“Residents turned to journalism and its professionals not only as a credible channel to obtain reliable information, but also to be represented. Journalism was – and is being – part of the solution, whether as a means for public authorities to reach citizens and vice versa, or to reach people’s demands.”
I follow journalists and communicators from Rio Grande do Sul on different platforms and I noticed that, with the coverage of the floods in the State (Rio Grande do Sul), some of them multiplied their number of followers and engagement on social media by tens of thousands. They were in the communities covering the impacts of the tragedy and knew how to use the networks well to complement the journalistic work they were doing, showing behind the scenes and other clippings of the events, almost uninterruptedly.
In places affected by the rains, residents turned to journalism and its professionals not only as a credible channel to obtain reliable information, but also to be represented. In videos, I saw countless people approaching the teams to suggest agendas, make appeals to the authorities and to all those who wanted to help, because they were not feeling their needs were heard or were afraid of being overlooked by public authorities.
The press encouraged donations, volunteer work and also helped guide which items were most in demand at different times. Journalism was – and is being – part of the solution, whether as a means for public authorities to reach citizens and vice versa, or to give reach to people's demands.
I also saw empathetic journalism, close to people and, very importantly, without the exaggerations and demagogy of easy exploitation of such vulnerability. And this reaction from the public on the networks reinforces for me that quality journalism is always sovereign and is enhanced by the complementarity between the different platforms. Technological, industrial, cultural and behavioral changes have an impact on how information circulates, but none suggest that we can give up good journalism. When a fact has a high impact on our lives, the video shared by a friend or the loose, decontextualized comments that appear on our timeline are not enough.
I heard several times from Nelson Sirotsky, Publisher of RBS, that journalism grows in great moments and this phrase never loses relevance. Whenever we need credibility, agility and trust, it is the media outlets and press professionals that we rely on. Which for me reinforces the idea that there is no conflict or cannibalization between platforms, on the contrary, there is a huge potential for gains for everyone.
Anik Suzuki is CEO of ANK Reputation and member of the Editorial Board of RBS
Article originally published in Zero Hora on September 23, 2023