NOIDA: Day-2 of the International Conference ICAN3 organized by DME Media School began with a plenary session on the subject “Grassroots Journalism in Digital Era” with Mr K.G. Suresh, Former Director General, Indian Institute of Mass Communication, presently the Dean of School of Modern Media, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun, in the Chair. The session started with the opening remarks by Dr Ambrish Saxena, Dean, DME Media School and Organising Secretary of ICAN 3. Dr Susmita Bala, Head, DME Media School and Convenor of ICAN 3 welcomed Prof. K. G. Suresh.
The senior media academician said, “We are not living in the age of communication; we are living in the age of conversation” to emphasize the role of a participatory approach in journalism. Mr Suresh, in his characteristic style, criticized the section of “wannabe journalists” by saying that one cannot expect to work on the real community issues without having a firm grip over the problems on the ground. In what seemed like a page from his personal book of experiences, Mr Suresh iterated, “Grassroots journalism is about becoming the voice of the voiceless”.
He also, in what seemed rather prophetic, emphasized that the use of local languages could be a tool to reach and connect people at all levels and advised the media students to read language papers as they reflect the hardships of people at the grassroots.
Citing the example of a local newspaper- Khabar Lahariya -Mr Suresh said that the local elements play an important role when it comes to grassroots journalism.
He also referred to the debate involving media and commerce and commented, “Mainstream media rarely covers grassroots issues because of commercial purposes”. He added that the rural population is usually not the target audience for media houses because of the economic factors involved. The target audience is dependent on the market.
Expressing confidence, Mr Suresh quipped that Digital Media can be a catalyst of change. In response to a question from the audience, he said that there would be a change in mindsets and people would switch over to digital platforms some way or the other; the only challenge would be the growing demand of the power and network, which can be tackled with reforms in the policies and community awareness.
The enlightening plenary session with Mr KG Suresh was followed by the third technical session focusing on the ‘Role and Effects of Social Media on Community.’
The session was chaired by Dr Ruhi Lal Thakur, PhD Coordinator, Amity School of communication and co-chaired by Dr Pooja Arora, Visiting faculty, DME, Noida. Several papers presented on topics including the impact of social media influencers on shaping purchase decision of consumers and the role of social media in the diffusion of fashion trends on youth. The Chair and Co-chair gave some suggestions, tips and understanding about research tools to the presenters.
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