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Challenges to Mass Media Posed by Convergence in the Indonesian Context

Indrati I*, Fiati R, La Mani and Muhammad Aras

Department of Communication, Binus Graduate Program, Universitas Bina Nusantara, Jakarta, Indonesia

*Corresponding Author:
Indrati I
Master in Communication
Binus Graduate Program, Universitas Bina Nusantara
Jakarta, Jl. Kebon Jeruk Raya No. 27
Jakarta Barat, 11530, Indonesia.
Tel: +6281367002282
E-mail: pecalangbali@yahoo.com

Received Date: June 04, 2018; Accepted Date: June 09, 2018; Published Date: June 20, 2018

Citation: Indrati I, Fiati R, Mani L, Aras M. Challenges to Mass Media Posed by Convergence in the Indonesian Context. Global Media Journal 2018, 16:31.

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Abstract

Convergence, which may be induced by media businesspeople, is a model of a business process in the attempt to answer today’s challenges faced by the media industry. This research was aimed to figure out the work mechanism in a newsroom, the improvement of convergence journalists’ competences, and the efforts to deal with obstacles to be encountered during the application of the media convergence system. This research employed a qualitative approach in the form of action research to find out any challenges to mass media industry posed by media convergence in the Indonesian context. Data were collected in two manners, namely in-depth interview and direct observation. The research method used was case study method. To reinforce the data validity, triangulation technique was used on data sources. The researchers investigated the challenges encountered by the media industry in the era of convergence. The research subjects who acted as key informants were news journalists and producers as well as convergence team that was established and trained for the convergence system at Metro TV. From the research, the work mechanism in the newsroom applying the convergence system and having training programs to improve and prepare journalists to become convergence or one-stop shopping journalists were identified. In the implementation, some setbacks were found in the journalists’ preparation to apply the converged newsroom system Super desk.

Keywords

Mass media industry; Media convergence; Indonesian media

Introduction

Information technology and gadget advances have left impacts on virtually all industries, including the print, electronic, and television media industries. These advances require that the media industry should adapt itself in order to maintain its relevance to changes in users’ habits, and ultimately to maintain their business continuity. Media Group as a leading media company in Indonesia acknowledges this fact and is prepared to transform into new media. This term refers to media that have a control over convergence-multimedia, multiplatform, and multichannel in nature-to reach the audience.

Humans’ need for information in the contemporary world leads to the emergence of a new life out of shared thoughts and need arising from humans’ behaviours in real-life communications. To fulfil their information need, humans will need sophisticated technologies, which allow for information exchange, enable online learning, and facilitate work completion.

Technological advances and media morphosis lead to media convergence, in which all media functions are combined in one device. Convergence, according to Jenkins in Pryambodo, is a word describing technological, industrial, cultural, and social changes brought together from previously discrete industries (computing, print, film, audio, and the like), which increasingly make use of same or related technologies and skilled workers. In other words, media convergence can be used as an indicator of a change in communication elements-media, culture, audience, technology, and industry. The convergence undergone by the media industry is expected to enable the industry to transform and combine multiple platforms within ownership using the technology.

When the world turns cosmopolitan, technological globalization is inevitable. One of the requirements for globalization is that information should be accessible in an instant by all communities. Accordingly, the existing media industry must be able to meet the requirement. An effort that should be made by a media industry is making some adjustment to the on-going technological advancement. For this reason, in this era of convergence, the use of information technologies continues to be widespread. Convergence must be implemented by the media industry to keep up with the on-going technological development. This is in line with Santana’s statement that media convergence refers to the development of a form of new media taking place ever since its invention. A new media tend to be an extension or evolution of preceding models. Santana also stated that the essence of a change does not lie in the substance but in the modes of production and device. The technologies applied in the media industry use computerized devices and telecommunication remains developing. Angela stated that communication technologies have entered and been an integral part of man’s everyday life.

The community’s rapid use of social media today has urged entrepreneurs to transform their businesses into digital media platforms to accelerate and facilitate publications. These social networking media answer clients’ demand in the intensifying business competition. Information rate and change with technological sophistication is greatly needed by business players to adapt and make changes following the development to meet the community’s wish.

Conventional media (e.g., newspapers, magazines, and tabloids) in Indonesia first transformed into new media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Path, Line, websites, and blogs with the involvement of citizen journalism. These new media make it easy for the public to stay abreast through their gadgets or mobile phones, with which all home and overseas news can be accessed.

Denis McQuail in his book Mass Communication Theory called new media telematic media, which are distinct electronic technological devices for differing uses. These new electronic media included technological system, transmission system (through wire and satellite), miniaturization system, and information storage and search system.

New media promise easiness and speed to gain information in a practical and efficient way. There is a notion that conventional media will die out, but research company Nilsen Indonesia believed that conventional media such as radio, television, and print media will survive despite digital era’s non-stop development. However, the platforms will transform into wireless (social media) platforms.

According to Lisa Gitelman and Geoffrey B. Pingree, new media are all media previously called “new media” as well as emergency media that are regarded as media with potentials and risks. On the other hand, Lievrouw and S. Livingstone defined new media as a way in which information and communications technologies are combined with social context and brought together with three elements, namely communications devices and artefacts; activity, practice, and usage; and social organizations established around the devices and practice.

In the midst of invasion of rapidly developing communication media in conjunction with supporting technologies, fascinating communication nuances emerge one by one. The integration of broadcast, print, and online media in one digital presentation channel is what we call media convergence.

