World media figures discuss challenges as they gather in Baku

Baku, October 4 (AzerTAc). Media figures representing leading news agencies and international organizations have discussed common challenges and defined further priorities of cooperation as part of the 4th Baku International Humanitarian Forum.
Organized by the Azerbaijan State Telegraph Agency (AzerTAc), Media Transformation in the Digital Age: New Development Trends round table was attended by heads and senior managers of Russian, Austrian, Malaysian, Italian, Vietnamese, Croatian, Serbian, Belarus and Kazakh news agencies as well as international media experts, statesmen and politicians.
“The international humanitarian forum has again brought us together. We have a good opportunity to discuss socio-political developments on a global scale, new trends and challenges, define our priorities, and exchange views and experience,” said AzerTAc Director General Aslan Aslanov, as he made opening remarks at the first panel of the round table entitled The problems of the 21st century journalism in the context of intercultural and intercivilizational dialogue.
Moderator Mikhail Gusman, Secretary General of the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA) and First Deputy Director General of ITAR-TASS, provided an insight into the agenda of the round table.
Speakers at the first panel included Peter Kropsch, former President of the European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA) and CEO of Austrian Press Agency (APA), Yong Soo Heong, General Manager of the Malaysian National News Agency BERNAMA, Stjepan Mesic, former President of Croatia, Gianni Di Giovanni, CEO of Italian AGI Agency, Atila Sertel, President of the Turkish Journalists Federation, Elmira Akhundova, Member of the Parliament of Azerbaijan, Terry McCarthy, President & CEO of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, winner of Emmy, former head of LA's Bureau of Time magazine, and Lamiye Vazirova, Senior Teacher at the Department of New Media and Communication Technologies at Baku Slavic University.
Called The social media boom: new models of development of journalism in information societies, the second panel meeting was moderated by Yong Soo Heong, General Manager of the Malaysian National News Agency BERNAMA.
In his speech, AzerTAc Director General Aslan Aslanov said: “Beginning from the early 21st century, humanity stepped into the era of transformation, new stage of development of completely different relations, social relationships, which are based on reciprocal ties between various sectors of the society in virtually each state. Internet, which has embedded itself into everyday life, has turned every member of society into both a consumer and data medium. It revolutionized the media landscape in a full sense of the word.”
“This social event in the countries presented at today`s forum has both distinctive features and quite a few common ones. It is obvious that not all our countries are at the same level of development, and it affects the media sector too. However, the trend of creating information beyond conventional media structures of the society and its integration into the process of its consumption is similar to a greater or lesser degree.”
“This social event in the countries presented at today`s forum has both distinctive features and quite a few common ones. It is obvious that not all our countries are at the same level of development, and it affects the media sector too. However, the trend of creating information beyond conventional media structures of the society and its integration into the process of its consumption is similar to a greater or lesser degree.
How will the conflict between certified journalists and other members of society including Internet in the traditional media sector end in the light of the growing influence of social journalism on our society? Who will gain an upper hand? Debates on this do not die off. It is impossible to go without humor here: there were those who have recently called this conflict even a “cold war.” Is the situation really on the brink of war and conflict between the two poles is so much antagonistic? I think not. Of course, there are possibly elements of jealousy, However, here we can see more interaction than ineffective competition. Perhaps, you agree that traditional media is more concerned about this issue. They believe that expanding audience of social networks and boom of social media is a source of threat to TV ratings and sale of printed goods. At the same time, they do not imagine themselves, their professional activity without iPads, smartphones and social networks.”
Mr. Aslanov said: “We are advancing on the way of posting a report or a news item on the website of the agencies, followed by its spread in social networks. AzerTAc has its webpage in the social networks. In this context, can we compete with ourselves? The important thing for us is to deliver accurate and prompt information to the society about developments and to minimize unverified information.
Social media and new technologies cannot be virtually separated from the production of multimedia products. Infographics, video and audio materials, statistics tables, geoeconomic maps are important analytical integral parts of multimedia report. We should never forget that unlike information from newspapers and magazines multimedia report has its beginning but does not have an end in the internet base.”
“In other words, the online report does not end with posting a news item on the website since a journalist who works on the issue continues to monitor the events for some time. After presenting information he can complete it in an update format. It encourages the audience to return to this material, brush it up and follow details of the event.”
“Social networks have a serious impact on modern journalism all over the world. They continue to remain not only a source of exclusive information received from newsmakers and witnesses of events but also have a great leverage as a means of forming their audiences. Another aspect of the issue is that each agency does not only consist of staff but also separate journalists. Each of these journalists and reporters must of course observe the common conception of their agency and policy of their employer. In addition, each of them has their individual style. In many cases, an author can be recognized even without signature in his article. For the most part, many staffers have their personal blogs, special sections. For the most part, many employees have their personal blogs, special columns within separate categories on the agencies` websites.
Shaping an individual brand is of great importance for such modern journalists, not only as just the one who is informed about his field but also as a competent specialist. That is why, they need to explore the ways of attracting audience to their account not also as employees of a news agency but also as authors of individual online blogs,” he said.
“There are many such methods. For example, tweeting sensations, use of h-tags, sharing information they consider interesting with reference to the source etc. It is fair to say that majority of employees of media organizations (I do not mean freelancers) already regard online blogging a needless burden but do not realize why they have to do the same sort of work twice. Therefore, they often settle for posting and commenting links on the Facebook. These people often fairly wonder why they need to create individual blogs because they want to be on the scene, take photographs and directly communicate with newsmakers without just compiling and posting tweets of newsmakers in networks. However, future of digital journalism for these authors of internet publications is associated with this format of professional live blogging,” Mr. Aslanov said.
Other speakers at the panel included Nguyen Duc Loi, Director General of the Vietnamese News Agency (VNA), Branka Gabriela Valentic, Director General of the Croatian News Agency (HINA), Branka Slobodan Dukic, Director General of the Serbian News Agency Tanjug, Jamal Nasser Al Suwaider, Executive Director of the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Dmitry Zhuk, Director General of the Belarus Telegraph Agency (BelTA), Takeharu Tsutsumi, President of The Japan Times newspaper, Alexander Peske, Secretary General of the Russia-Switzerland Cooperation Council, and Aynur Bashirli, head of the Department of New Media and Communication Technologies at Baku Slavic University.
The third panel meeting was titled The place and role of the media in covering the humanitarian problems in the age of globalization. It was moderated by Vugar Seyidov, AzerTAc`s Special Correspondent in Germany. This panel saw speeches by Zhanna Golubitskaya, editor at Moskovskiy Komsomolets newspaper, Manuela Sessa, President of the Azerbaijani-Italian Youth Association, Alex Vatanka, Senior fellow at Washington-based Middle East Institute, Eirini Nikolopoulou, President of the European Network of Greek Women Journalists, Georgina Bernath, Chief of the Press Service of Hungarian Jobbik Party, Shamil Valiyev, dean of Journalism Department at Baku State University, Rasim Mahmudov, head of Problems of Internet Studies Division at the Azerbaijani Institute of Information Technologies, Ariel Cohen, Senior Research Fellow in Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Policy at the Heritage Foundation, Peter Marko Tase, International Relations Assistant at Marquette University, Yael Warshel, Assistant Professor at International Institute of the University of California, and Mustafa Seifullah Guluzada Alyar, Director of Iranian Daniz newspaper.
AzerTAc Director General Aslan Aslanov made closing remarks at the round table, which culminated with the adoption of the final Declaration of the forum.