Have you got a passion for writing and “trashing” the cyber world with your words? Keep at it, and you may become a great asset for the future of media.
The revolution brought on by Internet technology has put youth accidentally in direct contact with the world of journalism, Zulfiani Lubis said recently. He is head of the education, training and professional development commission at the Indonesian Press Council.
“Through blogging or writing on social networking sites, these young people express their opinions and feelings about things. They have already gathered, owned, managed and spread information just as journalists do,” she said.
“The difference is that they’re notbound by the code of ethics in journalism.”
One junior high school student has been blogging since she was in elementary school, Sekar Maya Padmaniasti Nakula.
She said through blogging she could pour out her feelings and share her views with other people.
“Now I’m writing movie reviews on on my blog. I’m hoping it will one day be a travel diary too,” said Sekar, who is a published author of two novels for children.
These days she has fallen off her daily update schedule, she told youthspeak, because she has been busy enrolling in high school.
“But when I have time, I always try to post my writings. To keep writing is the only way to improve my writing skill,” she said.
Her touring of other blogs also helps her improve her writing and satisfies her interest in design.
“I like to see how other people design their blogs … it sometimes gives me ideas to upgrade my own design.
Learning about design is fun but it can be quite confusing too,” she said.
Zulfiani said that teenagers who have been involved in blogs were actually creative people. They are brave enough to put their ideas out there, ideas about their interests or about ordinary things happening today.
“That is such an asset, they will have a greater chance to shine when they jump into the traditional media someday,” she said.
New technology now enables people to spread information within seconds, sometimes even faster than people who make news can broadcast it through television or newspapers.
Zulfiani calls it citizen journalism. In Indonesia, she said that out of 35 million unique users and 45 million Internet users overall in Indonesia, 70 percent of them were between 13 and 35 years old.
The huge number of Internet users and people who blog regularly could be a sign that people are not finding what they are looking for through conventional media – newspapers and television, Zulfiani said.
“What’s wonderful is that when such hot topics emerge and become trendy, conventional media try to adopt the idea. Some are even covering events that bloggers are organizing or getting information from emails and online groups,” she said.
She also said the combination of citizen journalism and professional journalism would result in better journalism, a more complete and stronger product.
Then what is journalism? What is the role of journalism in our changing society?
Referring to Bill Kovach’s book, The Elements of Journalism, Zulfiani said, journalism conveys information to people so they can make informed decisions.
“That has very deep meaning for me because the information conveyed to the public will have positive or negative effects on people’s lives,” she said. On a smaller scale, many schools support a media club where budding members of the student press can channel their interests in journalism.
Garda Widhi Nugraha from SMA 8 in South Jakarta said he joined Media Siswa (Media for Students), or Mesis, so he could practice his photographic skills and get to know a little about journalism.
Garda said he usually took photos of school events and put them in the school magazine or bulletin board. Many made it into the school’s yearbook.
Although being a photojournalist is not yet on his list of preferred future jobs, the experience of becoming a photographer for school publications gave him valuable lessons.
“I love science and I think that will be my choice of study when I finish high school. But that’s the hard skill. I sharpen my soft skill through photography, here in Mesis,” he said.
ys/Novia D. Rulistia