Data journalism is crucial in every media organisation to ensure that the industry continues to keep pace with current developments in disseminating authentic information and news.

Malaysian Broadcasting Department director-general Suhaimi Sulaiman said journalists must have data analysis skills and adapt to the times as the use of technology evolves.

“Data journalism is crucial. Journalists can no longer just rely on 5W1H (Who, Where, Why, What, When and How). We (journalists) need to understand data analysis.

“This means that when we file a story, we need to see how readers can search for those words, so we need to know the words that need to be used,” he said.

Suhaimi said this when met after Bernama Radio’s Jendela Fikir HAWANA 2023 Edition entitled ‘Wartawan Mencorak Persepsi Masyarakat’ (Journalists Shape Society’s Perception). Also present was Astro Awani editor-in-chief Aswad Ismail.

Moreover, he said, a media company needs a data scientist to report the news more in-depth and hyperlocal, thus ensuring that the industry keeps up with the times.

“First, we must ensure that we are relevant; secondly, we must be relatable, that is, we must be compatible with the people who are looking for information. Thirdly, if we get all this right, our brand will be loved. If people love the brand, they will keep looking for the news we publish. So, relatable, relevant and lovable brand,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ashwad said the establishment of the Malaysian Media Council (MMM) must be expedited to ensure that players in this industry can move freely and have self-regulation on any content published.

“I think we are looking at a long struggle to establish the MMM and planning is still ongoing. I see how we are bringing together more experienced seniors with young journalists to see what is the right formula to establish MMM,” he said.

Ashwad said the setting up of the MMM, which is being drafted and is expected to be tabled in Parliament in October, is aimed at protecting and enhancing the profession of mainstream media journalism, especially in light of the digital challenges in terms of reporting.

He also said media organisations in Malaysia can work together to organise HAWANA in the future as the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) has taken the lead for three editions.

“I think we can share resources, energy and expertise to organise HAWANA because the end result is what we want to achieve and what value we want to achieve. It is not just about the gathering of reporters and media practitioners for HAWANA,” he said.

The HAWANA 2023 celebration will be held in Ipoh, Perak, from tomorrow (May 27) to May 29 with the theme ‘Media Bebas, Tunjang Demokrasi’ (Free Media, Pillar of Democracy) to re-emphasise the issue of media freedom for journalists in carrying out their duties.

Various activities have been lined up for HAWANA 2023, including a media forum involving journalists from ASEAN member countries, a mini carnival, a treasure hunt and a bowling competition.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is scheduled to grace the highlight of the celebration on May 28.

The date May 29 was gazetted as National Journalists’ Day in conjunction with the publication of the first edition of the Malay newspaper, Utusan Melayu, on May 29, 1939.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency