News has undergone a metamorphosis, to say the least. The morning paper is accompanied by the click of a button on a smartphone, through which news appears at the snap of one’s fingers.
And yet, the metamorphosis has gone beyond just digital access to news. Now, social media and online initiatives play an equally important part in contributing to the daily news as breaking news stories do.
This surge of ‘alternative media’ has been documented by traditional media outlets. For example, food and lifestyle blogger Subhiksha Venkat is a known name in the Chennai circuit. While her blog began as a way to document her ‘outfits of the day’ and new meals across the city, she now uses her huge Instagram platform –that services almost 16,000 followers — to spread awareness about issues she’s passionate about.
She recently launched the hashtag #teamblacksaree to combat the stigma that many city women face in wearing black to ceremonies or festivals. The movement garnered a large response among her followers and the Instagram community, with many women taking the opportunity to speak out about sexism, stigmas, and the larger issues they face.
The movement gained so much momentum that the New Indian Express covered it extensively.
The response took Subhiksha by surprise as well.
“I saw over a hundred posts with the hashtag! Didn’t expect that kind of a response,” she laughs.
The interaction between traditional and non-traditional media was repeated in yesterday’s New Indian Express, when reporter Abinaya Kalyanasundaram covered an Instagram photoshoot campaign that involved a US-based designer and jeweller, 12 models, 4 make-up and hair artists, and a single photographer. The campaign, titled ‘Saahithya,’ was launched to highlight 12 of Chennai’s most-important ‘city sights.
The trend has been tracked since vlogger Lilly Singh became a YouTube sensation, bringing a new media to ‘social media star.’
With this transformation of the meaning of media, only time will tell how traditional media copes with this re-interpretation.
Compiled by Lavanya Narayanan