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Clickbait journalism: a threat to our respected media


 Shafiqul Alam    ১৯ জুলাই ২০২০, রবিবার, ১২:৪২    মতামত


The Indian media call it BCS. If you want to attract traffic in this new era of "clickbait journalism", you need a daily doses of Bollywood, Cricket and Sex-related news.

Even top newspapers like the Times of India, Hindustan Times and respected dailies like The Hindu use this BCS formula to draw readers. In Bangladesh, there have been concerted efforts by some top dailies to get sizable traffic by using similar formulas. They have tweaked the rule to suit our environment and taste, changing it to mostly BCP, meaning Bollywood, Cricket and Politics. Politics still sells well here. Some rightist newspapers extend the formula to BCPI, with the additional I standing for news on India.

 Trouble is this clickbait formula can inflict a serious harm to your reputation. You need online traffic for advertisements from Google, Facebook and local giants such as Pran, Unilever and Grameenphone. But once you start using the formula pretty frequently - - months ago Prothom Alo online would publish a news on pornstar Sunny Leone almost everyday - - your journalism will be under the scanner.

Pretty soon you will face a situation when a tail will wag the dog, not the other way round. Right now the online editions of almost all our newspapers and TV stations have adopted a middle-roader line, meaning they will have bits of clickbait stories along the lines of BCP, BCS or BCPI, bits of serious stories and some routine stories.

 But serious newspapers must think twice before falling into this trap. A regular use of the BCS formula is unsustainable. It won't bring much revenue and can't even guarantee longterm growth. For them, the only formula for success is serious and tough investigative stories.

You invest in good journalism. It will be costly in the short term, but it will bring revenue in a lot of ways - - circulation, increased online ads from top local companies, event management, book publishing, booming seminar industry and print advertisements. And if you can establish a serious and addictive news brand, you can also charge your readers for online subscription. But that needs a steady investment in best new reporters, photographers, copy hands and writers. Can our top newspapers do that in this inclement climate?

 

 

 




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