It was raining and the reporter was drenched. He was literally gasping for breath…he had been there all day long,”Breaking” the news. ‘The Action’ had been absorbing and draining. The whole country was hooked on to this story..or so he thought. A little extra from the reporter would have made the whole thing sound like a happening terrorist attack.. ..
This is how I felt when I saw Shivnath Thukral (NDTV) cover the Ambani Bros patch up(I am serious about every word of what I have said) . All bulletins were hijacked by this issue…and ST was the hero for abt 4-5 hrs. Ofcourse, this is an old one.. but this is one image that stuck to my mind as being representative of the attitude of the TV channels towards reporting news. If this is NDTV’s state, Headlines Today needs no clarification..only “Headlines”.
Just look at NDTV’s daily Schedule :
Breakfast Your Day, Today’s Breaking Story,News at 10,News at Noon ,Nationwide,News and Sports Update,The Evening News ,Prime Time,News Now
All of this is just a sexed up way of saying : News every half hour and ya..Anchor changes every two hours. BBC/CNN seem to manage pretty well with news every hour even though they cater to a much larger audience. They also have many broadcasts which go much beyond ‘current’ affairs. Our desi channels have an almost blank sheet in this regard.
Are you looking for a subtle/poignant portrayal of an issue??..Sorry! No place for such reporting in this maddening race towards breaking stories. The coverage of the Delhi Blasts and its aftermath by our TV channels just brought back these thoughts to my mind. Anybody saw Barkha Dutt’s live one hour program from Sarojini Nagar??(a day after the blasts) . Aprt from repeating the “Spirit of Delhi” part.. I don’t think she did much. It was all about sound-bytes.. a few catch phrases. And ya.. there was this NDTV reporter outside the Jaipur stadium who kept telling us that Dhoni has lifted the spirits of the entire country with his knock. He did this all day long. Horrendous!! If this is indeed true.. we must be ashamed as a nation. How on earth does a cricket game compare with a terrorist attack ? Forced to report every hour, this Jaipur reporter was just giving junk news.
These channels are probably in the process of maturing… I only hope that they finally get rid of this culture.
6th Nov, Update : I saw this article (by Sivanti Ninan) in the latest issue of Hindu’s Magazine.. It is specifically about the coverage of the blasts in Delhi.
[..]Live coverage continued through the night, and advertising was never put on hold. Star News was blanking out all else even 24 hours later. The law of blanket disaster coverage is that the less hard news you have, the longer you spin it out[..]
I must add that I felt that the article could have been much less polite 😕