The ‘Survival of Print Media: Why Go Soft When You Can Go Hard’ forum will discuss why the print media is suffering and ways to ensure its sustainability. -File pic

SHAH ALAM: The future of newspapers and whether they can co-exist with their digital counterparts will be among issues discussed in a forum titled “Survival of Print Media: Why Go Soft When You Can Go Hard” tomorrow.

The forum, at the Intekma Resort and Convention Centre here, is being organised by Universiti Teknologi Mara’s (UiTM) Mass Communications Alumni and UiTM Rembau, Negri Sembilan Faculty of Communications and Media Studies.

The four-hour forum will feature a line-up of panellists comprising Datuk A. Kadir Jasin, who is the media and communications adviser to the prime minister, Datuk Khalid Jaafar, who is the adviser to the Economic Affairs minister, Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong and Umno Youth vice-chief Shahril Sufian Hamdan.

It will be moderated by marketing coach and consultant Professor Abdul Hamid Mohamed.

UiTM Industry, Community and Alumni Network deputy vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Rahmat Mohamad will launch the forum.

UiTM Faculty of Communications and Media Studies lecturer and forum adviser Suhaila Kamal said they would seek to know why the print media was suffering and discuss ways to ensure its sustainability in the future.

“As we know, it is a sunset industry.

“We want to look into why this has happened and ask questions such as if it is because of the rise of digital media or otherwise.

“Some say digital media is meant to complement the print media, but some say the latter has become a competitor instead.

“We also want to discuss what we should do as Malaysians and from among the media circle to help the industry and ensure the longevity of newspapers.

“Or if we do not need newspapers anymore, will it be a niche market in the years ahead or everything in the future will be digital centric,” Suhaila told the New Straits Times yesterday.

Meanwhile, Khalid said that there was a tussle between the print and digital media.

“There is a kind of competition (between the two), the print which is the conventional way and digital, the modern and contemporary way.

“I might go back to the basic notion like what Marshall McLuhan said, that ‘the medium is the message’.

“We have print and there is also digital media which is contradicting one another.

“This represents two different epistemology on modes of reading and ways of accessing information.

“That is what I want to explore in the discussion.”

Shahril hoped that the forum would revolve around not only the future of the print media, but also face up to the possibility that it might not be really sustainable as a profit-making business, as well as press ownership.

“I hope that the forum will bring about discussion on whether there is any way editorial stance and content of reporting that may help mitigate the potential business reality.

“If there is a future in print media, then we should look into what it may look like, being honest about it based on numbers and data and seeing what kind of mitigating factors that can be made in terms of content of reporting and editorial input.”

Some 150 students from UiTM, Universiti Malaya and other universities, media practitioners, academicians and ministry corporate communications representatives are expected to attend the forum.