Friday, February 10, 2006


Nowdays, after Sex and Sharukh Khan, the third ‘S’ that sells in India is Sensationalism. And who understands that term better than the News Channels! Sensationalism was always part of Media, but the last decade or so has seen it go overboard.

Dig this. Star news in the name of a cover story runs the news about the breaking up of Karishma Kapoor with her husband ‘whatshisname’? How important is that to the nation? Another terminology abused by this news channel is ‘breaking news’ and ‘flash news’. Check out the following ‘breaking news’, ‘flash news’ I have come across in this news channel.

BREAKING NEWS: “Shahid and Kareena Kapoor caught kissing”
FLASH NEWS: “Laloo Prasad plays cricket”
BREAKING NEWS: “India won the toss and elected to bat”
FLASH NEWS: “Man slides down a mountain as part of a religious ceremony”
BREAKING NEWS: “Mangal Pandey fares badly in the box office”

I grew up thinking that “Breaking news” or “Flash news” was something which news channels flashed across the TV screen when there was news of “National Importance”. Like the following:

BREAKING NEWS: “Tsunami hits South India”
FLASH NEWS: “Rajiv Gandhi assassinated”
BREAKING NEWS: “India wins Cricket World Cup”

The third one is wishful thinking but definitely “BREAKING NEWS” alright!

So what is causing these news channels to take to sensationalist journalism?

Is it fear of competition? I don’t think so. Because to counter competition in the Media industry, I believe strongly you got to turn to quality journalism. Report truly “ground breaking news”. That’s the only way to remain on top.

A couple of things where I think these news channels have got it completely wrong.

- They got the pulse of the nation all wrong. People, who watch news, DO NOT want to see an analysis of why “Kyunki saas bhi kabhi bahu thi” is doing so well on TV.

- They are concentrating on beating their competition by telecasting any and every news and focusing on blowing it out of proportion.

Living in Dubai I get to view only Star news. Some of their rubbish programs include:

- Match ke Mujrim: A “below the belt” program which crucifies cricket players who didn’t do well on a particular day. They haven’t even left out Sachin for Christ’s sake.
- Sansani: An utterly ghastly host, with a hoarse voice assisted by “khufiya camera”. They call it investigative journalism.
- Cover Story: Covers everything but quality news.

The garbage is endless.

India IS a land of great potential. The world has realized this. They view us as an upcoming super power. But, there are so many pressing issues which need to be ironed out in our great nation.

We have so many social, political and economic issues much much greater in importance than an actress’s marriage gone bust or a cricket match or a godforsaken Don (they ran a cover story on Dawood by the way and treated him nothing short of a Demigod, an outsider would think he was Robin hood).

If India is to become a super power, an average citizen HAS to realize the magnitude of these social, political and economic issues. He/she needs to realize what their contribution should be towards the nation. He/she needs to realize their role. The only medium through which this “Realization” can take place is the Media, specifically, the News Channels, given the number of people who own TVs and have a cable connection.

It is high time they started acting responsible.

When and how, they intend to do it? Now that will be “Breaking News” isn’t it?


artnavy said...

I soooo agree with you. It takes the punch out of the real thing and who knows may also lead to a "cry wolf" situation.

lakshmi sujit said...

Good blog. The quality of the news telecasted depends on the quality of the viewer. Think we the people like to know gossips more than the REAL NEWS!!!! Should we change or the news channels????????? - Lakshmi

Hot Chocolate said...

Vinay, I would like to add one more 'S' to the list besides SEX, Shah Rukh Khan and Sensationalism...and it is SPECULATION! It's good that you get to watch only Star News in Dubai but the unfortunate souls like me, here in India, have to put up with this so called ‘Number One News Channel’, NDTV 24x7, which has mastered the art of SPECULATION!

They would beat any news channel in the world, in this ‘art’ and if ever there is an award for the BEST NEWS SPECULATOR, NDTV would win hands down!

Essar said...

Hi. Thats an impressive article. True that despite a lot of relevant news waititng to be telecast, channels focus only on irrelevant and the mediorce. Hope in due course of time they get the act right. You are lucky you do not get to see the latest kid in the block - TIMES NOW!!!