In the face of technological innovations, a new media study is born as one of the branches of communications theories. This is consistent with the statement of the inventor of the term “Media”, Marshall McLuhan, in his book Electronic Revolution “Electronic Effects of New Media” that substantial changes in media are the result of electronic revolution in 1950 in the United States. According to McLuhan, this revolution results in wall-less classrooms as telecommunications and television media bring about a sustainable information structure for electronic community. This media convergence phenomenon forced conventional media to expand and slip into the internet network to maintain or expand their business. As conventional media develop into digital media, convergence journalism is formed involving a collaboration of print, television, and portal media journalists to generate the best possible news with various presentation systems. Dailey, Demo, and Spillman introduced convergence continuum model that has five stages in its process, namely:

Cross-promotion: a collaboration of two media to provide a space for introducing media content to each other

Cloning: when media content are multiplied to be posted on different media. This means that a medium shows news content from another news medium as they are without any alteration

Competition: A stage in which the media entities to which convergence is applied cooperate and compete with each other at the same time

Content Sharing: A stage in which two different media share content in the repackaged form, including budgeting sharing The media convergence in this stage is predominantly performed by some media under one ownership

Full Convergence: A stage, in which different media fully collaborate, be it in the content collection, production, or distribution, and which aims to maximize unique characteristics of each medium in delivering content. In the full convergence stage, different media collaborate to generate content and topics by leveraging the strength of each media platform. Full convergence is rarely found in various media groups.

Media convergence provides the audience with wider range of media options and content. Not only is it related to production and consumption, media convergence also serves as an indicator of change of various communication elements, namely media, culture, audience, technology, and industry.

Media convergence becomes a widely-discussed phenomenon among many. There are questions about the content, credibility, and information processing of the up-to-date information. The occurrence of this convergence phenomenon translates into new problems. In media convergence, community members are expected to serve as actors who take part in the development of this industry. In other words, in this media convergence, they also act as producers.

This media convergence phenomenon has no limits, providing freedom for the community to access what they desire, anytime and anywhere. The community may become information providers (news makers) or citizen journalists enlivening the media convergence domain. The open public space in media convergence gives birth to improved and creative citizen journalism innovations.

This technological development marked with digitization of all forms of analogue media urges media industry managers to make technological innovations to enable the business to survive. Varying new media emerge as alternative means to gain information. Burnett and Marshall described that media convergence refers to the incorporation of media, telecommunications industry, and all forms of communications media into a digital form. They stated that media convergence is closely related to digitization process.

Recent information technologies have managed to combine massive conventional telecommunications technologies and interactive computer technologies. The emerging internet has made it easy to obtain information, faster than other media such as television, radio, and print media. McLuhan [1] said that those who panic over the threats of new media and electronic revolution are unaware of the advantage of print media invented by Johannes Guttenberg. McLuhan reaffirmed that reading skill is a substantially potential blessing, which he called as his power to act without reaction or involvement, enabling him to analyse an issue without emotional involvement. Both books mention that the shift of technologies from mechanical to electronic will lead to shift of technological function as an extension of human body in a space toward extension of neural system. With regard to communications development, humans create their own communications technologies.

Jenkins [2] defined media convergence as a content flow on some media platforms, collaboration between an industry and media, and media migration activity. This phenomenon occurs as a result of digital technology and new media emergence.

By the 1990s, Indonesia became a country with fairly considerable market share for publishing, information, technology, and telecommunications products and services. It was an era in which digital technology convergence was introduced. Digital technology convergence which is the root of information technology development enjoying increasing popularity among businesspeople in the conduct of their companies’ operations aims to merge modern work techniques and integrated systems. Systems integration or convergence has left a significant effect on the evolution of media’s information technology, which involves different communication players (communicant, communicator, and audience).

In this digital era, there has been a question among media businesspeople whether all mass media channels—print, broadcast, and online—will merge into one digital presentation: media convergence system in a news central room that is capable of collaborating and integrating the abilities of many journalists with the use of newsroom digitization.

This digital media convergence will cause journalism professionals to mingle and join forces and cause media or technologies with differing characteristics in television, online, and print journalism to integrate as a unity. With this integrated system, journalists working in one newsroom will be able to present real-time information in an instant in accordance with the real conditions. The key of convergence is digitization as all forms of information or data are converted from analogue to digital format. Hence, information is transmitted in bit and in a digital format. Convergence moves towards the creation of applicative products that can run audio-visual and computing functions simultaneously.

In the digital era, computer can function as a television set, while mobile phone can receive audio, text, data, or three dimensional pictures (3G). Media convergence movement specifically grows out of Internet and information digitization. This media convergence combines 3Cs, namely computing (inputting data to computer), communication, and content. This was described by Jenkins [2].

News packaging with photographs, videos, and graphics also constitutes a convergence strategy in this dimension. Multimedia news packaging will enrich the information presented and provide the public with options to choose in accordance with their preferences. Convergence creates a new opportunity for journalists to package news complete with photographs, videos, audio, and graphics [3].

New communication mechanisms marked with the use of multiple media combining text, audio, picture, and graphic that can be accessed all at once in a set of media have encouraged changes in different communication industry activities. Media convergence does not only denote a shift in technology but also a shift in the industrial, cultural, and social paradigm driving consumers to find new information.

This media convergence change has a great impact on the lives of many, especially in the communications and business sectors. Therefore, forecast or prediction is necessary to anticipate implications of these change and development, be it from the industry, community, or government. The competition in the media industry between different media has been fiercer, which requires them to make use of any opportunity through print, electronic, or online means. It is a must for the management to observe, innovate, and develop the media to keep up with the technological advances and demand of the market audience.

In the world of media, convergence is unavoidable. Technological and communications advances can no longer offset the emergence of new trends in the mass media industry. As a result, many big media companies in Indonesia combine their media platforms through the media convergence system. Starting from the same logical thoughts, historically, media companies establish ownership chain of newspapers as well as radio and television radio station networks having a profitable synergy.

In terms of technology, creative content is converted into industry-standard digital form to be delivered via a broadband and wireless connection and displayed on computers, mobile phones and digital video recorder (DVR) connected to television.

However, in terms of industry, the companies that have surpassed the business spectrum join forces and establish strategically alliances to develop new business models that can benefit from growing consumer expectations of on-demand media content.

Even in the lens of education, media convergence has brought considerable changes to instructional system at schools or in the academic world. Students now can make use of digital media as learning and teaching facilities by accessing them in the form of e-books.

