DUBAI, 5th October, 2022 (WAM) — H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Media Council, today attended a key session featuring John Casey, President and Managing Director, CNBC International, that formed part of a series of discussions held during the opening event of the second day of the 20th edition of the Arab Media Forum (AMF 2022).
A session titled ‘Technology and Trust in Media’ saw the highly respected veteran journalist engaged in a freewheeling conversation with Richard Dean, Presenter, Dubai Eye Radio. The session addressed diverse media issues ranging from technology and editorial values to talent and combating fake news.
Emphasising that the human element continues to be at the heart of business news broadcasting even in a technology-driven world, he said, “We use technology to inform us what the market is saying. Then, old-school editorial judgement kicks in, and we absolutely still require smart journalists with a lot of experience making decisions.”
He acknowledged that technological advancement has helped create sophisticated tools to make editorial decisions.
Emphasising the wisdom of the market, he said that “while the market is not always 100 percent right, it’s usually the smartest guy in the room. We make sure that all information that comes into the newsroom has been stress tested and the best way of stress testing is the market”.
CNBC International prioritises five core topics in its news coverage based on feedback from the market: macro markets, business, technology, geo-politics and China. Geo-politics and China have emerged as key topics for business news over the last five to six years, he noted. “Since the middle of 2016-17, the correlation between politics and money has become tighter and tighter and become part of our core. As the engine of growth for much of the last 15 years, there is a voracious appetite for news about China. About 70-80 percent of our usage, consumption and engagement come from these core topics.”
John Casey has been with CNBC for almost three decades, playing key roles in building editorial and production teams. In his current role, he has steered the growth of CNBC International’s audience across all platforms spanning TV, digital, social and live events, and its network of local language CNBC affiliates including in India, Japan, South Africa, South Korea and Dubai. CNBC International has headquarters in New Jersey, London, Singapore and Abu Dhabi.
Speaking about fake news, Casey said the best way to defuse it is to inculcate a strong culture of integrity and editorial values in the newsroom. “The maligning of information has been happening for a long time and social media has accelerated it significantly. The market may fall foul of fake news but will correct itself shortly thereafter.”
“We put integrity, independence, objectivity and accuracy at the top of the food chain. The commodity our audience least has is time and they rely on us as one of the ingredients in making a decision, whether it is business, economic or investment and if we get it wrong, they will not forgive us,” he said.
He said the primary trait that he looks for when hiring new people is integrity. “The first thing I check for in a CV is evidence of the rigour they apply. The second thing I look for is interesting people, people who are in learning mode. We like people with strong presentation skills. But that is absolutely third fiddle to having integrity and being smart, curious, interesting people.”
Responding to a question on how business news media can strike a balance between information and entertainment, he said, “Once you have delivered information cleanly and accurately to your audience in a way that they can operationalise, if there is a joke to be had or a humorous moment you can inject into the broadcast, or we can have fun with the guest, we’re going to do that because it makes it interesting.”