Editors-in-chief and media professionals unanimously agreed on the need to combine traditional means and modern tools of journalism, in order to ensure continuity, come up with more professional content, expand the circle of content spread, and reach the various target groups.
This came during second day of the tenth session of the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF) 2021 held on 26-27 September, 2021, at the Expo Centre Sharjah. The platform, a key initiative by the Sharjah Government Media Bureau, brought together editors-in-chief of newspapers, electronic news websites, and media professionals, under the title “The Forum of Editors-in-Chiefs… Where is the press heading today?” The session was moderated by Marwan Al Hel of Dubai Media Incorporated.
The participants stressed that although the printing industry face challenges due to lack of readership and advertisement revenue, it still enjoys professionalism and credibility. For this it was absolutely necessary to keep pace with modern technological developments, and to take advantage of various tools and social media platforms to expand its reach and to enhance the quality of content.
Abdelhadi Naji of Moroccan Sports Journalists Union said, “The challenges facing the press currently is mainly due to the poor reading habits in our country, and not the weakness of the press itself; in addition to the lack of professional competency which fails to create good content and keep the readers interested. Efforts must be intensified to address these crises.”
In turn, Akram Al-Qassas, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Editor-in-Chief of the Egyptian news website Youm7, stressed that the press has always been under the microscope, and experiencing continuous challenges which do not rise to the level of a serious crisis. This does not apply only to the written press, but even television for example, which also has its own challenges. From this logic, Al-Qassas infers that the development of journalistic content, templates and forms, and keeping pace with developments contribute to adapting the written press to modern reality, and thus overcoming any challenges, no matter how difficult.
Managing Editor of the Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar, Ghassan Hajjar, pointed out that newspapers today are more likely to belong to a certain group than to another, and this group is represented by the elderly. And the crises that the press faces today are on three fronts: the crisis of printing, which was further embodied in the time of COVID-19; the crisis of the reader, whose quality and interests have changed; and finally the crisis of content, which is the most dangerous, as the professional press must keep pace with the aspirations and concerns of the end consumer, as well as improving the quality and efficiency of the content.
The session also witnessed media professionals and TV presenters who all agreed on the need to keep pace with the latest social media tools and harness them to serve traditional media and their spread, to enhance content matter and also to confront false and unprofessional ones.