Edmundas Jakilaitis (Most influential in news media 2017)
© DELFI / Domantas Pipas

People nominated to the lists of most influential should use their influence for good, rather than bask in their fame, Reitingai journal editor Gintaras Sarafinas told LRT Radio.

Communications expert Arijus Katauskas states that the most influential listings are like a safeguard for people – it is possible to see whether influence is wielded adequately and responsibly.

Objective perception pursued

It is interesting to know who the most influential individuals are, chief editor for the Delfi news portal Monika Garbačiauskaitė-Budrienė told LRT Radio. According to her, knowing about such individuals is also important – "They influence our lives one way or another, be it direct and official influence such as that held by state officials or whether they be pop culture or sports representatives. Some public figures have especially many followers on social media and thus can direct crowds in particular directions."

According to M. Garbačiauskaitė-Budrienė, while making the most influential individual listings, in order to present an objective view, not just elite, but also public opinion surveys were presented. "We want to see what the people think and how it differs from the opinions of the individuals who govern the country. Sometimes it differs greatly, sometimes it matches," she explained.

The chief editor of Delfi states that sometimes the public does not fully grasp the influence of certain individuals, stating that, "Perhaps it does not even have the opportunity to evaluate that influence because there are very niche things such as law or what officials do. People may not have experience with it. For example it is possible to not have direct contact with the Bank of Lithuania and to have no knowledge of what the institution does."

Being listed bequeaths responsibility

Communications expert A. Katauskas stresses that ratings, like nothing else, perform an important function. "People heard names they had not heard before. This is possibly the main benefit that can be gleaned. It is a clear evaluation, the portrayal of an individual or organisation and such. At the same time it is the authorisation of certain politicians and officials," he explains.

According to Katauskas, being on the lists of most influential individuals bequeaths a great deal of responsibility. He states that, "We looked at the list of public figures and we see famous names. Perhaps all those public figures believe that what they are doing becomes far more important. It [the list] is akin to a safeguard for people – it is possible to see whether influence is wielded adequately and responsibly."

The expert points out that the publication of such lists has had varied responses. "There have been claims that this is a public relations trick, that it is unnecessary and such. Yes, we cannot avoid communications when presenting the work of organisations or the government. As such ratings not only speak about the most influential, but also display the effectiveness of communications," he says.

A. Katauskas adds that sometimes it is still said that public relations or communications are unnecessary, but refutes this, stating that, "The number of such claims is on the decline. After all the better a state official, public figure or pop culture figure communicates, the greater their influence and the more change they can bring about."

An enveloping narcissism

The editor of Reitingai journal G. Sarafinas says that regarding the methods used for creating the lists, the listings are shortened because otherwise it would be an impossible task. "The politician listins contain the highest officials, ministers and main mayors. We look at positions. Speaking of business, the richest individuals and association heads are also included. Sports listings – Olympians, trainers, association heads," he explains.

G. Sarafinas states that influence is not necessarily just political, pointing out that, "Pop culture figures and public figures have a great deal of influence. Surveys that display the influence of politicians appear every month, but speaking of businesspeople, public, news media and other figures there is no such thing, thus it is important to know."

According to Sarafinas, in terms of state service, it is notable that from September last year to this summer, around a third of the main state officials change. Former leaders departed the most official listings, while the new ones are struggling upward.

"Let me mention one more thing. When we perform surveys, I feel that most people are enveloped in narcissism. They really want to enter the most influential listings, want to be part of surveys. I am inclined to remind them of the vast responsibility. These people could use their influence for good, for projects in Lithuania and not just bask in being famous and influential. Where you are influential, you can create breakthroughs. Relinquish selfish goals and think how to be of service," G. Sarafinas explains.

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