Dr Asangba Tzudir
The flow of information defines our times today. It is also attested by the way in which social media came into our everyday life. There is social media explosion and have ruled our lives. However, the very name and template is such that it is in no way considered as an alternative to print media especially the newspapers. Nonetheless, social media poses various challenges to print media and one among them is readership.
Generally, with the social media explosion, not just the loss in subscription and readership but even the time spent on reading a newspaper surely must have dropped. Social media has somehow become the immediate ‘newsworthy’ channel to disseminate breaking news, that by the time it is published in newspapers, it no more qualifies as breaking news. Though many forms of news shared in social news are confirmed by newspapers it has also made the newspaper redundant.
While the real challenge presented before the newspaper houses in Nagaland is not only to increase circulation but to generate the culture of reading. This is where the real media explosion in Nagaland becomes paramount. But before pressing on where the media needs to explode, it is imperative to revisit the Naga condition that finds shrouded within a crisis of post-modernity.
The crisis has stemmed from a situation where ‘God is killed’ and in the absence of a moral authority, ‘things’ are defined in one’s own terms. There is a shift from people becoming the author from being readers. There is a shift from the collective to the individual; there is a shift from the intellect to the material. There hardly is any ‘care’ for the ‘other’ or for the collectivity.
Cocooned within such an attitude is the fast paced life unlike in the more leisurely past. Today, the time consuming social obligations and engagements; the busy mornings; datelines etc. have made life so busy and fast, that there hardly is any time to engulf seriously in the pleasure activity of reading. And beyond the general banner headlines, unless there is something that concerns an individual or a particular group or section of people, one may not read.
There hardly is any collective engagement on the pressing issues nor is there dialogues that would enable healthy discussion and debates. And comfortably nestled within the confines of being an ‘author’ one rather keeps mastering one’s own narrow perspective defined in one’s own terms as the author.
While it is a very difficult proposition to completely or even partially unshackle the Naga condition, Newspapers have to create an explosion to redraw the people towards serious reading, to create a shift from author to reader first. There is a need for broadening the perspectives in order to inculcate a feeling of belongingness within the larger communitarian framework.
Within this framework, the real media explosion should begin by creating greater awareness and focusing on the worthiness of news and information about the ‘other’ but very much ‘us’. This can begin by giving greater emphasis on ‘localization’ and thereby give proper representation. This is one area which needs to be fully exploited in order to generate readership, so also to connect the people spiritually within a communitarian well-being. For now it is largely hampered by challenges of capital and human resources, and more so, transport and communication.
Along with the post-modern crisis, Nagaland continues to stay disconnected, and the ‘I’ and the ‘other’ dichotomy exists. A collectively shared feeling does not emerge, and the problems and sufferings of the other remains misunderstood or not known at all, often ignored or not taken seriously thereby destabilizing the communitarian principles underlying the larger good of the community.
(Dr Asangba Tzudir contributes a weekly guest editorial to The Morung Express. Comments can be emailed to [email protected])