The New Day Launches in Britain: Success or Risk?

 

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Photo Courtesy: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35685156

In today’s time and age, when the world is going digital from print, Britain takes a bold step in launching its very first national newspaper (in print) after a span of thirty years. This initiative itself is commendable because of two reasons. First, a newspaper is brought out in print form, when veteran newsprints like The Independent is all set to wrap up its print edition and go online. Second, after thirty years a new newspaper is being launched. This only highlights the fact that for the past three decades, there has been a leading monopoly of newspapers such us The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, The Times and the like. However, with the society and consumer patterns ushering in the digital age, the monopoly of these print newspapers is staggering to maintain their identities in the consumer market. All the above named newspapers and many more have their corresponding online portals for news consumptions through mobile phones and computers.

This much talked about newspaper is called The New Day. Interestingly, it was launched on the 29th of February 2016, which comes once in every four years (and a date which would go down in history marking actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar win after six Academy nominations). The marketing strategy for this newspaper is very unique. On the 29th of February, it would be given away free to attract new readers. Thereafter, for the first two weeks it would cost 25 pence; following which it would be raised to ‘full price’ at 50 pence. Comparing a nominal fee of 50 pence with other newspapers costing over a pound, those who prefer newspapers to online consumption of news might want to give this paper a shot.

 

Coming to the paper itself, the publishers (The Trinity Mirror) have acknowledged the presence of the online news consumption. But they have justified their paper by stating:

“It has to be a new type of newspaper. And everyone can have a voice. Be they the Prime Minister or passer-by on the street. Because both deserve to be heard. Our stories will be selected to impress our readers, not to impress other journalists. We’re just fairly normal people who want to create a paper you’ll enjoy. ”

 Indeed, the newspaper takes a fresh look on delivering stories to its audience. Instead of having a hard news as its top story, its front page adorns snippets of a feature story titled ‘Too Much Too Young’, a study based on the lives of the young children who help in taking care of their parents. The paper comprises all kinds of stories – politics, sports, research study features, opinion articles, photographs, activities and crosswords and even a quote of the day. But what sets it apart is its neutrality or impartiality. It puts forward all views on a certain incident or event and lets the audience decide for themselves which views to support.

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Two Interesting Articles (above)

Two articles that caughtmy eyes, were titled ‘Too Much Too Young’ and ‘Would you help a child being bullied? ’. The  former because, often we have heard how children must take care of their parents, but by children one certainly does not mean those falling within the age group of ten and under; and the latter because, bullying is a big issue in contemporary society. The aftermath of bullying could demoralise a person to such an extent that psychiatric help might be required or in worst cases it might lead them to commit suicides.

Out of curiosity (and University work) I have been to two different newspaper stores, one in the MediaCity and the other in Rochdale. The store supervisors in both the shops have given me a statistics of about three New Day being picked up by their customers out of the sample stacks of fifteen newspapers sent to them. Personally, even if the statistics might not seem very alluring, the newspaper was launched just today and it should be given some time to build an audience for itself. The success or the failure of this paper would only be seen as the time goes by, but for the initiative of launching it in print with no online website, the publishers should be congratulated for their effort.

Print versus digital is a much debated topic in contemporary media. What is your opinion on the launching of a purely print edition? It is a risk or an answer to the challenge the print media is facing from the digital media? Let me know of your opinions.

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Tribal Tourism in Bangladesh

When speaking of tourism, what comes to our minds naturally are the Pyramids of Giza, The Statue of Liberty or the exotic destinations of The Caribbean Islands. However, those who are inclined towards the cultural aspects of tourism, might find tribal tourism as ‘exotic’ and worthy of being on their bucket list. Tribals are a minority as well as a vulnerable population who mostly reside in the villages and remote areas of a country. To be honest, there are many tribal villages whose name one has never heard of, or do not feature in most maps. But that does not mean that they are non-existent. In fact, the rich culture, traditions and heritage that these tribal villages hide within their boundaries is a treasure trove of knowledge in itself.

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Bangladesh is one such country which has quite a population of tribal’s residing within its borders. Frankly speaking, these tribal’s have faced cameras during certain documentaries made on them. They have also allowed tourists to enter their villages for a day or so, so that the visitors get a feel of the tribal community. But, tribal tourism as a whole is not promoted enough and is not taken up enough by tourists. Tribal tourism has its own pros and cons, discussing which, deviates the agenda of this article. The focus groups here are three different tribal village communities in Bangladesh.