In terms of economy, convergence boosts company and business efficiency. People’s reliance on the internet in the trading systems has also grown stronger. By transforming in the internet network, a company can push down expenses by 60–80% (Grant, 2009). For this reason, by adapting this transformation pattern, the companies in Indonesia are expected to be able to survive the global competition; otherwise they will be left behind by their competitors who are more cutting-edge in business methods and better in efficiency. The forecasting method called scenario analysis is conducted using optimistic scenario, pessimistic scenario, and most-likely scenario. This method enables policy makers to, either financially or socially, manages the risks occurring in the future.

In terms of social aspect, media convergence may alter the society interaction and relationship pattern socially. In the modern era, the audience fancy digital access. Hence, gadgets seem to be inseparable from the society’s lives and seem to have become a new primary need.

The organizational structuring of media in this era of convergence uses the sociotechnical perspective approach that underlies the structure of the synthesis or combination of two fundamental components, namely technical capacity and human resources capacity. This approach is a paradigm of machine update that is statrsi and autocratic in nature. This paradigm changes our mindsets about an effective and efficient organizational structure arrangement in the digitization era. In terms of management, this convergence system can streamline the organizational structure bulging at the middle and upper lines. This may increase the efficiency of the company’s expenses for the facilities provided by the company at the top management level.

The birth of the convergence era and new media application will bring about a powerful change in the society’s communications patterns and behaviours in the context of individual, sociocultural, economic and business, and political lives. To enter a new stage of convergence and new media application for the purpose of allowing a considerable space for the public to obtain information, the national communications policies and regulations should be reviewed.

The main aim of this research was to figure out the effect of media convergence applied by the media industry in order to present information through technological innovations; this referred to the efficiency and effectiveness of media through convergence. Additionally, the converged media industry’s management must take account of journalists’ skills in order for them to be able to multitask in the information search, news processing, and information presentation to the audience in an instanteous and easy-to-understand manner as necessary.

There has been a tendency of increase in the number of digital device users. The X, Y, and Z generations of various professional backgrounds, who live in major cities or rural areas, are fond of social media and online media. This is to the point that television viewers now watch videos via their smartphones and computers/ laptops. The technological conversion of conventional media into new media has been performed by the media industry in developed and rapidly developing countries. Nevertheless, they maintain print media for the purpose of improving human intelligence.

With the background explained above, the following research questions were formulated:

(1) How to establish a work mechanism in a converged newsroom?

(2) What to do to prepare and improve the competences of modern journalists (convergence journalists)?

(3) What are the efforts to make to overcome the obstacles faced when multimedia journalists apply a media convergence system that integrates three platforms to produce news?

Literature Review

Digital revolution has changed how mass media deliver information to the audience and encouraged technological revolution that gives birth to numerous other changes, marked with diversified devices for reading, listening, and watching news via mobile phones and tablets with the use of internet connection. This has caused the print media industry in the nation to face insecurities given that the community start to jump to online media.

Nonetheless, online media are also faced with countless setbacks due to current unstoppable social media use. The rapid development of digital media in Indonesia has developed the potential of this nation to be a lair of digitization creativity. Undoubtedly, the information spread via the internet has become journalists’ principal commodity. The need of not only the audience but also mass media and journalists to spread news in as little time as possible can serve as the main factor of internet use in the world of journalism. Globalization and modernization affect journalists’ performance. This poses unique challenges to mass media activists in publishing information and news they have generated [4].

In the era of new media technology, virtuality is used as a marker of developed societal culture simulated technologically and considered as an alternative reality. In the digital media process, all incoming data are converted into figures. However, media data are communicated and represented in the form of quality such as representation of light, audio, written text, graphics, charts, photographs, recording, animated picture, and others, which is translated and received by the display screen via a telecommunications network.

On the other hand, technological advances have put today’s mass media industries under the influence of political and economic systems. Changes in the political and economic situations have an impact on the dynamics of media industries in Indonesia. The ownership of media favouring certain political colour “colour media” causes loss of information diversity tainted with political group interest. This has brought down the objectivity of the information or news delivered to the public as it is under the control of particular interest groups. As the result, the public are disadvantaged by the partisan television shows likely to be regarded as non-educative as they are subjective in the news reporting.

The rampant growth of community media illustrates how media have failed to handle the community’s various social needs. The media used as political vehicles today are also used as powerful business tools. In reality, media industries in Indonesia are owned by conglomerates doubling as politicians. Thus, politics and business are tangibly married up in media. In actuality, media industry owners are profit-oriented in conducting their business.

In regard to media ownership, the government have enacted regulations on media which are currently under amendment and that reflect the political life in Indonesia. There have been new specific rules that control media concentration. Law of Broadcasting No. 32/2002 Article 18 specified that crossownership of radio, television, and print media institutions must be limited, but it is not clear how the limitation is applied whether by force or by limiting ownership.

In Indonesia, media have been developing since the Reform Era in 1998. Its significant development was marked with the affirmation of freedom of the press in the constitution (the 1945 Constitution of Indonesia) and Law of the Press and the strengthening economic liberalization. Freedom and liberalization of media allow flexibility in media ownership of financiers, which can be used as a highly profitable business strategy.

Business Capital

Business is a process of transaction of either products or services with consumers in order to gain profits. Business performance is influenced by environmental and change factor as well as business model. Environment is deemed as a company’s first access to profits gain. A company is considered successful if it is able to identify its consumers’ need.

The problem frequently encountered by businesspeople is their inability to face market competition as they only focus on the environmental and change factor. Some companies time and again copy other companies’ business models without any adaptation. However, every business has its own typical or unique characteristics, thus it requires specific business model. A company will be able to compete if it takes the process of business model design into account. A business model constitutes a thought of how an organization creates, provides, and captures values, including economic and social values as well as other forms of values. The terms business model is also used for a wider scope in both formal and informal contexts to explain the core aspects of a business. To put it simply, it is how a company gain money, and that is the point that should be considered.

According to Peter [5], a reliable business model must be able to answer crucial answers such as “Who are this company’s costumers?”, “How important are costumers for the company?”, “How the management gain profits for the company?” or “What underlies the management’s decision of when and how added value is given to customers?”.

