It’s scant consolation that when the overall business has fallen drastically, media consumption is record highs. A lot of what we are doing this month, we are not getting paid for. It’s inspiring to see our journalist day in day out cover the news, as they deal with the same stresses and pressures as everyone else, from what I can only assume is a sense of duty.
There are some who believe that local news is as important as pubic parks, education, and clean water.
Others who see it as the 4th estate, and a few who think it’s all fake.
When Saudi Arabia, made exceptions of certain industries from their stay at home advice, they included media as one of those entities. Lone reporters are in studios all over the world, with dial-in guests, all over the world.
Media entities and official news agencies are aligning more than ever to ensure that the messages are consistent, whether its #flattenthecurve with the latest case figures, or #stayathome campaigns to encourage social distancing.
In the UAE, the National Media Council, NMC has called “…upon all media institutions to dedicate all their professional and technical resources to educate the public in all languages on the new procedures to ensure safety of the society and its protection.
Media and journalists have had a rough old time. But since this pandemic started, there are reports that 50% of all content consumed on Facebook in the US is related to the Coronavirus, and this at a time where Facebook has hired teams to verify that content, ensuring that the views are going towards reputable publications, that journalists should feel that they are doing their part.
They are not on the front line, but with so much miss information, and people trying to make sense of all this, providing reliable information, replying to questions, and staying on top of the fast-developing news cycle, has become a core part of COVID-19 in peoples lives.
Perhaps too, as advertising and branded content are effectively on hold, we are seeing journalists perform the roles they are trainer for, and that their content is getting the more attention with less branded content noise in our feeds.
This is already a watershed moment for many industries, but it might also be a timely reminder just how important local news is to society.