The existence of newspapers and digital news portals is still needed, despite the massive growth of social media, to provide reliable and precise information, practitioners say.
"There's no regulation in social media, anyone can write what they want to write, while journalists must provide precise and accurate information, and there are regulations binding them, so people will still rely on them for precision," Antara news agency deputy chief editor, Akhmad Kusaeni, said on Thursday.
Social media websites, like Facebook and Twitter, have shown a stunning increase in usage, especially in Indonesia. The number of twitter users in Indonesia alone has reached 19.5 million while Facebook is used by around 43 million users.
With the high level of interaction between users, information spreads so fast that even media companies sometimes can not compare to their speed. However, Akhmad was insistent that information provided through social media should be verified, which could only be done by journalists.
People in the social media, like Twitter, are always talking about new things, Akhmad said. "But they still have to go to newspaper websites for verification," he said.
Site server of digital news portal detik.com once got overloaded when Muslim scholar Zainuddin MZ passed away, Akhmad said, proving how traditional media was still important.
"People in the social media, like Twitter, were already talking about Zainuddin's death when even a digital news portal like detik.com had yet to write the news about it. But nonetheless some still had to go to detik.com, or other digital news sites, to verify the news itself," he said.
Unlike social media people, journalists write history in the making.
"So, traditional journalists are not allowed to make mistakes because it would impact on the writing of history," he said.
Enda Nasution, a blogger and the managing director of SalingSilang.com, a social media website, said social media was a complement to newspapers and digital news portals.
Social media had the power to create pressure groups for campaigns which could be used for initiating news, Enda said. It could also present a small piece of information about certain breaking news, which journalists could then develop later.
"Social media could become the source of news, journalists could complement the efforts of social media people by developing them," Enda said.
Also, he added, there was the possibility of traditional news companies morphing into hybrid media, combining methods from both sources, which had already been performed by several companies. (fzm)