News media and, so on

Yesterday I read a tweet from Sagarika Ghose that got me thinking a bit. For those who don’t want to click the link, here’s the exact tweet : am always shocked at the vicious hatred of me, and other anchors, I find on the net. whats the reason for this hatred from total strangers? (italics are mine to separate the text from the surrounding ones).

I am inclined to think that she misses the point. A whole part of that “vicious hatred” arises from the fusion of demanding that the media uphold itself to a higher standard and, report “news” besides doing investigations. Sadly, what passes as “Breaking News” on most TV channels cannot be considered news at all. Least of all, breaking news worthy. This brings us to the second point – in earlier days of the print media, there would be a larger number of well thought out investigative reports which resulted in exposes. Take a look now – the media is happily content reacting to any national emergency while putting out ill-stitched theories and conjectures.

The important part is that based on the legacy Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghose, Barkha Dutt, Prannoy Roy, Arnab Goswami and a lot of others bring to the table, one does expect their channels to have a higher standard of reporting, analysis. Instead, what one gets are inevitably shrill or, high pitched monologues from the anchors themselves, a somewhat jaded and familiar set of panel participants and, the same old cliched explanations and expressions. In case of Sagarika, what is more annoying is her tendency to restate and rephrase a single sentence in at least two diferent ways (example: what ails the BJP is what we would be talking about after the break. When we return from this short break we would like to look deeper and see what is wrong with the BJP and what is the future of this party). That works fairly well in a school. Not when you have a bunch of folks watching TV who have access to various sources of news.

And, this is important. For a long long time, The World This Week (TWTW) was the window to information from around the world. Easy access to internets and ability to tap into multiple analysis of the same events have made it reasonably simple for viewers of these channels to be pre-informed, or, have a concurrent experience (watch TV, surf news sources, mesh two together). The channels aren’t appreciating that. So, what comes across is a much polished version of what IndiaTV dishes out – inane programs filling up time.

Then, there is the selective myopia. We simply choose to ignore large parts of the nation, or, larger local news if there is something that is instant news-worthy going on. For example, how many channels had a complete coverage and analysis of what went on during the elections in Arunachal Pradesh ? How many channels are being able to provide an insight into the recent events at West Bengal ? There is simply too much focus on what is deemed to be news vis-a-vis what is actually news. Till the channels realize this, it would be difficult to get across to the viewers.

The post is brought to you by lekhonee v0.7

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