Understanding the Sri Lankan Media

Efficient decision making on matters that impacts the public arena requires a thorough understanding of the factors that shape public opinion. In order to acquire such an understanding, it is crucial to examine the vernacular press and its role in public opinion formation. Verité Research has been conducting research and analysis into the vernacular media since its inception in 2010. Built on the foundation of this experience and expertise, Verité offers clients a nuanced understanding of public debates and discourses through the following media-related products.

The Media Analysis (TMA) is Verité’s signature product. TMA fills a void in mainstream political analysis by examining the vernacular media to obtain insights into the pulse of the Sinhala and Tamil speaking public. It does this by summarising and analysing reportage in all the major Sinhala and Tamil newspapers on the three most discussed issues of the previous week. The weekly analysis identifies the nuances of reporting on each issue with the objective of identifying and explaining the political and/or cultural assumptions underlying the reporting. Additionally, each issue of TMA contains a ‘gap analysis’ that assesses the differences in reportage between the Sinhala and Tamil press. TMA is emailed to subscribers early on Wednesday mornings.

TMA is essential reading for clients in the development, diplomatic and corporate fields that inhabit the limited world of the English-speaking press but seek a deeper understanding of the processes and mindsets that drive politics and people in Sri Lanka. Current subscribers of TMA include the Harvard Kennedy School and Cornell University.

FrontPage (FP) is a news summary that captures the day’s headlines and presents succinct summaries of the political news reported on front pages of the 10 most widely read Sinhala and Tamil newspapers (7 Sinhala & 3 Tamil). The product is emailed to its subscribers by 0930 on the five working days of the week. In less than 10 minutes, FP allows readers to obtain insight into the issues that are being discussed in corridors of power and teas shops in all corners of the nation – not just in Colombo. Additionally, it allows readers to quickly discern which topics are of common public interest and which are burning points only for selective demographics. Thus, FrontPage provides a unique insight into the parallel worlds that inhabit one nation.

FP is an ideal product for the busy diplomat, development worker, academic, student, corporate executive, bureaucrat and politician who has an interest in keeping up to date with the latest news. FP is an ideal complement to TMA and can be subscribed as part of a TMA package or as a separate product.

Verité’s Media Monitoring (VMM) is a product that is offered to clients who are interested in tracking the portrayal of a particular issue in the media over time. Typical clients include development agencies that are interested in tracking media coverage on issues or areas that they are working in or supporting; embassies that want to track issues that are of relevance or concern to their foreign relations; corporates who want to be mindful of political sensitivities in their areas of operation; and research or academic institutes that are researching a particular topic or a geographic area.

The MMS product includes:

  • Daily monitoring of Sinhala, Tamil and English press;
  • Weekly or monthly links/reports;
  • Quantitative and qualitative reports; and
  • On-site briefings.