This project explores the impact new technologies have had in the role of TV presenters in the United Arab Emirates. There is no doubt that technology has informed discovery and introduction of new devices in the newsroom and the backpack of a news reporter at the field gathering facts and figures for news writing.
Evidence from observations and recent literature suggest that technology is changing the way TV presenters in the United Arabs Emirates (UAE) present news and how their viewers receive it. One of the technologies that have powerfully impacted on the TV is the internet. A couple of months ago, the cable Television dominated newsrooms, and everything was on it. But the development of the internet and social media has transformed the dissemination of news stories by the presenters. In the UAE, social media is gaining more importance in performing the journalistic role of communication. Social platforms, especially Twitter, are now an integral tool for news presenters. That is the reason TV stations in the UAE include interactive segments in the course of their prime time news, where they include the views of the people in the broadcast.
Today, even the public consumes TV content in new, different ways. Apart from having greater access to information, the audiences can follow trending stories on the social media. The urgency of watching the news at the prime time is changing as people can always download it online later. Viewing news is not a passive affair anymore. Viewers have to select their content actively and control them (Montpetit, 2014). They can as well switch to Twitter to comment instantaneously on the stories. People don't have to mail their responses to the TV programmers or newspaper opinion editors. This study, thus, seeks to determine the specific ways in which technology is affecting the role of TV presenters and measure the impact of the effects.
Brief Theoretical Background
It would be impossible to imagine that these many changes like the TV have not come with equal changes in the scope of the work that TV presenters do. One of the changes is media convergence - today, journalists read newscasts to the TV viewership and then take to the social media handles of the same TV station to break the same news. Most of the time, the highest amount of feedback and conversation takes place on twitter more than via text messages to studio codes. As a result, a news anchor is more likely to carry along his tablet to the studio as they anchor news and sample the feedback on the social media handles on the device. Text codes are getting outdated, and 'netizens' no longer use. This means a broadcaster needs to be up to date with the functioning of these social media platforms.
The theory of Technological Determinism can explain the convergence of TV and other media as well as their audiences to the internet platforms. The theory states that the technology that exists in society influences its cultural values and social structures. In UAE, the average adult is surrounded by at least three audio-visual media - TV, computer, and smartphone. However, more people have access to a smartphone than both TV and computer. Therefore, the social media has many audiences than any other communication medium of mass communication. TV anchors are under pressure to keep up with this audience, and that is why they have moved with the masses to the internet.
The theory conceives that the direction progress or retrogression will take will be dictated by technology. Technology is its diverse supply will be an indispensable tool in the formation of culture and history. And media outlets will be encompassed in this culture formation. A good example is the near extinction of media station codes while the use of social media handles proliferates in the sampling of audience feedback. Today social media is a source of facts and figures for news stories. It is also a source of quotes for attribution, an essential aspect of any news stories.
Technology and TV Journalism
TV presenters broadcast facts and figures, written and reported by other journalists as news stories. Also, they help the audience interpret these stories as they disseminate them using the media of mass communication. It is noteworthy that the new technologies that are emerging find the application at every stage in the cycle of mass communication
There is an avalanche of new technologies in journalism overall. Examples include digital media technologies such as personal computers (PCs), the Internet, mobile telephones, among others. The adoption of these technologies has revolutionized merely journalism making it collaborative, participative, and democratized. Participation and feedback have been facilitated and therefore are on a rising trajectory and has involved turned the audience into active stakeholders, something that traditional media outlets were not used to before the advent of new media.
Media experts believe that the new technologies affect the practice of TV journalism and other from s of mass communication in four diverse ways. First, they have changed how TV journalists and the news organizations that employ them relate to each other and the masses. Secondly, it is transforming the organizational structure of the newsroom. Thirdly, the nature of content that the TV journalists write and reports is changing. Lastly, technology challenges journalists to approach and perform their duties in new ways (Pavlik 2015).
Many technological changes have contributed to the evolution of electronic journalism in the UAE to what it is today. However, the most prominent technologies associated with news anchoring are digital videography, the internet, and social media.
