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Publish online,  print, or a convergence between the two? The questions at the SIGNIS Indonesia Sumatra Region meeting

Do you want to publish online, in print, or a convergence between the two?

This question became a hot topic of conversation among SIGNIS Indonesia Sumatra Region members, who met in Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia from the 7th to the 9th of November, 2023. They are 34 media activists from the Commission for Social Communications of six dioceses: Archdiocese of Palembang, Diocese of Tanjungkarang, Diocese of Pangkal Pinang, Archdiocese of Medan, Diocese of Sibolga, and Diocese of Padang. There is also Radio Maria Indonesia which is domiciled in Medan.

The meeting with the theme of print and online media management was resourced by Bernadetta Widiandajani (Vice President SIGNIS Indonesia), Hasiholan Siagian (Majalah HIDUP), and Father Frans de Sales SCJ (Head of Social Communication Commission of Palembang Archdiocese). On the first day, Widi presented the results of a survey on the condition of print and online media in the Dioceses of the Sumatra Region. This includes people’s interest in the presence of print and online media and independence in media funding.

Three years ago, the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the presence of vacuum-printed magazines. This is due to the vacuum of church activities. A website is the solution chosen so that news can continue to be published online. However, in this endemic era, each commission plans to revive its print media.

“We have to see whether the media that will be printed is still needed by the people or if it’s just an assumption?” Widi asked.

Based on survey results in each diocese, people still need print media. This is because some areas in the dioceses still do not have internet signal to access online media and the older generation prefers print media to digital media.

On the second day, the participants were invited to refresh what was needed if they wanted to publish printed media. Hasiholan provided material on managing printing media using the basic principles of management, planning, organizing, actuating, and controlling.

From these principles, he emphasized the planning part. First, participants are asked to determine the publication time, which can be weekly or monthly. Second, they were asked to create a media editorial team, consisting of the editor-in-chief, managing editor, designer, journalists and contributors. Third, business and marketing consists of budgeting, budget realization, managing advertising and funding sources, and promotions and sales.

Not only media management, but content in the media is also in the spotlight of SIGNIS Indonesia Sumatra Region. Father Frans, who has decades of experience in the field of journalism, provided tips on how to write interestingly.

He explained an inverted pyramid technique for presenting news. “This technique presents important information first, followed by additional information,” he explained.

This, said Father Frans, is in accordance with the nature of the news which must be conveyed immediately. He also invited the participants to create an interesting lead or opening paragraph.

“SIGNIS Indonesia thinks that management content can empower the way we share information. In this meeting, which is inter-regional and involves especially youth, we are looking at studying different ways to spread news and information. We can really support it”, said Widi. 

Kristiana Rinawati, Young Journalist from SIGNIS Indonesia Sumatra Region


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