to understand the basics to pitch the story” Walter Fernandez explains, as he emphasised the importance for PRs to understand their target audience when sending press releases. “Please be mindful of what is happening around the world. The reality is we do not have the bandwidth to cover other events.”
- “For 2021, its like a second season of 2020. Its really the pandemic year in Indonesia, we are still on the first wave (…) It's been more than ten months, and people get pandemic fatigue, including journalists.” Uni Lubis shares, even though journalists and the media really play an important part in educating and informing about COVID-19, journalists are tired as they feel like what they’ve done is not enough.
- “We need to hear from leaders in different sectors who are able to propose solutions that provokes us into thinking, encourages discussion and enhances clarity,” says Rappler’s Editor-at-Large, Marites Vitug on thought-leadership content.
- As newsrooms are being flooded with press releases, Kamarul Bahrin Haron shared that “Content is the way to go. Content that touches the heart (…) I do not look at press releases, I look at solutions. Stop sending us announcements, send us content."