Guest Speaker Session on  Changing role of Journalism and Journalists

Guest Speaker Session on Changing role of Journalism and Journalists

As a part of the Journalism and society module a guest speaker session was conducted to provide an insight on changing role of journalism and journalists December 29th 2021.

Mr. Kunga Tenzin Dorji, a senior freelance journalist, was invited as the guest speaker. He is the 2016 recipient of the Jigme Singye Wangchuck Prestigious Journalism Award for outstanding contributions to journalism in Bhutan.

Among his many skills he is also the lead singer in one of Bhutan’s best known rock bands and has acted in lead roles in several films. His voice is widely heard in Thimphu on Radio Valley, 99.9 FM, where he hosts a talk show on social and political issues every week. In recent years, he has lent his voice and personality as a narrator in a number of documentary/awareness videos thus he has a bit of popularity and is known by the name Supe.

He shared his 2 decades of experience in the media industry in Bhutan. He talked about his professional career as a news reporter, an English lecturer, News Editor of the weekly, Bhutan Observer, and then Consultant Editor at Drukpa magazine.

Kunga started the session sharing a quote by Michael Oreskes with the class:

“We are the independent observers of the world, who go places where our audience can’t go, dig where our audiences can’t dig, study and interpret what our audiences do not have the time to study and interpret, so that our audiences can better understand the world”

He mentioned that these are the changing times for journalism and journalists, unlike in the past, when publishing outlets were few and publishing opportunities were little. But now with the digital platforms at the palm of their hands, anyone may now be a publisher. The competition, he said, is no longer between media companies, but rather between everybody with a smartphone.

He shared that working with the masses is one way that journalism and journalists can maintain their responsibilities as gatekeepers. With adequate guidelines in place, new phenomena such as Networked Journalism can change the news media sector, and models such as ‘User Generated Content’ can be used by media houses to provide news and information.

He also shared that though digitalization, the media has resulted in significant changes in terms of news and information delivery speed, medium, and volume, the essential journalism premise remains unchanged.

The way forward, he highlighted, is to establish oneself as a trustworthy journalist or a media house. Through relevant digital platforms, the requirement to be present and visible is critical.

It’s interesting to see how the meaning of the word viral has evolved through time, from a negative connotation to validating the influence of news and information through it.

Responding to a question from one of the participants on how media houses should work with the citizen to do more ground reporting and give diverse news coverage, Kunga highlighted that a good communication should be developed with the audience of the media houses, bureau correspondent deployed in the rural areas and also training the network of citizen journalist could be a phenomenal source from the ground.

He ended the session with the quote ‘The news media’s new mantra should be: Get it right, get it fast!’

Testimonials from participants

Yenten Thinley ‘The session is always lively and fun with Auu Kinga around ’

Dema Yeshey ‘Learnt new concepts like ‘User Generated Content’ which we haven’t come across yet, it’s interesting to see how our readers could contribute in news generation’

Leave a comment