Conducting business is not merely selling products to the market and waiting for the consumers’ response to the products. Conducting business should be accompanied by process of planning various supporting factors.

Business competition, including the competition in the media industry in Indonesia, is real. Therefore, media business must change its models to find sources of income other than media owners. The problem of the shutting down of print media is not only due to print media’s failure to compete against digital media. The shutting down may happen even faster due to the lack of change in business models. Old media business models still show that customers and advertisers are those who have dependence on printed media. Hence, this relationship must be changed into community interaction. Customers, advertisers, print media companies, and other relevant parties can benefit each other better by establishing relationships beyond the customer-publisher and advertiser-publisher relationships.

New business models that cover the pattern of relationship of broadcasting businesspeople, structural design of broadcasting business, and organizational mechanism should be reviewed thoroughly. The business models of digital television industry will increase radically in different forms. In other words, digital television broadcasting system will be utterly different from analogue broadcasting model. These new business models will involve many new players. Meanwhile, digital broadcasting will have impacts on the political, economic, social, and even cultural aspects.

Similar to the business models of the media industry, broadcasting regulations also experience some amendments with the increase of broadcasting business capacity. The Government has decided to adopt digital broadcasting technology in place of analogue television technology as it has become global demand.

The transformation of analogue broadcasting system into digital broadcasting system is not simple as written by Reza and Skuby [6], who stated that “The shift to digital broadcasting is not simple, however, as it introduces a range of interrelated political, economic and technical challenges.” This business model change also leads to change in the existing broadcasting regulations. Furthermore, Tadayoni and Skuby said that technological innovations such as digitization, audio and video coding technology, broadband infrastructure and computing, and wire and satellite networks will enable service provision across sectorial borders. This makes political challenges, new regulations, reconstructing thoughts, and replanning the existing regulation frameworks for communications a need.

As information technologies’ sophistication increases, some media industries that were formerly only print-based start to expand their business to digital versions. This format change is triggered by the multimedia trend made by communication technologies and the presence of the Internet. To answer the media industry challenges, media businesspeople from the conglomerate group start to use media convergence business model.

Media convergence departs from print newspaper model in collaboration with online version. This collaboration between print newspaper and online media is then integrated with radio and television in the convergence line-up. Convergence model is built in a multiplatform, multichannel, and multimedia fashion, which allows print media, radio, television, online media, and mobile application to converge together.

Eventually, media convergence becomes a strategically option that must be taken by media companies in Indonesia if they are to expand their markets in the future. There are two important reasons for this:

(1) Inevitability of telecommunication technologies and devices that are present before our eyes; and

(2) ever-changing audience culture.

Increasingly noticeable convergence business model squirm today is a result of integration of new and traditional industries. The first ever industrial convergence in the media industry that successfully collaborates the technological, broadcasting, and publishing sectors in one industrial sector is mainly digital technology-based.

Along with the media industry development, the media convergence driven by rapidly evolving technologies increases regulation flexibility and profit target. This convergence in the media industry continues to flourish with the support of profit maximization, regulation flexibility, and technological innovations. This technological innovation forms mass communication industry and creates a wider economic scope, which in turn, enables a business model that benefits the media industry and even stimulates integrated development of media business as an industry.

Media Business Industry Process

Business process is a collection of interrelated works for solving a given problem. A business process can be broken down into a number of sub processes, each of which have its own attributes and contribute to the goal achievement of the super process. Business process analysis involves mapping of process and sub process that help increase activities.

Business process modelling becomes part of work division in a company useful for facilitating the description of business goal achievement steps. Paul Harmon in his book “Business Process Change” defined business process as a set of activities conducted by a business, including input imitation, information transformation, and output.

Current mass media industry development has reached the stage of communications and information technological digitization. Digital technology is changing our future, the lives of us all. Automation, Big Data, IoT (Internet of Thing), artificial intelligence, and new business model ‘sharing economy’.

Unlike previous eras, the era of innovation (innovation disruption) currently on-going in Indonesia is marked with numerous innovations, technologies, platforms, and new business models. The Government, businesspeople, and community are expected to respond to it positively to survive and evolve. The increasingly complex market and business competitions present companies with fresh challenges.

The most compelling challenge faced by the media industries is how media deal with changes towards digital communication and information technologies. According to a professor of the Faculty of Economics and Business of Universitas Indonesia [6], adapting to every on-going development is an effective way to deal with any dynamics of innovations and technologies. According to him, two principle elements that must be able to give instantaneous response to this development are the government and businesspeople. Rhenald also suggested that businesspeople should improve their management techniques and make innovations by synchronizing human resources they have. In addition to business process and value, the most crucial challenges are managing the existing human resources to enable them to support the company’s growth and journalistic methods in upholding information principles as the advantage of mass media industry process. Able to frame information as a product consumed by the public and to hold down levels of misinterpretation or misinformation of news reporting.

Media convergence is a manifestation of mass media development that involves numerous technological factors and applies unification of work mechanisms of online media, e-paper, e-books, radio streaming, social media, and other media. According to Fidler [7], media convergence is supported by economic, political, and social forces that play a significant role in the creation of new technologies. In this case, discoveries and innovations are not widely adopted due to the technological limit per se. Opportunities as well as economic, social, and political reasons encourage the development of new technologies.

Print media may shift towards convergence by adopting the convergence type brought forward by Grant. Journalistic convergence requires a change in media’s way of thinking about news and coverage to allow for presentation of information to the audience. In practice, today’s convergence is limited to how news are delivered via different platforms such as print, broadcast, and online media.

According to Grant, journalistic convergence recognizes three models, namely:

(1) Newsroom convergence. In this convergence, journalists of different platforms unite themselves in one newsroom. They work on tasks consistent with the media platforms they are responsible for;

(2) Newsgathering convergence. In implementing this model, a journalist is expected to increase his or her multitasking skill through special training. He or she is also expected to be able to perform works normally done in other platforms in one group;

(3) Content convergence. News is presented in multiple media consisting of a combination of texts, pictures, audio, videos, blogs, podcasts or slide shows.

