Social media can shake traditional media

  • TV anchor Rajdeep Sardesai calls for tweets with responsibility
  • Addresses launch event of unique knowledge platform PRact

MUMBAI, May 21, 2016: Battling hostile twitterati day in and out, veteran television journalist Rajdeep Sardesai has stressed that social media has the power to shake the traditional media out of its slumber.

Rajdeep lamented that the traditional media has been failing to focus on real issues impacting the society. “They need to go out into the streets and villages to find facts and report rather than confining themselves to their offices or studios,” he said launching PRact, a knowledge platform floated by Public Relations Council of India (PRCI) and Indian PR Forum (IPRF).

PRact, which stands for PR in Action held a debate on Disruption – How it impacts us, in association with Mumbai Press Club last night. Delegates came not only from Mumbai, but New Delhi and Hyderabad.

Taking time off from his election bulletins, Rajdeep addressed the delegates via telephone straight from his India Today TV studio in New Delhi.

Asked about tablodisation of TV journalism that pioneer TV anchor and his mentor Dr Prannoy Roy attacked, Rajdeep said every news channel has its own way of reporting. But he admitted that the TRP-hungry electronic media failed to address real issues. It is in this context that he said social media can mirror real issues since traditional media does pick up cues from tweets and face book postings.

When a delegate pointedly asked his as to why TV channels report about drought only when farmers commit suicide, he said “It is unfortunately true” and asked: “How many of us actually go into the villages and study facts?”

On the usefulness of social media for PR professionals, Rajdeep said: “Yes, it is a good tool. You can effectively use social media for spreading your message and molding opinions. You should think of ways to communicate your message otger than merely depending on your press releases.”

Noted digital platform professional Amit Tripathi, managing director of Ideate Labs, said in his presentation that PR and media professionals should be ready for pleasant surprises and shocks as the Internet population is set to multiply by leaps and bounds. “The day is not far off when each one of us will be connected to six to seven devicessuch as mobile phones, laptops, ipads and desk tops,” he said and pointed out “this offers a huge potential for communicators to engage their target groups.”

“Digital PR will acquire importance only when you go beyond posting press releases online,” Amit said. Piyush Jain, Head – Research and Analytics at Adfactors, presented an analysis of reporting trends of HR related issues. “It is a folly to believe that media does not report much on HR. We identified 316 journalists who report on HR across media, across India,” Piyush said showing his startling study results.

PRCI national president B N Kumar, executive director of Concept PR, said PRact will strive to bridge the knowledge gap among upcoming PR professionals. IPRF founder Vikram Kharvi, group head B2B at Adfactors, said “This is just a beginning. Between PRCI and IPRF and with the help of Mumbai Press Club we will hold many workshops.”

Vikram asked delegates to come up with ideas that will help enhance knowledge levels of PR professionals. Mumbai Press Club president Prakash Akolkar appreciated the event as a “fantastic one” and said “we all learnt a lot about technology that is overtaking us.”

Getting Rajdeep from his busy election duty is a coup, said veteran journalist Jatin Desai. PRCI is the premier national body of PR, media, advertising, HR professionals with close to 30 chapters pan India and abroad, while IPRF is an online platform with over 3,000 members.