Khashia Tribal Village

The Khashia Tribal village lies near the tea and betel leaf plantations. This gives a huge boost to the economic conditions of the individual families living here. Both men and women work in the nearby plantations, while the children attend schools and play around all day long. It is recommended that if one is to visit this village, one should contact the village chief first. The village chief is respected by the entire tribal population and if the village chief trusts the tourists, the villagers would become more comfortable in having them around. These tribal’s are very close to nature and has lived in harmony with Nature from time immemorial. In the true sense, they are probably the only ones, in this rapidly developing world who resides close to Nature; respects and takes care of it like no other.

Oraon Tribal Village

The Oraon Tribes are local aborigines of Bangladesh. With time, many such families have shifted to being farmers and some have migrated to the tea estates. The Oraon village is famous for its tribal folk. The music, dance, songs and musical instruments originate in the boundaries of this village. In fact, it is a common site to see the villagers return home after a hard days work and gather round the fire to celebrate life through songs and dance. Local musical instruments like the Mandar, Nagara and Kartal are often manually made here with whatever best amenities they can gather. In the Youtube documentary too, the background score was that of a locally composed song. During overnight stay at tribal villages, such song and dance is a ritualistic part of every night. Most villagers gather round and have dinner together amidst such celebrations. Interestingly, on a closer look one can say that they celebrate the essence of life; the essence of existence. They do not need official festivals on their calendars to celebrate. Their daily existence is a result of celebrating nature and worshipping it with an open heart.

Tripa Tribal Village

The Tripa village is famous for its hand-woven garments. Many times, these talented tribal are engaged into weaving garments and local attires. It takes manual labour and a long time to weave such garments and thus hand-loom industries are suffering a major setback in the global markets. But, going on a tribal tourism and not witnessing some live hand-woven garments would mean to miss a lot.

These three tribal villages in Bangladesh uphold three important facts of tribal tourism, which are- folk culture, local industries, and daily routines of the villagers. These three are the main parameters when it comes to exploring a new culture. Those apart, comes local attires, cuisines, languages and the lot. Tribal Tourism in contemporary times is rising, but within limits. Tribal tourism depends a lot on the tourist’s personal choices, ability to adjust to an alien environment as well as preserving the sanctity of the locals.

Bangladesh Tourism offers specialised packages for such Tribal tourism. But is very careful to not allow an overload of tourists; doing so might disturb the peace of the tribal community.

The Economics of Tourism

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Tourism is much more than meets the eye. One can indeed have a time of their life skiing in the Alps or sunbathing in the Caribbean beaches; but the economics behind the tourism industry globally affects the economic status of every country. Tourism industry in the 21st Century is one of the fastest growing industries. However, the monetary aspect of this field involves a crucially interconnected web of financial benefits between the host country and those involved in promoting tourism in a global scenario. In fact, according to an economic study the profits made in international tourism is much more than the combined profits made in global transactions of chemicals, petrol, automotive and food. Thus, this industry has been rightfully termed as the ‘World’s No. 1 export earner’.

However, on a close look at the above statement, it has been found that it is in reality nothing but a charade. Tourism indeed earns the host country a lot of financial benefits, but, out of those financial benefits how much is actually brought forward to the government of the host country. While it seems that the host country gains a lot of foreign revenue, one forgets the various ‘leakages’ in the system which prevents the total revenue earned to come under the political umbrella of the country. To understand this situation, it is necessary to have a look at the different types of ‘leakages’ in the system.

Degeneration of Local Business

Every tourist expects to receive a certain standard of facilities while travelling. Due to this the pressure of maintaining a high quality is very competitive. Most hotels and restaurants opt for the highest possible standards for which they display a variety of facilities which are not available locally. Due to this, the local businesses go unnoticed and suffer from a setback. A direct result of high standardization is that the local economy of the host country receives no boost in business. Furthermore, a heavy percentage of financial benefits are lost out to foreign trade investments who promote high quality of restaurants and hotels in host countries. According to a study, 70% of Thailand’s tourism revenue leaves its borders, 80% in the Caribbean Islands and 40% in India; showing that a large chunk of the earned proceeds are lost out on due to international investments.

Import Leakage

Following up on the previous point, more and more facilities are imported globally to make sure that the tourists are satisfied. There are hotels spanning acres of land with villas, spa centres, beaches, and multi cuisine restaurants; all with international standards of hospitality. Most of these international standards are imported from various countries. Thus giving rise to what is known as import leakage.

