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24 Jun 2007

All Eyes, No Brains

Posted by Oblivion in General | 2:23pm

It seems that entertaining the masses has become the foremost objective of media. The Times of India is the pioneer in this regard of making entertainment more important than information. Sensationalism has taken the driver's seat, objective reporting be damned! Among the host of 24x7 newschannels, not a single one dares to not give in to the fixation for TRPs and upping the advertising revenue. Thanks to these eternally insomniac producers of kitsch, the word "exclusive" will soon join - if it has not already - those that drive a chap to the limit of anger.

In retrospect, the days of Doordarshan appear much better. Bland and limited footage, but non-intrusive and crisp. Just the way reporting ought be. Tight schedule and small teams meant they had no time to blabber about reality shows, bollywood weddings, and openings of superstar movies. No stupid talkshows, no cosmetic copy, and news was just news. I liked the Prannoy Roy of The World This Week and election analyses, not the one who does boring talkshow stuff now.

These days, there's no news - they are rather short films and docu dramas, complete with transition effects and background score. A few weeks ago when a bomb blast happened in Hyderabad, a popular newschannel aired exclusive footage of the blast! What surprised me most was the perfect placing of camera, its focus and angle to catch the sudden flight of birds at the moment of the blast. What are the odds for it being a coincidence that the cameraman was at the right place at the right time of an absolutely unpredictable event? Many people had raised this question but it proved futile, for nobody pursued it further. The unhealthy drive for sensationalising events and airing exclusive footage has gone to dangerous extent.

Even though the proliferation of channels generated employment for many, nothing has been done about assessing the quality of reporters. But then when money is all that matters, you can't expect them to do any better than roping in pretty young things, trained better in phony accent than fundamentals of reporting, and passing them as bright reporters who know their job. I don't have anything against pretty sights on the idiot box - it would certainly be exciting to watch them strip as they talk about fashion shows, stay-young tips and tricks, celebrity gossip and other such bullshit. But when it's about analysis of economic growth, refugees, Satyajit Ray retrospective, Beethoven's symphonies, I'd prefer a reporter with girl-next-door looks, brilliant at analysis, prudent and straight at reporting to a gorgeous babe passing off ridiculous conclusions.

They find scholars and academics boring. Let you be a celebrity and they will consult you for opinions on issues ranging from world peace to consumerism to communal riots to political ethics. If you attracted controversy, the more popular you will be in interview and talkshow circuit. That is why Rakhi Sawant gained more airtime - in main features, let alone filmi and gossip ones - by showing skin than Amartya Sen could manage by winning the Nobel. The scene is so appalling that I enjoy Cyrus Broacha's The Week That Wasn't better than I do any newscast.      

Print medium still has a few better chaps, and that is definitely a consolation. In entirety, though, Indian media would need decades to achieve even a tolerable level of maturity. Till then, I'll do better using the idiot box to watch only sports and ads.

Current Mood: Happy
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2 Comments | "All Eyes, No Brains" »

  1. By Vj

    10 Jul 2007, 8:20pm [ Reply ]

    It helps to read a sentence completely before switching on the habit of drawing conclusions :-) More importantly, read everything to get the inference correct.

    If you insist on taking just a part of a sentence/quote to construct your own context and infer conclusions - wholly contrary to what the speaker/writer had suggested - then you will make a great reporter or politician or lawyer :-)

  2. By manik

    10 Jul 2007, 5:47pm [ Reply ]

    I think u have something personally against good looks...its the knowledge and presentation of analysis that matters not the looks...giving a statement like "I'd rather presfer girl next door" shows the narrowness of ur mind...pity

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