ಮಂಗಳವಾರ, ಆಗಸ್ಟ್ 16, 2022

Introduction to Media Technology: Foreword by Sri Beluru Sudarshana

Foreword by Sri Beluru Sudarshana, Open Knowledge Campaigner and presently, Advisor to the Chief Minister of Karnataka on E-Governance

  • Introduction to Media Technology by
  • Sibanthi Padmanabha K. V., PhD 
  • Shreesha M. Punacha, PhD

  • Contact: +91 9449525854
  • Email: ankurmediapublications@gmail.com

I need no other proof to say that this book is the first and comprehensive text of this category, designed for the graduate students of media studies; because no such proofs are available elsewhere! There may be a few textbooks on computer fundamentals, hardware, software, etc. published by universities; and there may also be some books on this subject from private publishers. However, this book, designed for students and teachers of Journalism, is a significant work of this time.

The gap between information and knowledge is getting thinner in this age of information explosion. The Internet has got polluted with pseudo-interpretations, wrong statistics and explanations. Even self-proclaimed open knowledge platforms like Wikipedia are also not free of drawbacks. From non-SIM-based social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram to SIM-based mass media like WhatsApp and Club House, both facts and lies are flourishing together day by day. Finding falsity in online newspaper reports has become a big business now. Separate websites have also emerged for this purpose, and unfortunately, many of them are biased too.  The face of the press has changed like never before in the past two years, following the outbreak of Covid-19. Print media has shrunk, while the prospects of new media have expanded. The media economics has also changed. The demand for online media that can reach more people directly at lower cost has increased. But it is a fact that many of the advertisers have altered their strategies to reach consumers directly, which has led to a decline in the income of the media industry.

We are aware that the Information Age has already turned into an age of Information Turmoil, and we have entered Web 3.0 after passing through Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. Still, we are yet to find an answer to the question – what an ordinary media student should do? This is beyond the scope of this preface. However, the book ‘Introduction to Media Technology’ provides many pointers for understanding this revolution. It cannot be taken as mere computer information, descriptions of software circus, or documentation of online happenings. This book is a significant effort to document all the contemporary dimensions of IT- based communication along with its historical background.

There is always a danger that such new media textbooks bring readymade information available on the Internet. But as both Mr. Sibanthi Padmanabha, who teaches in a university, and Mr. Shreesha Punacha, who is a young-generation writer, are basically engaged in their own information collection, this book has emerged as an original work. One can find similar information on Wikipedia pages; but here, the information needed by the students and teachers has been prepared independently, keeping in mind the requirements of syllabus too. Looking at the writing style of these chapters, I have clearly noted that the topics have been understood and analyzed well. This is one of the main qualities that can sustain the book for many more years.

However, it is true that this book is not a comprehensive encyclopedia on the topic, but a kind of compass to the ever-changing field of media technology. Aspiring media students will find the key to learning the world from many fronts through this book. Each chapter and subheads written here are a separate area of media technology. Take blockchain technology, for instance. It has been in use as ‘hashtag’ for two decades as a part of information technology. Its overall avatar itself has changed now. Blockchain is being implemented in science, finance, land records – as the

foundation for all kinds of true sources. At least more than 20 important books on blockchain have entered the market in the last couple of years, needless to mention specifically about AR and VR.

In spite of these good facts, some of the most important technological information related to media field are not available here, amidst the inevitability of fulfilling the academic requirements. For example: data journalism. Today nothing can be asserted without the affirmative support of statistics – many news can be extracted with the help of statistics. Data journalism is basically a media technology that combines journalism, mathematics and information technology. By analyzing data scientifically, we can find solutions to many problems of this country. The Government of India and various state governments have already launched ‘open data portals’. Students of media should be aware of all these.

Following a particular syllabus is a limitation of this book too.  However, this book has made me feel that such an informative book should be available for public reading. This book is bound to become the first step towards learning the new possibilities of the time such as mobile journalism, digital security, mathematical technology, transcription, e-communication, digital storytelling, infographics, data visualization, digital research, community journalism, podcasting, video journalism, etc.

The crux of this book is the ever-changing facets of media technology. Therefore, as the authors know that the durability of this book as a printed book (especially on new and growing technologies) is short, so should the teacher and students. It is very important to develop an online site where this unique and informative book, which has understood the responsibilities of aspirants joining the media profession, is kept up-to-date. Then this book itself can be expanded as a platform to provide links to many sources; revised information may be incorporated with appropriate references; one can add new information as and when they are found. This will become an open source media site. All the universities can come to a consensus to shoulder the expenses of developing and maintaining such a site. Such an ever changing topic can be offered to students regularly, with a new edition every year. Keeping knowledge open and funding knowledge management is the present norm. This is also a way of honoring the hard work rendered by these authors.

Media technology is not just a reading material. There is a lot to be learned using a computer itself. It is my experience that media students should especially use desktop computers to the maximum extent. At a time when we are bypassing computers by using smartphones, this statement may sound strange. But a desktop computer is the professional strength of every journalist. With the responsible use of computers and the Internet, information, learning, technology, analysis, imaging, content editing, collection, communication, journalists can come out with many society centric reports.

In conclusion, information technology, media technology - both are the aspects that contribute to the fundamental responsibility of conveying the hardships and happiness of the society to the people and the government through reports and various media; but technology itself is not the solution for everything. Journalists can definitely increase their productivity if they are aware of technology. As job opportunities in Journalism are becoming diverse and wide, this book will be a window to the new era. My congratulations and best wishes to both the authors who have written such a fresh book. I hope this book will be helpful for a responsible and technology-based journalism.

-          Beluru Sudarshana