How SA media covered Rugby World Cup.
Picture: coutersy of exploringafrica.matrix
The just concluded rugby world cup in France in South African team, Springboks trashed the England team was just one of the opportunities that the media ought to have used to market the country a head of the much waited Fifa world cup in 2010. Writes Clifford Derrick.
Though the rugby was played outside the country, it presented an opportunity for the media to exploit new technological tools brought by the internet to innovatively deliver every bit of information at the audience’s laptops or cell phones. But whereas the countries media arguably tried their level best to exploit new technology, several reasons impeded their efforts to utilise new technology to the maximum. This review looks at some of these issues and concludes that the impediments to proper appreciation and utilization of new technological tools is likely to affect even the 2010 Fifa World Cup, which is less than 33 months away.
During the promotion of the match some days before the real game, the media increased the amount of coverage by dominating every available minute of their bulletin with the high debate around the battle of titans. Internet especially charts engines such as face book was jammed by people discussing their expectations of the team. Mobile phones were jammed with short messages around who is who in the team and how each is going to be depended on.
Exploited or unexploited technological tools
Now on the real media, web 2.0 tools which are designed to make life easy by simplifying tasks, (O’Reilly, 2006:42) become handy as some of its products such as Really Simple Syndication (RSS) made it simple for individuals to stream latest information from the media straight into their laptops and mobile phones. People needed not to wait until evening to be updated on the health, weather and other activities that were going around the rugby players. On this front, the Sunday Times is lauded for utilising this tool at least to satisfy its audiences. Del.icio.us
Another web 2.0 tecnological product which must have been definitely been used by the savvy media during the covrage of rugby world cup is del.icio.us. This is a social bookmarking web service for storing, sharing, and discovering web bookmarks. (Wikipidia 2006) del.icio.us uses tags, which is a key word term used by folksonomy to classify contents. This tool allows the user to only get what they want in the news. I am yet to identify any media which used del.icio.us during the ragby world cup yet this too is very useful and can be used to open accounts where edictors could receive specific stories on particular star players and couches during that World Cup. Other accounts for different topics could also be opened to help monitor sensitive activities that ware taking place within the team. The information received could then be developed into a major story or could be redistributed to the audiences through various media charnels especilly radios. Such infoamtions could then be streamed to audeinces though their laptops and mobile phones. Googlemap and Youtube Other possible tools that the media could have exploited are Youtube and Googlemap which could easily be used together to locate the studium where the much was being played. Youtube then could have been useful in downloading the videos of the match, or other activities around the match directly to the audinces gadgets. Googlemap also operate proper with flicker which is responsible for managing pictures. Some radions stations such as SAFM, Umlobo Wenene and Radio 709 utilised ipod and RSS to stream the audio from the match.
Why technology was not properly exploited
A number of technological potentials were however not exploited during the Sprinkboks rugby world cup due to a number of reasons. Top on the list is what Alzouma calls digital devide the new technology is threatening to create especially in Africa. Majority of the South Africans are poor and can not afford the gadgets that would make new technology to have an impact to them. For this matter, the media cannot waste their resources to employ tecnologies that will not make proper meaning to the geneal public. Though this argument can be countered with the facts that media is driven by the need to make profit and therefore do not need to please the poor yet those few rich audeinces can support their revenue base, the reality is that the poor also forms a huge resource base for the media. The media also has the public duty to serve the poor. The second reason for lack of proper use of new technology is to do with skilled human resources especially in the area of information technology. Most of the journalists in the media industry tend to shy away from exploring new technolgy and this has a seriouse impact even on the future development and proper utilisation of new trchnology.
These issues may perhaps exaplain why, though in theory I may enumerate various tehchnologies that have been utilized during the rugby world cup finals, the reality still remains that proper appreaciation and utilization of new technological tools remain illusions that will not be realised soon, not even during the Fifa Worldcup 2010 because of the economic and social imbalances in the country.