The conversion of conventional journalism into modern journalism is called mediamorphosis. According to Severin and Tankard [8], mediamorphosis is a change of communications media form caused by complex interactions of principle necessities, competitive and political pressures, and social and technological innovations. Although convergence is still in its early stage of development to date, we can have a glimpse of the future through innovative websites.

In terms of journalism, convergence enables media to expand their reach by providing new cyber newsrooms or online media. This media organization distributes content from TV, radio, and print media to online media. The organization provides reading room, commentaries, blogs, hyperlinks, vlogs and many more for interaction to improve its capacity.

Joseph and LaRose [9] used the term “communications media” for describing media convergence. The essence of convergence is digitization, in which any types and forms of information or data are converted from analogue into digital formats, thus the data are transmitted in bit (binary digit). Convergence seems to have enabled the creation of products with audio-visual and computing functions in line with the community’s need. As the media develop, there is less tolerance to any delay in information transmission. Thus, speedy technologies are important for the provision of services and facilitating circulation of information in the form of voice, text, video, picture, and sound.

Media Industry Convergence

Current development of information technologies has reached an extent to which the nature of conventional technologies that are massive and the nature of computer technologies that are interactive can be combined. This is called convergence. Today’s media convergence enables mass media professionals to deliver news as well as present information and entertainment on multiple media platforms. Hence, media workers should be more creative in providing the audience with content.

This condition is a great opportunity for creative and media industry players. Media, telecommunications, and technology companies work together and establish a strategically alliance to develop new business models that allow them derive profits from on-demand media content consumers. The very same opportunity, according to Gun Gun Siswandi, may also be grasped by developers of creative content converted into digital format that meets the standards of broadcasting industries using computer and mobile devices.

If we take a closer look, major media recently tend to collaborate and cooperate with fellow major media. This collaborative relationship is formed to benefit each other and to survive in the midst of modern media digitization flow. Not only does convergence establish collaboration, it also is involved in coordination within media organizations. Convergence is applied to facilitate shared reporting to audience and improve news capability and quality. The ever-evolving media industry convergence process is supported by profit maximization, regulation flexibility, and technological innovations, with profit maximization being its main foundation.

In other words, convergence is a business model breakthrough that benefits the media industry through technological innovations that expedite the establishment of the mass communications industry, which creates a wider economic scope. Technological innovations in the media industry convergence has increased consumers’ demand on technological products and changed the patterns of the community’s older media products consumption and media production changes. This is what encourages recent need for media products and provides greater opportunities for media industry convergence.

Media convergence increased a media organization’s effectiveness and efficiency as it requires fewer staff members and cuts down company expenses. In terms of content production and distribution, convergence may involve different media industries supporting the content ideas. In terms of ownership, convergence allows for double ownerships of multiplatform media by each source media industry. However, sole ownership is also possible provided that the media industry has three kinds of multiplatform media.

Research Methods

This research used a qualitative approach in the form of words, sentences, and pictures. Creswell in his book “Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design” stated that qualitative inquiry is a scientific inquiry process mainly intended to comprehend human problems in the social context in order to make a holistic and complex picture, which presents and reports detailed view of information sources, and is made in natural settings without any intervention from the researcher. The research conducted was a case study. In his book “Case Study Research: Design and Methods”, Creswell said that case study is used as a comprehensive explanation relating to different aspects of an individual, a group, an organization, a program, or a social situation that is studied, sought, and reviewed in depth. A case study pertains detailed research of an individual or a social unit within a given span of time. A case study, according to Yin, is an empirical inquiry that investigates a phenomenon in the real life context if the line between the phenomenon and the context is not clear and where multiple sources of evidences are used.

Research types differ based on the objectives and objects. This research was descriptive action research aimed to figure out the challenges faced by the mass media industry through media convergence in the Indonesian context. The research object investigated was the challenges faced by the media industry in the era of convergence. The research subjects serving as key informants consisted of editors-in-chief or vice editors-in-chief, news gathering managers, and news production managers from multiplatform media in Media Group. To find out the results, interviews and open questionnaires distribution were carried out. The data analysis techniques employed in this research included:

1] Data reduction, including the processes of selection, centralization, attention, simplification, abstraction, and transformation of rough data obtained from field notes to provide clearer picture of observation, interview, and documentation results;

2] Data display, which refers to the organization of information to enable conclusion drawing, action taking, and verification based on the data processed in the data reduction and data display.

Data collection was conducted in two ways, namely in-depth interview and direct observation. To assure data validity, data source triangulation was used as a data validity examination technique. The data source triangulation was used in this research according to Creswell by comparing the results of interviews with each source or informant to check the truth of the information obtained.

Research Results

In its development, the media industry is faced with manifold challenges due to the fleet technological shift. Thus, the media industry is compelled to be able to accommodate the said development; otherwise they will certainly be left behind. In response to this phenomenon, media businesspeople make a change to their business model by applying convergence business model. In the broadcasting industries, the convergence applied by these media businesspeople has allowed the provision of broadcasting content in the digital format or mobile applications such as e-paper and online streaming. In other words, convergence also provides the consumers with an opportunity to create and distribute content.

Metro TV has a big organizational structure, which reduced the efficiency of its management. The readiness of Metro TV, MI, and MetroTVnews.com to head towards media convergence is evident in some ways, including the fact that the technological infrastructure provided is sufficient and human resources are available. However, to date, the transformation towards convergence has not maximum and completely comprehensive. In the near future in 2018, work systems in the newsroom are applied thoroughly using multiple platforms that provide a synergy to spur information delivery to the community.

Information technology is developing apace and has a significant effect on the media industry. The digital era is a new era for the media industry, in which they should improve themselves and follow new media trends, and subsequently adapt their business models into convergence model. For this very reason, Media Group with its three multiplatform media (Media Indonesia, Medkom, and Metro TV) had long applied convergence system. Given the complexity of convergence, mass multimedia convergence, which is a simplified output-oriented editorial system, can be used by the three multiplatform media synergized in the super desk newsroom. With the integration of newsroom and convergence business, the performance can be increased. This is aimed to answer the challenges posed in the intensifying mass media industry competition, in which all businesses have been conducted electrically, which urges media to convert its platform into digital form.