TV Presenters Engagement on the Social Media
Citizen journalists are breaking news on social media way before TV stations get the sniff of it. From social media platforms, therefore, journalists are getting news tips which they follow and finally come up with more comprehensive coverage. Morrison (2016) says journalists are among the earliest adopters of social media and they use them for various purposes. She classifies journalists by the purpose for which they go to social media and comes up with the following five categories.
There are TV journalists that begin and lead conversations in the social media. Most of such journalists perceive the social media positively and aim to use to impact the public positively. The second group of journalists using the social media is those who seek to promote their TV brands, or simply network with the audience. Thirdly, there are those who only us the social media for work purposes. Fourth, is the category that avoids online visibility but spends much time following and observing the contributions of others. The fifth category comprises of journalists who are yet to accept the benefits of social media, so they take very little time on it. At the conclusion of her work, she notes that most journalists are in the class 'the promoters' and believe that social media platforms can be necessary for news gathering and dissemination.
Morrison (2016) says the benefits journalists reap by using social media are immense, but one of the most important benefits is the opportunity of reporting instant updates from locations far away from the country where the respective media house is based. As such, reporters and citizen journalists, journalists can report from across continents, enabling their outlets to publish exclusives.
Another critical reason for the prevalent use of social media platform by journalists is to link their audiences with their sources of information for the furtherance of conversations even when newspaper space and TV airtime have been exhausted.
But probably one of the weightiest reasons journalists are keen on social media is to monitor what other media houses report. This is yet another way of getting news tips which could be developed into even bigger reports than earlier reported by a rival media house. And when audiences realize that their favorite media house publishes almost everywhere, they stop shifting allegiance to other companies. Traditional media like radio, TV, and newspapers are complementary and not competitors so that while traditional media do features and lengthy expositions, social media are very useful in providing links to websites where stories have been covered exhaustively.
Social Media in the UAESocial Media continues to permeate every aspect of life for Emiratis, upcoming and season TV presenters included. One of the recent surveys conducted in 2016 by the Northwestern University (NU) in Qatar established that the majority of Emirati nationals and journalists are highly active on the various social media platforms (NU, 2016). Compared to other countries in the Arab world, the UAE still records the highest mobile penetration, estimated at over 80.6 percent. With a total population of 9.58 million citizens, the UAE is no exception to the phenomenal growth witnessed in social media accounts. Since 2014, for instance, the country has experienced a 23% increase in the number of its nationals using WhatsApp, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube (Radcliffe, 2016).The percentages above serve as a clear indication that social media is not only readily available but also accessible to many people. As an application directly attributable to technological advancement, social media has become a force to reckon with in the information and communication industry (Poell & Borra, 2011). Serving as alternative platforms of communication, it is fast diminishing the profession of journalism by affecting roles of newsrooms and their staff. Consequently, the UAE TV presenters are compelled to remain flexible to the many changes brought about by social media.
The Changing Role of Presenters
As mentioned earlier, major news providers in the UAE, such as Dubai TV, Abu Dhabi TV, and Zee TV have been transformed by advanced broadcasting technologies and the very opportunities they offer over the last two decades. According to Kaplan and Haenlein (2012), social media remains the latest tectonic plate, moving and changing the landscape of TV presenters across the world. As a phenomenon, what is unique about social media platforms revolves around it affects traditional ways of news processing and broadcasting. In the UAE, the total number of journalists and TV presenters engaged in social media has since increased significantly. Ultimately, the increasing level of engagement is a result of the changing demands of their audience.
TV presenters involved in social media are tasked with a wide of tasks, including newsgathering, verification, and distribution. Contrary to the various roles of traditional TV presenters, who relied a great deal on reporters and paperwork, the role of the present-day's UAE presenter has changed tremendously (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2012). In particular, they now use social media to gather more and better material, based on a broader range of ideas, voices, and eyewitnesses. In their comparative study, El Semary and Al Khaja (2013), argue that all established media houses and related organizations in the UAE are rapidly plunging into the social media because of its extraordinary and game-changing newsgathering potential. While gathering reliable news is a major challenge for many journalists, social media has transformed the way UAE TV presenters are actively involved in the whole process.
News credibility represents another contemporary issue in journalism. With the engagement in online platforms, it has become more apparent because TV presenters' role involved content verification (Deuze et al., 2007). They are...
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