Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Engage the public...Baru best

After a hectic day yesterday, I decided not to take the laptop home and planned to just relax and watch TV.

I moved from one channel to another until I got to RTM and stayed.

Why? Because a ‘live talkshow’ was on!

And as a former anchor/editor/producer, I can’t help but to indulge.

Now, the programme …

The host: Datuk Johan Jaffar.

The topic: FTA.

The guests: Tan Sri Adam Kadir (Chairman of Pos Malaysia), Prof Dr Mahani Zainal Abidin (Economist), Datuk David Chua (Representing the Chinese Chamber of Commerce).

Why I stayed on RTM? Because I wanted to see the editorial strategy – making complex issues simple to be digested by the mass audience.

Did they achieve that? Well, while Datuk Johan asked ‘relatively’ appropriate questions, I still feel that the editorial was more to satisfy the ‘initiated’ not so much to engage the ‘uninitiated’. Complex issues remained more complex and if you were one of those who wanted to know more about the issue, you would later decide to see Yasmin Hani and her Watcchhaaa…

While the topic was a ‘niche’ one, the editorial team failed to make an effort to give it a ‘mass appeal’. Only by giving ‘niche’ topic a mass appeal will the public benefit. In return, the rakyat will give pointers and feedback to policy makers. Like it or not we are moving towards ‘participatory democracy’ and ‘engaging the minds of the masses’. Engage the rakyat and they will help steer the country to the right path in the right direction.

The respondents on the show were trying so hard to appeal to their peers more than to educate the public.

My rule on editorials for TV production is – no matter how ‘niche’ a topic is, it must always.

1. Satisfy the peers (40% of the content).
2. Educate the public (60% of the content).

Meaning – Engage the people ‘in the know’ and open up the discussion/topic to a bigger audience – we’ll gain more with more contributions from people of different backgrounds.

In the mass media, nothing should be too difficult to comprehend.

We must be good story tellers.

Barulah orang sokong initiative yang dilihat teramatlah complex.

Engage the public -- tak payah 'highbrow' sangat

Tak gitu bang?

(Pix from fotosearch.com)