Given the business competition, a converged business model must be backed up with management. Otherwise failure in running this system may occur. Therefore, the owner should be firm as convergence will improve the efficiency of the organization’s organizational structure. Although this system needs new investment in technology, this should be done consistent with the pattern of the audience who use mobile devices in the digital era. Creativity in news presentation and program as well as interesting shows are imperative in order to attract the digital generation to watch news report. Given that the millennial heavily rely on smartphones to do their daily activities, it is advice able that media businesspeople present news programs on YouTube or social media, which will increase viewership and number of followers.

Media Group that owns a media business applies convergence not only for maintaining its business presence but also for gaining profits in the midst of sluggish media business that is stagnant and even receding at the moment. Media businesspeople have applied the convergence system in their respective business unit to maintain their business and gain profits. Convergence as a business model can suppress operational costs while the company’s revenue tends to remain stagnant and even decline. Not only does it improve the expense efficiency, convergence can also create slimmer management functional structure. Thus, operational cost can be diverted to technological improvement and benefit payment as a form of appreciation for journalists who have multitasked.

Multitasking that is performed to meet the need for information on multiple platforms in the era of media convergence is absolute and unavoidable for media workers. For media companies, however, multitasking invites profits as it enables journalists to supply information for various platforms more optimally. Convergence allows journalists to work on a number of platforms, and given the cost efficiency, it becomes important. In the perspective of the journalists, this is considered as important as it increases their income through the incentives they receive as an extra benefit for their multiple skills.

To meet the need for information on different platforms, there is no choice for the media industry along with their journalists other than making some changes in the working methods. These changes may include improving the accuracy and depth of the writing, improving the picture tacking skills (photographs and videos), improving picture transfer speed, and improving the news producing ability. These changes make up professional demand for modern, digital journalists. In this era of convergence, media may work on different platforms. The news written by journalists now are not only posted on one media but also posted on some media of different platforms. Multitasking is a challenge for backpack journalists that require journalists’ ability to not only straight but also analyse analytic data from solid and reliable sources and produce news.

On the other side, in terms of storage data of paramount events, now practically all television broadcast media use their technologies to store their file in big data archive. The big data owned by Media Group (Media Indonesia, Metro TV, and website Metrotvnews-medkom) are very useful for company documentation and can be utilized. The big data integrated from three multiplatforms are very useful for documentation and can be utilized by the company as the data in the form of visual data, text, and photographs can improve the news and add weight to the news reporting. Big data is a critical asset for Media Group because after convergence, all documents will be integrated. This will make it easier to use, and even to monetize, the data. Big data can be an asset to do fast and comprehensive convergence. Analytic data and gadget technologies supported with the best network connection are instrumental for collating data, starting from the field data, more easily and enabling readers to obtain information completely and quickly. Morally, media are also responsible for the power of intellectuality development of an event.

Ever since applying media convergence, Media Group has been optimistic in the media industry competition for profits. Convergence business model can be implemented with the commitment from all lines of the company. The results of the research according to the data obtained from the informants, to respond to new media development,

(1) The work mechanism in the newsroom should use convergence system,

(2) Training should be provided to improve the competence of journalists and prepare them to be modern journalists,

(3) Journalists’ difficulties should be overcome with the implementation of the convergence system in the newsroom.

Work Mechanism in the Converged Newsroom

Media convergence can be applied with the company’s commitment, adaptation of integrated systems in the newsroom, preparation of human resources for multitasking, and preparation of sufficient infrastructure. Preparation should also be carried out for the technological system, human resources, management system, work pattern, and key performance indicators to measure the journalists’ development in terms of skills, knowledge, and behaviours. This will definitely require support from different parties involved, including:

(1) IT and support department,

(2) Research and data department of Metro TV,

(3) Journalists,

(4) Editing department,

(5) Program/content department,

(6) News portals, and

(7) Training centre (human resource capital).

The work mechanism in the converged newsroom at Media Group that has three platforms consists of some main priorities. Metro TV has provided a super desk newsroom to integrate its internal work processes. The integration of three platforms is intended to increase cost efficiency and to prepare human resources to multitask to answer challenges for the mass media industry in the digital era through business convergence model.

The work mechanism of the converged newsroom at Media Group that has three multiplatform media consists of three main priorities. Metro TV has prepared a super desk newsroom to integrate media internal processes. The integration of three multiplatform media is intended to improve cost efficiency and prepare human resources to multitask to answer the challenges for the mass media industry in the digital era through convergence business model. The work methods of convergence journalists through a continuous process are supported by robust super desk, which will handle those left out by the journalists. With regard to the convergence system having been applied as an effort to develop its business management, Media Group has implemented a work mechanism with the integration concept Newsroom 3.0, which is presented in Figure 1.

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Figure 1: Newsroom 3.0: Media Integrated Newsroom.

In the convergence pattern Newsroom 3.0, a journalist will deliver his or her work in the audio, visual, and narrative form to a producer/editor. Afterwards, the producer/editor will distribute the news materials to some platforms according to the formats and platform need (TV, online, and print).

For the implementation using super desk newsroom model, Media Group has provided the following:

• Integrated editing room;

• Content for various channels by integrating complete news flow for both print and digital versions since the planning stage to the production stage;

• No particular person in charge of channels in the coordinating mechanism;

• Responsibility for newsgathering for print and digital media that is borne by the head of section;

• In the convergence system in newsroom, there is no term such as ‘we’ or ‘they’ between different channels and no conflict between individuals or groups related to the media where the news is to be published;

• The news owner decides on which aspect of a story is to be given and delivered by selecting a particular format;

• The room consists of a ‘news hub’ and in the middle, there are some spokes connected to the centre;

• There are integration of journalist roles, responsibility assignment, and integration of work flow and shared content use;

• The central theme in the editing room that applies convergence is the application of the available shared resources;

• All journalists in an newsroom who work for a newspaper, television, or online media can share resources consisting of human resources, equipment and ideas (information);

• The use of resources from different platforms can be assisted with a database that staff members in need can access for the purpose of publication;

• The information and data collected by journalists are stored in a database called Budget Bank; and

• Physical arrangement of the newsroom (Figure 2).

