Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Communication, Internal Seminar, HITS

Yesterday I attended a seminar led by our current science journalist Kerstin Hoppenhaus at HITS. It was remarkable because it made me think how communication works and why trustworthy journalism is important.

Journalists curate news in such a way that is interesting and digestible to the users. A piece of news can have a certain amount of bias, which might creep in consciously or unconsciously. Some of the tricks of the trade to seduce the users are (1) telling a story, (2) engaging the user, and (3) using techniques such as dramatic pause, captivating background score or a protagonist.

The format of delivery can be literary, auditory or visual. Different formats pose different challenges. For instance, consider the 360-degree video format in which the director can no longer direct the user through the intended narrative because of the shift in control from the director to the user. 

We then discussed how the Internet has disrupted the media industry. With the Internet, quick communication is possible. However a major challenge here is fake news. As a reader, how can you trust a piece of news that you see over the Internet? Some of the parameters are reputation of the news source, valid verifiable references, accuracy of the news content, and style of presentation.

Finally we discussed whether simplification of news pays off or not. Simplification improves the extend to which the news penetrates the audience. However over-simplification might have to let go off some necessary details.

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