As most political anniversaries, every achievement — small or big — is a step forward. This is a time when patriotic reporting strength the sense of nation cohesion and identity.
As part of the celebrations of the Renaissance, it is important to reflect upon the arduous journey the country has gone through to achieve economic and social growth.
This is also an occasion to acknowledge that the role of the media had been fully appreciated from the early days of the Renaissance. The launching of the first radio station on July 30, 1970 is the best of the examples. The establishment of a newspaper and a television station followed next.
However, the role of the media in economic development is sometimes overlooked. Reporters tend to have eyes to fancy and exciting topics while ignoring dull issues — despite their relevance.
Economic development is a vast topic – both theoretically as well as historically. For centuries, the factors that lead a nation to economic growth have been discussed. However, it can be simply said that it is a combination of cooperation and coordination — meaning, that interested parts come together for solutions and in search of mutual benefits.
Among other factors considered influential for economic expansions are political stability, stable economic environment, quality of the media, and education.
As important providers of information, the media is more likely to promote better commercial and industrial performances — especially when producing good-quality reportage and having a broader reach. The effect that the media has on society and potential economic partners depend to a large extent on whom they reach.
The disclosure of information can occasionally have adverse effects. In economic circumstances these concerns are real and can cause serious consequences. One cannot deny that if audiences are not accustomed to digest a diversity of relevant information, there is a risk that messages are either underestimated or not understood.
With a lack of diversity and richness in reporting, we become used to talking about a very limited number of topics. This, methodically, reduces the number of words that people could use; so, the fewer words, the fewer the ideas, the narrower the thinking.
Now, a balanced and strategic approach to human capital development is sought in an effort to boost economic progress. This is even more acute as lower skilled clerical jobs are at risk due to technological advancements. There is a need to accept that a new era is already marked by networked business using data and analytics to deliver products and services. This is also true in the media sector.
It is arguably more difficult to report on economic and financial issues than ribbon cutting ceremonies. Though, a lack of understanding and expertise can hamper economic, political and social issues reporting. Journalists should have an aptitude to be researched and analytics- oriented. Training and capacity of media persons can significantly enhance analysis and provide valuable information.
There are a number of not so attractive fields to report about. The cement industry is one of them. It is highly relevant on projects such as roads, airports, ports, tourism complexes, and housing. These contribute to urbanism and levels of social and economic development. Transport is another important sector of the economy. It involves connections between businesses. It represents the movement of people and goods. Both, the cement and transport industries can have overlapping economic effects such as social wellbeing and economic wellbeing – and both translate into economic growth.
Journalism in Oman is developing at its own pace, but that should not be a deterrent to improve media output. With a strong ethical approach and well-prepared journalists, dry topics as the cement and the transport areas – and many other sectors — can be turned into vivid quality reportage. It is time to appreciate the industrial development with insightful information and a diversity of topics.
It is also a time for media students and graduates to embrace a more dynamic reporting approach — for that, editors would also need to take on the changes in society, and citizens’ expectations. These bring us together in cooperation and coordination for the country’s population wellbeing.