Social media creates equal playing field

The digital disruption brought on by social media and online news challenged traditional forms of journalism but in some ways it levelled the playing field for Pacific journalists.

Multi-award winning Australian broadcaster, journalist and sports commentator Aaron Kearney gave a presentation based on this message at a reception with Samoan media personnel at the Edge Marina recently.

Mr Kearney was in Samoa this week, taking local media through a three-day Pacific sports partnerships communications workshop, which was sponsored by the Australian High Commission and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Looking at the current media landscape, the digital disruption brought on by social media mainly affected multinational media corporations and while there were mass layoffs around the world, the Pacific went relatively unscathed. 

Mr Kearney said that the demise of these media conglomerates presented a unique set of opportunity to the Pacific Islands, which are traditionally disadvantaged with a lack of resources in media, but make up for it with their ingenuity. 

“On the one hand digital disruption has taken away those old business models but on the other. From a Pacific perspective, no one was ever giving away half a million dollars worth of equipment or running a five-man crew here.”

“The nimbleness, the lateral thinking and the ability to be a jack of all trades presents a really unique opportunity especially those working in the media because you aren’t weighed down by those systems,” he added. 

Mr Kearney reiterated that journalism is embarking on a new era where quality information is going to be more highly valued than ever before. 

Being at a disadvantage meant that Samoan media have developed special skills that put them at the start line rather than lagging behind other major media outlets, he added. 

“So I strongly urge you to make use of the resources that is making it to these parts of the world and to really keep the faith around the journalism and how Samoa can continue to grow and emerge in the 21st Century. Because so many of the barriers that made life challenging in the past can now actually be turned to your advantage.”

The sports partnerships communications workshops focused on story telling and attracting audiences, taking pictures and producing video content, mobbing phone magic and social media hacks. In addition to extensive journalism experience in Australia, Mr Kearney brings an understanding of media in the Pacific, having been intimately involved in the 2015 Pacific Games broadcast in Papua New Guinea (P.N.G.) and worked at the Vanuatu Mini-Games in December 2017.

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