Digital shift to make newspapers 'luxury items'

Posted at 05/01/14 5:45 PM

Art Samaniego of the Manila Bulletin and Tony Velasquez of ABS-CBN News discuss digital news formats at the Future of Media forum. Photo by Ivy Jean Vibar for ABS-CBNnews.com

MANILA – Despite the recent surge of digital media, technology experts have said that traditional media formats such as print and broadcast are here to stay.

However, said broadsheet Philippine Daily Inquirer’s director for mobile JV Rufino during the Future of Media forum on Tuesday at the UP-Ayala Technohub in Quezon City, printed newspapers will likely become curated, luxury items as consumers veer toward digital formats.

“I see newspapers becoming much more moderators rather than [being] the bringer of the news. Our role is to verify, to make sense of it all, to explain, to clarify,” he said.

“I have never seen so much information. It’s so much I don’t know what to make of it.”

He said that because people use smartphones and tablets to get information, news will likely take on a different form and become snippets of information instead of full-length articles.

“For a very long time, our basic unit [of news consumption] has been the article. But on smartphones, people are working on a different model,” he said.

The editor of Manila Bulletin’s technology news agreed with Rufino, saying that while he says broadsheets will remain relevant in the future, news content will likely be delivered in more ways than just through printed articles.

“In the future, kami na nasa newspaper and TV and radio, hindi lahat magiging bringer of news. We will be the explainer of news,” said Art Samaniego, Jr.

Samaniego also acknowledged that it may be possible for newspapers to shift their focus on digital formats in the future.

“I think that in the future, we don’t know yet [when], we will stop printing the Manila Bulletin. Why? Kasi the newspaper is not the business. It’s not the paper that we are selling. It’s the content,” he said.

Broadcast media will also supplement digital formats, said ABS-CBN News’ Tony Velasquez, due to the shift to digital TV broadcast formats.

“The beauty of shifting to digital TV broadcast is that we will also be able to include embedded data,” he said.

“We are actually looking and testing it, collaborating with the government on how to use our digital broadcasting system for emergency broadcasts,” he said, adding that TV signals can also be used to send out alerts or warnings to mobile devices.

However, no matter what format news appears on, Samaniego said, people will still look for reliable sources of information.

Despite bloggers and citizens having the advantage of quick, easy ways to spread information through online platforms such as social media, traditional media organizations are going to remain relevant.

This is because of people will need trusted news organizations to verify and contextualize information.

“Babalikan niyo kami, pupuntahan niyo kami, bibilhin niyo kami, kasi we can give you more than what you see online, in your Twitter feed,” Samaniego said.

“Mga 50% ng nakukuha kong news online, [false]: Wala nang visa papuntang US, nakita na si Malaysian Airlines sa Saudi, nahuli na si Deniece Cornejo. Lahat iyon, ni-retweet, ni-repost, ni-reblog. Ang mga tao, babalik pa rin sa trusted news organization to get the news.”