Talk given by Nalaka Gunawardene to a group of 75 provincial level provincial journalists in Sri Lanka from around the island who have just completed a training course in investigative journalism conducted by Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL), with support from InterNews. The certificate award ceremony was held at Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI), Colombo, on 2 October 2015.
In this talk, I look at the larger news media industry in Sri Lanka to which provincial journalists supply ground level news, images and video materials. These are used on a discretionary basis by media companies mostly based in the capital Colombo (and some based in the northern provincial capital of Jaffna). Suppliers have no control over whether or how their material is processed. They work without employment benefits, are poorly paid, and also exposed to various pressures and coercion.
I question why, after 180+ years, the Lankan media industry broadly follows the same production model: material sourced is centrally processed and distributed, without much adaptation to new digital media realities. Who can disrupt these old models and innovate? Can disruptive innovators emerge from among provincial journalists?