Media literacy is a critical skill people must learn to succeed in today’s tech-driven society. In his new book TV News 3.0 Zafar Siddiqi provides readers with an insider’s guide to struggles of launching and running news channels in the digital age.
Siddiqi has launched four news channels across three continents (CNBC Arabiya, CNBC Pakistan, CNBC Africa and Samaa TV, also in Pakistan).
By sharing his personal journey of discovery, Siddiqi guides his readers to a richer understanding of what it means to be media literate in today’s world.
The Telegraph in its review of the book has called it an “ebullient read” that “brims with anecdotes”.
“One of the more endearing sees the author haring around London trying to find a parking spot even as his dream of launching a Middle Eastern franchise of the CNBC business network falls apart before his eyes,” says the review.
“CNBC had agreed to enter into a franchise arrangement. But now Siddiqi needed to rustle up $10 million to fund the next phase of the project. The clock was ticking and CNBC was entertaining a rival franchise bid. On a mad dash around London door after door was figuratively slammed in his face. One final meeting had been arranged. But, unable to find anywhere to ditch his motor, he gave up. Just then, a car pulled out, he parked and was soon sitting down with the private banker whose backing would prove crucial to bringing CNBC Arabiya to the airwaves.”
The book also looks at the “far less glamorous business of drawing up a financial plan, appointing a head of news, putting together a team and getting your network on the air”.
It says that the “natural born optimist” paints a realistic picture of the world of media channels.
According to the review, the picture he paints of television news in 2019 is not encouraging. “There has to be something profoundly wrong when we live in a society in which virtually anyone can set themselves up as a purveyor of “news”,” he writes in the book. “Where click-bait and fake news is deliberately concocted to suit political or personal agendas”.
Siddiqi also focuses on the ways on appeal younger audiences. “Don’t consider how your content will look on a big screen in the corner of the living room, but how it will appear on a mobile phone screen being watched on a bus,” he says.
“Whether you’re a captain of the media or a toiling member of the commuting classes, this is an invaluable dollop of wisdom. Siddiqi’s wise, witty book is full of them,” the review adds.
The book has been published by Blue Magpie Books.