Friday, November 26, 2010

The Media Circus - Some Personal Impressions (My Own Work)

Seeing a flurry of outdoor broadcast vans in a locality, all focussed on cornering a certain news giver, I wonder how news has become so very one-sided and dependent on the news giver and not on independent investigation. This happened around Kitab Mahal a building I used to work in, in Raveline Street. (I don't remember the new name of this street, for me it will always be Raveline Street.) We see the same people come and give their opinions which aren't worth much, anyway. News isn't new anymore, it's stale sound bites from the official position of some official. And most often trial by media has become a reality. The media creates its own set of specialists and they in turn dominate the media. Instead of the media chasing stories these days the media chases personalities who can give sensational revelations exclusively to them. So they ask questions that can shock and even offend. I see great danger in this trend, which has been noticed by many media observers I have read in Outlook's annual issue on the media. 

For example if you have some news of social interest and would like to put it rationally chances are you will not be entertained. The odd person who walks into a newspaper to give news may not be given the cliche-ed shoulder to cry on. He/she may be rebuffed and told to scoot. Unless, unless, he/she turns out to be a celebrity or a moneyed person, that is. Today's news giver may be a person who is narrowly motivated by his/her own interest and not that of society at large. 

One manifestation may be the shrinking of reportage on legal cases - I am told the legal reporter's post has been abolished and has been taken over by the crime reporter. The foreign correspondent is unaffordable these days. The reporting on classical music and theater is virtually absent. The art reviewer is dead as a dodo. Television and radio coverage - once done by the inimitable Amita Malik (television presenters used to quake reading her biting criticism) - is also a big void. And what happened to the stringers who reported from rural areas? 

The alienation people feel about the media is complete when one reads about the doings of our celebrities. There I go again bitching about the media when I should be sleeping. 

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