Navigating Influence: How Social and Traditional Media Forge Political Contenders

by | Jan 14, 2024

In the modern digital age, it is clear that media has a significant influence on political candidates. Social media and traditional media both play a crucial role in shaping public opinion. However, understanding the impact and consequences of these mediums is complex. In this article, we explore the relationship between media platforms and political campaigns, focusing on the experiences of journalists, the rise of far-right figures, and the challenges faced by media outlets in Latin America.

Leading the way in understanding the impact of social and traditional media on political candidates is Vanina Berghella, the director of the Latin American region for the International Fund for Public Interest Media (IFPIM). Berghella has a deep understanding of the media landscape in the region and provides advice, support, and funding to independent media outlets in Central and South America.

Journalists were initially skeptical of social media but have come to recognize its power for showcasing their work and building audiences. Berghella, who started her career as a journalist in the early 2000s, witnessed the evolving role of social media in journalism. She realized that journalists needed to engage with emerging voices alongside traditional media outlets.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of traditional media as a trusted source of information. As communities turned to reliable news sources, traditional media outlets played a vital role in sharing accurate information. However, the challenge of declining advertising revenue is a significant obstacle for both large and small media outlets in Latin America.

One notable figure who has emerged from the media landscape in Argentina is Javier Milei. Gaining popularity as a TV panelist, Milei’s political campaign received attention through traditional media, particularly television. Berghella believes that the media played a role in giving Milei visibility and impact during his political journey. This raises questions about the influence media platforms have on the rise of far-right figures and their impact on public sentiment.

While traditional media outlets have always been involved in political campaigns, social media platforms have also changed their algorithms and priorities, affecting smaller media outlets. Philanthropic support becomes crucial for these outlets to establish and sustain operations, ensuring diverse voices are represented.

The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) raises concerns about regulations and information verification. However, the media seems better prepared for the impact of AI compared to social media. Prioritizing the validation of AI-generated information and relying on qualified sources is crucial to maintain the credibility of media outlets.

To address the credibility crisis experienced by audiences, transparency and self-criticism in journalism are necessary. Responsible usage of social media is also vital, striking a balance between avoiding censorship and preventing chaos.

Over the past two decades, women have made significant progress in securing media management positions, bringing new perspectives and voices to the media landscape.

As Berghella focuses on the financial sustainability of the media, she emphasizes the need for a comprehensive analysis of the impact of social and traditional media on political candidates. Recognizing the complexity of the media landscape and its influence on public opinion, she calls for transparency, self-reflection, and engagement with new voices.

In conclusion, the impact of social media and traditional media on political candidates is a complex phenomenon that requires careful analysis. From the experiences of journalists to the rise of far-right figures and the challenges faced by media outlets in Latin America, understanding the dynamics between media platforms and political campaigns is crucial. As we navigate the ever-changing media landscape, transparency, credibility, and responsible usage are essential to ensure a vibrant and well-informed democracy.