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Figure 2: Newsroom Convergence at Metro TV.

Currently, Media Group has three multiplatform media and has applied the convergence system since 2012, albeit only achieved 70% of the overall target. The target has yet to be achieved due to the reason that the journalists need education and there is a need to change the mind-set of the journalists coming from varying platforms.

According to the description above, Media Group’s converged newsroom is designed between Metro TV, online, and Media Indonesia newsrooms. This has facilitated integrated coordinating system called super desk newsroom convergence with open, walls-down design. It describes in details the things required to form a newsroom called information engine. This has been available and run in the convergence system at Metro TV. This is explained as follows:

On/off full integration

News is prioritized over platform. The news is delivered right after it is obtained, and which platform is the fastest is immediately identified.

Rolling deadlines

Content immediately reach the audience right when the audience need them via their desired platforms.

Two-screen computer

Every table is completed with two-screen computer. The first screen is used for input, the other is for output.

Super desk

The editor in chief is present when an action is taken instead of hiding in the office room. Thus, he or she is available to meet with and is responsible.

Community desk

A dedicated team works on a newspaper accepted by the community by monitoring, acting as a mediator, and collating comments, pictures, videos, tips, and opinions from the audience on every page and part of the newspaper and its digital version. There is division of sections reflecting differing roles played by the community, namely consumer, producer, and medium.

Assignment desk

First-rate and most efficient planning and assignment are essential for maintaining full rate of newsroom work throughout the year. Super desk relies on the assignment desk to track the locations of reporters, photographers, and correspondents and to set their schedules.

Graphic desk

Info graphics and photographs are located on the side of super desk, which creates visual journalism that provides directions instead of merely information.

Political gallery conference room

Newsroom is an open place both internally and externally and must have a public gallery where staff and community members meet. In this room, meeting, presentation, news conference, and exhibition are held on a daily basis.

Hot Desk

Terminal broadband, mobile computer, and internet are available everywhere, making it easy and more efficient to work in the field. Weekly columnists, contributors, editors, and staff members who do not occupy a permanent place in the editing room still have an access to hot desk that is free and completed with simple connection to connect their laptops to the editing room’s systems.

In addition, there are four main roles that must be played in the converged newsroom, namely:

• News flow Editor, this position occupies the centre of the newsroom and is in charge of assisting convergence management by delivering news to various platforms. This news flow editor sees the editing room in a different perspective and decides how to make news flow that can be delivered via all kinds of platforms.

• Story builder, this role is identical to that of newspaper editor in collaboration with that of broadcasting media producer, thus it becomes converged manager. A story builder must be meticulous just like language editors and must understand the storyline and be skilful at viewing news from different perspective. This role manages only some multimedia news that can be useful for the editors of other divisions.

• News Resource, a news resource performs his duties like a librarian but thinks like a journalist. This role requires expertise in journalistic writing, news editing and judgement, information management and storage, news search, and technological use. A news resource specializes in writing in-depth background information and organizes it in the photograph, video, and textual form and makes useful news content for the public.

• Multitasking Journalist, a multitasking journalist is also called backpack journalist or one-man-band journalist as he or she is expected to have an expertise in interviewing, taking pictures, and filming videos for news in various formats: printed, broadcast, and online. Such journalist must be able to distribute the news via various media and be familiarized with every element to enable the consumers to understand the news.

The convergence system in a newsroom is applied in the following flow:

• In a converged newsroom, there is a new trend in news making. Newsgathering is no longer carried out only by finding an informant to interview with or covering an event in the field and then pouring it into text.

• The technological development allows for news gathering in a wider scope by using electronic communications devices.

• With new technologies, journalists can use the Internet as a source of information and news. Additionally, the introduced high power laptops, mobile phones, and digital cameras help journalists with news writing, complete with pictures, in an instant. These convergence journalists are also known as backpack journalists who also carry with them video cameras and audio recorders in their backpacks. This trend eliminates the necessity to come to the newsrooms and popularizes the position of multitasking freelancers.

• New news flow may eliminate the editing process as reporters now can directly upload news to various media, including conventional newspapers, television, and websites. News is now more reporter-driven rather than editor-driven. In spite of the changes in the news gathering process, the final decision about the platform on which a news should be posted will depend on the gatekeeper. Editors hold meetings to determine which issues should be raised and which news should be published on print, broadcast, and online media on a daily basis.

• The media convergence system and work mechanism in the newsroom designed for journalists are intended to increase the rate of, enrich, and facilitate information delivery to the audience. Hence, convergence journalism work methods should be fully synchronized with the management system.

Preparation and Improvement of Convergence Journalist Competences

Convergence has given birth to the term ‘backpack journalist’, which refers to a journalist who has robust data and sophisticated devices for obtaining and presenting news to the existing media platforms. Convergence journalists are expected to be able to multitask to provide information for various media in one place. Training is provided to prepare and improve the competences of modern journalists (convergence journalists) by upgrading their skills, providing assistance, and preparing them to be backpack journalists. This will enable journalists to work consistent with the convergence system according to the technologies they possess. Convergence training at Media Group has been held on a gradual basis since 2016, involving journalists of Metro TV, MI, and Metrotvnews. In this training:

• Conventional journalists are enlightened about new media journalism, and the meaning and understanding of the importance of convergence as a form of salvation from digital technological strike continuously eroding the traditional media are promoted.

• Intellectual preparation is done to allow journalists to adapt swiftly to changes.

• Journalists are trained to film videos and take pictures using smartphones, to stream pictures, and to upload videos.

• Metro TV journalists are trained to write in-depth news properly to allow equal capacity on different platforms, and they are assigned with daily news and information target, which enriches their news content.

• Physical and health check-up, journalistic ethics training, digital training, implementation, control, evaluation, and mind-set change are carried out.

