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Communication students tune in to new world of digital news sources

Aug 16. 2015
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NOWADAYS, people can receive news through so many outlets, be they papers, television, or social media.
However Thai teens, in the wake of this digitalised world, tend to obtain most of their information via social media, due to its greater convenience.
As a result, Communication Arts have had to adapt their teaching methods and content of lessons to cope with the new generations’ behavioural shift in getting information via online sources rather than print. 
Nation University’s Faculty of Communication Arts associate dean Cheevin Soonsatham said the institute’s programmes in advertising, public relations, programme production and new media creation have been adjusted to meet people’s content-receiving behaviour and current context. It ensures students’ knowledge of both old media and emphasis on new media.
“People today are using social media as normal because it yields news and information fast and conveniently, but students’ newspaper reading hasn’t gone away, although it’s much reduced,” he said, adding that students were also urged to check the credibility of information and sources.
Bangkok University’s School of Communication Arts dean Peeraya Hanpongpandh said the school had adjusted its undergraduate curriculum since 2012 to meet the new generation’s needs and applied new technologies to prepare them for the digital age.
The graduate course had added a digital marketing programme, while the teaching of PhD candidates included social media, Peeraya said. The school still retains newspapers and magazines for students’ wider experience. She said the latest edition had adjusted content to fit modern lifestyles and had been promoted via social media, including a Facebook clip.
Dhurakij Pundit University’s Faculty of Communication Arts deputy dean Karada Ruampum said young people seemed to have shorter attention spans when getting information via the media. As a result, social media can cater for them [more effectively], while reading newspapers took too long and they now read fewer newspapers or even watch less television.
Youths were were more interested in entertainment and lifestyle information, she said. Social media was easy to access as it comes via smart phones around the clock.
The university adjusted its curriculum to cover mainstream media and various contexts that allow the emergence of new media and technologies. The content must be clearer because news now spreads fast, far and wide.
Karada said ethics and law must also be emphasised because fast “instant” news can yield more mistakes, meaning accuracy and respect among those involved in the process are important.
A “Communication Literacy” skill would also be taught in the curriculum so students could screen news gathering. Social media would be involved in the teaching and learning so as to make it fun and interesting and relevant (via real-life examples), she said.
The new curriculum would also ensure that graduates could achieve everything their jobs required, catering to the job market’s demand for highly competitive and more current manpower.
According to a survey by five undergraduates, young generations are foregoing the use of newspapers and embracing more online sources.
“Twitter is where I get more information, especially local news. As I carefully read from reliable distributors, I’m quite certain of accuracy,” said Pornisee Easupaphan, an engineering student from the Faculty of Engineering, Kasetsart University. She said she rarely reads newspapers, the last time was a year ago.
“I collected most information via Facebook, which is convenient and easy to access, as well as other news websites like ‘Sanook’ and ‘Khaosod’, said Anutida Lohasiri from the Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University. She said it was three months since she last read a newspaper.
“I normally look at the source shared on Facebook, which can be inaccurate at times as the content itself sometimes does not match the original source. However, I believe most of the information shared on the official fan-page,” said Supisara Prasopsuk from Faculty of Medicine at Thammasat University.
“Television is the source I choose to receive news from as I like its analysis sessions, which make the content even more solid in my opinion,” said Paranya Katchasan from the Faculty of Health Science at Srinakharinwirot University.
“I receive information through all media channels, depending on the time [I have] and I always update myself on all kinds of news, including business and sports, even though I do not go in for much detail,” said Kamonthon Komarathat from the Faculty of Communication Arts, Nation University. Even though Kamonthon reads the newspaper about three times per week, she still prefers to visit websites and collect the information online, she said.

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