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Astana, Kazakhstan • 25 February, 2024 | 13:41

What Are the Most Common Trends in Modern Kazakh Media?

How technology has transformed our news consumption cycle

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On February 2, Kazakhstan for the first time celebrated National Press Day. The date was chosen to commemorate the first issue of Qazaq newspaper published 111 years ago in 1913. This was the foundation of domestic professional journalism, as the newspaper pages featured publications by renowned Kazakh intellectuals such as Ahmet Baitursynuly, Mirzhakyp Dulatuly, and Alikhan Bokeikhan, among others.

While the day is dedicated to printed media only, it is a great occasion to embark on the changes and trends of contemporary journalism in Kazakhstan as a whole.

Shift to social media

Kazakhstan’s media landscape has seen a notable shift in its news dissemination approach, as social media platforms have gained popularity more than ever. The most prominent example is news outlets increasingly turning to the Telegram messenger platform to deliver real-time updates and breaking news. While conventional news websites still dominate in reader count, channels of those websites have become a go-to source for tens and even hundreds of thousands of users. Nonetheless, media in Kazakhstan still use Telegram and other messengers/social media as means to redirect readers to the full article rather than platforms to post full publications.

It can be assumed that the perceived spontaneity, variety in tone of voice (Telegram channels tend to be more informal in style), as well as ease of use of the platform, largely contributed to such a shift in consumption— most media outlets can now bombard their audience with live updates from any event at such a speed that the news publication pipeline can take under a minute. Even some press releases from officials are first published on Telegram before being spread across the Kaznet.

This convenience standpoint makes It hard to predict whether news apps in Kazakhstan — another modern way to consume information — will be able to retain the audience in the long run. Unlike many Western media, Kazakhstan’s news apps hardly ever have any 'paywalls', or extra subscription-tier content.

Citizen journalism

Similar to how computers ‘democratized’ the music recording industry, social media has become a relentless generator of news tips, hot topics, and reactions. This does not mean that user-generated content has become a replacement for traditional news; instead, journalists use such content to create articles of their own, raising awareness on certain issues or contacting the correspondent authorities to comment on, say, “a shocking video that disgruntled the users”.

Fact-checking and data-driven storytelling

The abundance of untruthful (intentionally or not) and even AI-generated content has made journalism more challenging than ever, requiring scrupulous fact-checking. In addition to dedicated fact-checking websites, it has become quite common for news agencies in Kazakhstan to “bust the myths” either by investigating fresh fakes themselves or publishing official responses.

Fortunately, this growing need to fact-check data found online has led to the creation of media and analytical resources that focus on visual storytelling and statistics. Technical tools allow for quick data analysis but require certain dedication to avoid biases and unreasonable conclusions when analyzing the trends.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or stance of The Qazaqstan Monitor.

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