In the convergence journalist training program, which creates multitasking journalists popularly known as one-stop-shopping journalists, convergence journalists must be equipped with data collection tools (analytic data, latest gadget technologies, and good network connection). The ability to read analytic data and to transmit data in the textual, picture, or video form becomes essential.

Reward will certainly be given to convergence journalists who have contributed news to existing various platforms. However, the works of journalists will be collected in work productivity data consistent with KPI (key performance indicator) analysis periodically. On the other hand, the responsibility of a journalist will increase in complexity. Company’s operational cost will lower down, but this will lead to increased journalist revenue as he or she has worked on three platforms at once. Undoubtedly, convergence journalists will bear heavier workload. However, this increased workload will bring them greater amount of revenues and prosperity.

Capacity equality will be supported with compensation to be arranged latterly. Journalists should be deployed at strategic locations that have national-scale impacts. In relation to the training program pertaining the convergence system, Media Indonesia is more prepared and has adequate capacity to manage news and conduct in-depth analysis. This may serve as a reference for the editing department of other platforms. Meanwhile, the editing team of Metro TV and its online media should receive news management and news making training to enable them to produce primary news rather than secondary news made by extracting and retelling information from other parties. Metro TV journalists have the advantage of rate of news and picture transmission. Journalists from Media Indonesia have the capacity to film videos and stream news reporting using smartphone or handy-cam, supported with laptop and modem.

Standardization of knowledge and skills of editing team in managing super desk starting from adapting to draw on research results or data from Media Research Centre (MRC) owned by Metro TV is necessary. This will curtail the number of complaints from third parties about the news reported on multiple platforms. With robust data backup in place, Media Group journalists simply need in-depth interview, and the news can be written more comprehensively.

Canalization of Journalist Problems in the Implementation of Convergence System in the Newsroom

Media Group’s implementation or accommodation of convergence only reached 70%. The obstacles faced in the convergence system application are presented by the fact that journalists depart from one platform and must work on other platforms. In other words, the main obstacle faced is the reluctance of journalists from different platforms to adapt to the convergence system and current technologies. This is due to the fact that some journalists have been comfortable working on one platform and feel uneasy about greater workload with the requirement to use sophisticated technologies.

The setback encountered by the company is the requirement to gradually upgrade the digital technologies to facilitate integration, news gathering receipt, news production, news broadcasting, until advertisement distribution via the media.

The collaboration of different media platforms and discussion between different source media face communication difficulty as each of them is comfortable with the style of the source media although each of the media has its own advantages.

Whether journalists’ salary should be increased or whether it should be added with other benefits in the form of incentives and how the salary should be calculated becomes a concern. This is intended to motivate journalists to multitask to meet the existing media news slots.

Regular evaluation and work productivity recording should be arranged properly in accordance with the key performance indicator applied by the company in order to find out whether the work standards have been met or exceeded, and the results will be recorded, based on which reward, either incentives or salary rise, is given. All journalists should be clearly informed with the procedures of incentive or reward grant in order to realize the convergence system in the media industry completely.

Conclusion

The media convergence applied by Media Group to manage its media business is an answer for the challenges posed by the new era of digital journalism. New technologies in the world of media give birth to modern journalists. Media industries are forced to make changes in the work mechanism by integrating it in a big newsroom to facilitate news production and distribution. With the integration of the work flow coordination system in the editing department through the existing super desk room, news gathering, presentation, and packaging will be easier to coordinate structurally. Thus, the news presented will have an advantage in terms of content and will be presented faster.

The convergence business model is aimed to improve the cost efficiency of a company while increasing its profits to maintain its business in the midst of increasingly depressed television and newspapers media. Metro TV, Media Indonesia, Metro tv news, and Media Komunikasi integrate systems in a centralized big newsroom to expedite information reporting and presentation to the audience.

Newsroom work mechanism with media convergence at Media Group has been applied in its super desk newsroom. The big newsroom is used for integrating the media internal work processes. With the convergence system applied in the three integrated platforms, cost efficiency is increased and human resources will be enabled to multitask. The super desk at the newsroom from the upstream to the downstream will be able to handle the journalists’ disadvantages.

With regard to the convergence system implemented in the effort to develop its business management, Media Group has implemented work mechanism with the integrated concept of Newsroom 3.0. By implementing the convergence pattern of Newsroom 3.0, a journalist will submit his or her work in the audio, visual, and narrative formats to a producer/editor. Afterwards, the producer/editor will distribute the news materials to some platforms in accordance with the platform formats and needs (television, online, and print forms). By applying this convergence system, the work mechanism in the newsroom will hasten, enrich, and ease the delivery of the information to the audience. Therefore, the work methods of convergence journalists must be completely synchronized with the management system.

To streamline the convergence system implementation, Media Group has provided convergence trainings gradually involving the journalists of Media Indonesia, Metro TV, and Metrotvnews. The trainings to be held are summarized in the convergence journalist education syllabus, starting from the approach to encourage journalists to adapt to sophisticated technologies that may support the news search and transfer, more comprehensive news writing, taking photographs using smartphones, handycam or other cameras, and the ability to stream pictures to be stored at the newsroom super desk. Convergence journalists must be equipped with devices for collecting data in the field (good analytic data, recent gadget technologies, and network connection). The ability to read analytic data and transfer news in the text, photograph, or video forms becomes essential. It is expected that the convergence journalist training will keep on producing multitasking journalist or one-stop-shopping journalist.

To welcome the era of convergence, it is necessary to have different units supported by the management and owner who have the capacity to take firm decisions to conduct their business in the face of competitions of media with sophisticated technologies. Although Media Group has prepared infrastructure in running the convergence system through super desk newsroom, there remain some setbacks that should be overcome. Firstly, all journalists from different source media platforms should be encouraged to accept heavier workload by giving them multitasking education. In addition, the perspective of the journalists from different media platforms should be aligned for the coordination and collaboration in order to encourage journalists to contribute toward information reporting via all converged platforms. The problem of information technology provision has also discouraged journalists to work more or to multitask as they have been staying in the comfort zone of their source media. This is related to the habits and cultures of the media. Hence, changing journalists’ mind-set is crucial.

References

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