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Professional journalists face competition with digital counterpart


GEORGE TOWN:  The influx of the digital journalist is the biggest challenge faced by the professional journalist, says Malaysian Press Institute chief executive officer Datuk Chamil Wariya.

The professional journalist, he said, needed to compete for the right to provide accurate information to readers, as well as strengthen their position in the media industry.

He noted that currently, the people were more receptive to the concept that anyone could be a journalist, better known as the ‘citizen journalist’.

The professional journalist, on the other hand, was often pressured by advertising companies which wanted their advertisements placed in specific pages, for example on the front page where the latest news should be placed, he said.

Chamil said this at the Media Forum @ USM 2nd series ‘Career Challenges of Journalists in the Digital Era’ at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) here today.

The forum co-organised by the Centre of Communication Studies and USM’s Media and Public Relations Centre was chaired by USM’s Deputy Dean of Academic  Centre of Communication Studies, Dr Shuhada Md Noor, along with two other members of the panel, namely managing editor of Synergy Sdn Bhd, Sherkawi Jirim and Association of Bumiputera Advertising agencies adviser, Adi Satria.

Citizen journalist is an individual or media organisation that disseminates  information in the form of news reports and writing articles that are free from influence, interest and ownership of any government or political parties and other investors.

Chamil said media graduates should strengthen five core skills in journalism, namely general skills, proficiency in news subjects, information processing skills, ethics and professionalism.

“Besides, the attitude of new journalists to remain ‘loyal’ to the media industry is tested when better employment opportunities come their way, a challenge that must be faced by professional journalists,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Adi said, journalists in the digital age should be competent and  proficient in English, which was viewed as a barrier to graduates looking for  jobs.

“I also welcome lecturers and students to engage in practical training programmes in news organisations that will allow them to gain knowledge and experience so that it can be applied in the real world,” he added.


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