‘Competition breeds quality’

Indian news channels seem to be losing no effort in proving this adage wrong. As if the sleaze fest under the garb of crime and investigative reportage did not suffice, the other bulletins also seem to be targeted exclusively towards the lowest common denominator. Unsubstantiated facts, shoddy presentation (those swanky graphics don’t help), anchors who often don’t seem to have the faintest idea of what’s happening (need to use those grey cells once in a while, the desk can’t always spoon feed).

Is Indian broadcast journalism going the way of Indian cinema in the 1970s to 1990s way? Masala sells but it is also flatulent.

The names that once inspired awe and admiration now seem cliché and the new breed only inspires contempt (exceptions always exist). Be it the hyped NDTV, the street smart Aaj Tak or the unfermented Channel 7 (space constraints prevent naming them all) not much separates one from the other. Only Headlines Today, steering clear of elder-sis Aaj Tak lends some semblance of sanity.

This morning NDTV reported that the tourist inflow in Egypt has dropped dramatically from 10 million a year to 3 million a year following last month’s bombing. It’s been only 10 days and they come up with data for a year? Impressive foresight.

NDTV also sent some of its reporters to chase the monsoon. One of them supposedly reporting from Cherrapunjee (one of the wettest spots on the planet) had a river which looked suspiciously like the Brahmaputra on the background. Brahmaputra in Cherra? I must have missed it on my last five visits.

The same reporter also claimed that the rains are being welcomed in this part of the country (Northeastern India) with celebration and fanfare. The rain-drenched welcoming the rains? Interesting discovery.

Election time. The President of India goes to vote accompanied by none else than his ‘wife,’ says an NDTV anchor on live morning news. What a scoop! We all were under the impression that APJ Abdul Kalam was single and definitely not ready to mingle.

NDTV is regarded as one of the best that we have. If this is the best, what’s up with the rest?

I sometimes wonder why did Rajdeep Sardesai quit NDTV?

Am I the only one who feels lost in this mindless maze of ‘new-era’ journalism? Or is it my editorial instinct, which finds imaginary flaws in everything except in me (my flat-mate thinks so)?

TRPs may peak,
But there is always a leak.
Ads are all they seek;
Undies, ghutkas and stuff that ain’t very sleek.
Even Pranoy, he gave us ‘The World This Week’
Is now giving news the Ekta Kapoor tweak.
Us, who want only a quality peek,
On our knees go weak,
Knowing the future, for certain is bleak.

(All that rhymes is not poetry)

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