Export Leakage

Many a times, a global business tycoon makes an investment in constructing a hotel in a country. But, the benefits made from the hotel business are often taken to their residential country. Thus even if the host country earns a profit through such international investments, due to export leakage the profit fiancé is lost to international countries. This leaves a lesser margin of proceeds for the host country.

Enclave Tourism

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Not many are familiar with the concept of Enclave Tourism, but are most common in cruises and luxurious holidays. Most cruise ships are made as self-sufficient entities. They consist of hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, gymnasium and recreational areas for children and adults. This provides the tourists all the facilities that they need within the cruise ship itself, thus lessening their chances of ever going ashore. Even if by chance tourists do go ashore then there are restrictions on local trade in such shorelines. This leads to minimum or nil profit for the host country on whose waters such internationally invested cruise ships are stationed.

Increasing economics of host countries

To top it all, the economics of the host country needs to be looked into as well. If the price of the commodities are rising or falling, it has a direct impact on the tourism industry. Food Products and Petrol Prices are the two most important parameters in this situation. The rise and fall of their prices have direct consequences on the tourism industry. The price to travel from one country to another is always changing, depending on the peak season, budget, price rise and the like. Moreover, during festive season the prices reach sky-high. Thus, national economic situation and budget of the host country plays an important part in tourism.

From the above points, it is clear that though tourism industry is a flourishing one, the nitty-gritty’s of this business cannot be and must not be overlooked. Tourism industry has a direct effect in world economy helps in the development of the third world and developing countries. A major percentage of their revenues are earned through tourism. Although, it is true that economically better off countries earn more profits but the profits of the third world countries cannot be undermined either in comparison to their national economy. To conclude, tourism industry has started spreading its wings globally, and in the days to come would reach new economic heights.

Politics, Youth and Social Media

A very interesting topic was taken up as part of my academic module in my class today. It was politics. Having been a student of politics, not so long ago, this grabbed my attention. Although lets be honest, my area of specialist journalism is far from politics, well so I thought so, till today’s class. Without beating around the bush I would come straight to the point. Two really interesting and important questions caught my attention.

  1. How has social media affected political behaviour of the citizens?
  2. What does political reporting encompass?

These two questions, in itself, are two highly debatable areas.

Social media has definitely affected political behaviour. This statement holds true and can hardly be strongly challenged. However, social Media is responsible for what we can call virtual politics rather than physical politics. This, I speak looking at the international scenario. To be very honest, today’s youth especially those aged between 18 to 30 are mostly interested in their own lives, celebrities, culture and arts. Have they got any time for hardcore politics amidst their daily schedule? But, with the presence of social media and mobile apps they have the headlines of day to day global, national and regional politics in their fingertips. Social Media primarily does the work of informing, educating and making the youth politically aware of the situation.

Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have been highly used for sharing political views and arguments. Nearly every little meeting, talks, strikes, political elections or activities are discussed world over through these platforms.

“Popular discourse has focused on the use of social media by the Obama campaigns,” Boulianne concludes. “While these campaigns may have revolutionized aspects of election campaigning online, such as gathering donations, the metadata provide little evidence that the social media aspects of the campaigns were successful in changing people’s levels of participation. In other words, the greater use of social media did not affect people’s likelihood of voting or participating in the campaign.”

Source: http://journalistsresource.org/studies/politics/digital-democracy/social-media-influence-politics-participation-engagement-meta-analysis

Political blogs are rising over the years. Youths who have their political opinions find it very easy to put them forward to the world through blogs. That apart, online petition, surveys, propaganda are also gaining grounds. In fact, all of these increase to a great level just before any political elections. They have become part and parcel of what is commonly called as modern day E-Democracy.

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Photo Courtesy: http://www.slideshare.net (http://goo.gl/ZxcW7z)

With such examples it is clear that globally youths are educated and informed about politics through the use of social media but does this information ultimately culminate into voting behaviour in all scenarios?  This is an important question which needs answering. Only thorough research in this field and time can give an answer to this question.

Coming to the second question of what does politics encompass; well the answer is everything. Everything that one does or happens around an individual is directly or indirectly linked to politics. But it doesn’t mean that everything comes under political reporting. I would personally say that everything around us has political linkage but everything around us in NOT political reporting. Say for instance, what is printed inside prescribed school text books might have political connections; but if a student does not score well in the exam, it is not political reporting.

The above opinions are purely mine and you are more than welcome to disagree. I would however, love to know about your opinions as well so please  do drop by and leave a comment on what you think is the role of social media in shaping up the political future among the youths.