Challenging future for English media

  • 2010-04-21
  • By Anna-Maria Galojan

TALLINN - The British-Estonian Chamber of Commerce organized an evening with The Independent on April 15. The guest speaker for the event was the editor of newspaper, Hamish McRae, who is also one of the UK’s most respected financial journalists and commentators, and who was named Business and Finance Journalist of the Year 2006 at the British Press Awards.

His lecture was extremely popular among the Estonian public opinion leaders and representatives of different media interests in attendance. McRae is the author of a book that was published in January 2010. The book looks at examples of businesses and communities that have worked, successfully, from all over the world.
McRae explains that the idea behind the ‘What Works’ project was a very simple one: that we should look at success and try and learn from it, rather than have preconceived ideas about why some organizations and communities are successful and why others, which might appear equally promising, are not.
McRae then went on to look at 20 examples from around the world and attempted to draw common lessons from each one.

Asked a question on The Baltic Times and the future of the English speaking media, especially in the Baltic States, the author finds that the future of the Baltic daily is “promising and challenging as it provides vital information and communication not only amongst English-speaking people in the region, but also in non-English speaking countries.”
Regarding the English language, there are a couple of important things to consider, says McRae. These are, first, that anybody can use the language; anyone can adopt it and anyone can change it. Second, he says that in the next 100 years English will radically change; it will develop into a much easier international language with a smaller vocabulary and will be quite unlike present British English.

There already are far more non-native speakers around the world  than native English-speaking people. And the media needs to communicate with people in a language that is adoptive and well known. Every year the necessary and important English speaking media will grow. A lot depends on the approach to issues, such as how one actually communicates with people. One cannot survive without this, because English is the main business and communication language, says McRae.

One huge challenge is Internet online translation, and he questions whether it can really be successful. If so, this will create a completely different approach. If international online translation will really develop, then “I am not so sure of the future of English. But I don’t believe that there will develop a really quality translation in the near future; it is only a slight possibility,” said The Independent editor.

The Independent is a British newspaper published by Alexander Lebedev’s Independent Print Limited.