In today’s digital age, traditional news media outlets are experiencing a decline in relevance, with their power and influence waning in the face of social media and smart devices. Trinis have witnessed this shift firsthand. However, despite the diminishing significance of these media channels, many Trinis still somehow consider being published or featured in traditional news media a major accomplishment. This article explores the reasons behind this perspective while acknowledging the changing dynamics of news consumption in Trinidad and Tobago.
The Decline of Traditional News Media
Over the past decade, traditional news media outlets have faced significant challenges. The rise of the internet, social media platforms, and smartphones (and devices) have disrupted the traditional gatekeeping role that these media houses once held. The walls of control and power they once possessed have been dismantled, providing people with alternative channels to access news and information. Consequently, the demand for being featured in traditional news media has decreased substantially.
Questioning Reliability and Trustworthiness
Another aspect that has affected the perception of traditional news media is the realization that their choices for featuring individuals or stories may have been influenced by higher powers within the company or external factors. In some instances, biases could have seeped into the selection process, casting doubts on the objectivity and reliability of these outlets. This realization has eroded the faith Trinis once placed in the integrity of traditional news media.
The Evolving Definition of Accomplishment
If being published in the press is no longer seen as a significant accomplishment, then what is? The answer lies in the changing dynamics of how success and influence are measured in today’s digital landscape. Trinis now place greater value on being well-known, easily recognized, and dominant online whether it be on social media platforms, YouTube, or Google, etc. where they can directly engage with their audience. Social media and internet connectivity provide individuals with the opportunity to shape their own narratives, bypassing the traditional gatekeepers of news and becoming the arbiters of their own success.
The Power of the Audience
In the age of social media, the audience has become the driving force behind what is considered important or worth consuming. Trinis no longer rely on media houses to dictate who is relevant or special; instead, they determine whose stories are worth reading and sharing. This shift in power has democratized the media landscape, enabling individuals to have greater control over their own narratives and reach.
Do People Even Read Newspapers Still?
In today’s fast-paced digital age, fewer individuals turn to printed newspapers as their primary source of news. Sales have been steadily decreasing, and the once-thriving print industry is struggling to adapt to the digital era. With the proliferation of online media outlets, the competition for attention has intensified. Trinis seeking exposure through traditional news media now face an uphill battle, as the likelihood of being noticed and gaining widespread attention has significantly diminished. The online landscape offers countless alternatives, making it challenging for individuals to stand out amidst the noise and capture the same level of recognition as in the past.
While traditional news media outlets continue to exist, their influence and significance have diminished in the face of the digital revolution. Trinis, like many others, have adapted to these changes and now perceives being featured in traditional news media as a relic of a bygone era.
The true measure of accomplishment lies in being recognized and dominant on social media platforms, where individuals can connect directly with their audience and have the freedom to shape their own narratives. The power dynamics have shifted, and Trinis now decide who they want to consume news about, breaking free from the constraints of traditional news media gatekeepers.