Anton Muhajir, Contributor, Denpasar | Fri, 11/28/2008 10:54 AM | Bali
Prominent bloggers and executives of mainstream media outlets agreed Thursday that the old and new could achieve a “beneficial synergy” to give birth to a new force in information provision.
Enda Nasution, known as the “father” of blogging in Indonesia, said blogs and mainstream media could happily co-exist.
“Blogs will not cannibalize mainstream media. Rather they will complement it,” he said at “New Media: The End of Conventional Media?”, a discussion organized by the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI).
Bloggers, mainstream media and the public, Nasution said, were living in the same space, which he called a “blogosphere ecosystem”. From this perspective, blogs, as part of the social media, represent personal voices and, as with other social media facilitated by technologies such as email, instant messaging, microblogging and online petitions, deliver information generated from personal experience and employing a subjective narrative.
“Mainstream media could serve as a bridge that connects social media with the public,” he said.
Nasution cited the case of Situ Babakan in West Java as an example of the successful synergy between the social and mainstream media in representing the public’s interests.
Following the local administration’s plan to build a shopping mall on the lake, local environmentalists and the lake’s supporters launched an online campaign to have the plan rejected.
“They created a blog, informed web users about the blog and their cause through mailing lists, Facebook, online petitions and other social media. The web-based campaign generated a tremendous buzz that grabbed the mainstream media’s attention. As the mainstream media picked up the issue the campaign attracted greater public support,” he said.
Nasution, who owns enda.goblogmedia.com, said there was currently a shift from conventional media to new media, in which consumers not only consumed but also produced media.
However, this has resulted in lower quality of the new media.
“By nature, new media are difficult to control,” he said.
The growth of blogging in Indonesia, Nasution said, was quite significant. Last year, there were around 300,000 blogs in the country. Today, there are 600,000 blogs.
“I am convinced that next year the number will be more than one million. This is a very tremendous power,” he said.
The fast growth of blogging has been viewed as a threat by many mainstream media outlets. Bill Gates once said the new media would drive the mainstream media to bankruptcy.
“The printed media see the only way to survive is by embracing the dot-com,” Kompas Gramedia CEO Agung Adiprasetyo said.
He said the challenges posed by the new media were the very thing that drove Kompas, the largest newspaper in Indonesia, to embrace information technology. Since 2000, Kompas has operated Kompas Online.
Now, he said, kompas.com had became a convergent media, offering its customers an array of multimedia services. The online entity even had a dedicated space for community interaction, something that traditionally belonged to the new media.
“In this way, the mainstream media will survive. It will not die,” he said.