Times of India article on Indian blogsThere are usually two ways to earn publicity. The first is a little more tedious; it requires a lot of perspiration and the mandatory one per cent inspiration, with a little (the more the better) talent thrown in. The other is relatively easy, in fact quite easy. All you need to do is to write or say something maligning someone or something. And pronto, the limelight’s on you. This doesn’t apply only to the celebrities, but also the celebrity-thirsty journalists. As K from Press Talk aka Don’t Trust the Indian Media puts it, “the Indian media loves taking the moral high ground.” We (bloggers) have seen such journalists before and seemingly walked right into their trap, giving them an identity that they so desperately wanted. 8-point by-lines do not translate to exposure.

“The Indian media is full of vested interests, idiots who pontificate knowledge (people can accuse this writer of that as well) and predators preying on the infirm and intellectually challenged,” K goes on. If the likes of Ranjan Yumnam and TR Vivek and now Shobhan Saxena, in The Times of India, want us to vent it out against them, let it be their way. After all it is the best that we ‘half-witted failed writers’ can muster best. Now on to the job.

Everyone has a right to be stupid, but some people abuse the privilege.

Right, there is no arguing the fact that the blogosphere has a fair share of its morons, but so does the mainstream media (and increasingly so). The intention was not to compare the world of blog with the world of the paycheque media. But the motive behind the article was one of a comparative analysis. SO am just taking the argument forward.

They want to be read and heard and seen. But their aspiration is blocked by the obnoxious monster called the Editor and their high-voltage facts mixed with slam-dunk fiction, with a lot of typos and commas and semi-colons in wrong places, go down a drain called the Editorial Process.

A blog is essentially a one man show put together in a few hours (often it’s only minutes). Whereas the drain called the ‘Editorial Process’ goes for an entire shift. The reporter comes in with his story, the sub-editor makes the necessary changes and corrections (poor sub-editors), then the chief sub voices his opinions … it is a long process before a reader reads it with his morning cuppa. Even the story ideas come from elsewhere and are often pre-decided by other people. The comparison isn’t entirely on equal terms, but the better bloggers (there are quite a number of them) have very readable posts where high-voltage facts are in fact facts, and all the commas and semi-colons are in their rightfully right places.

The bloggers love to attack those they hate: from McDonald’s to Starbucks to Karl Marx to Mandal to Germaine Greer to the colleague at the next work station.

Yes, that is what expression is all about. From what they write (or have been asked to write) the dislike of the likes of Vivek, Saxena & Co. is obvious. Everyone does it. That is precisely why newspapers had editorial columns in the first place.

Blogs are an online stream of consciousness written by people who believe that they are under orders from someone to change the world.

That ‘someone’ is their own conscience unpaid by the fat advertiser.

But the pace at which the blogosphere is getting cramped with half-wits, religious maniacs, failed writers, sociopaths and cold-blooded killers, is scary. They all scream so loudly that those talking sense have to drop their decibel levels.

“Half-wits, religious maniacs, failed writers, sociopaths and cold-blooded killers,” don’t get read much. The most popular blogs belong to the saner voices.

Every 10 minutes, some three million new bloggers invade the WWW with a vengeance

Now where did he get the figure from? I believe someone mentioned facts somewhere. Now if I total that up I get – 18 million an hour, 432 million in a day and 157.68 billion a year! That is more than 26 blogs for every inhabitant on planet earth.

It looks like the revenge of the amateur who dreams of becoming a reporter.

Is reporting the most sought after profession? 157.68 billion aspiring reporters! The newspapers and news channels can never complain about manpower shortage. The next from Ram Gopal Verma’s stable, “Mein Barkha Dutt Banna Chahti Hoon.”

… in Canada, an “angel of death” wrote a blog before shooting at 20 people. Forget wrong grammar and bad spellings, bloggers are now writing murders on the web.

So, does that mean that the entire blogging community doesn’t have anything else to do. At least the blog will give an insight into the mind of the murderer. If he had instead written a letter to the editor, it would have been flushed down the drain called the ‘Editorial Process.’

Bloggers claim in their hifalutin tones that they want to give a voice to the voiceless and replace the newspapers with their journalism.

Giving a voice to the voiceless part is right, but replacing newspapers? Isn’t that falling for a joke?

It’s good fun, but this is no journalism. Learning and mastering good journalism is tough. You learn it in libraries, on flooded streets, in front of a rioting mob, in the middle of crossfire between a militia and a military, in war trenches, in the corridors of power and in the hamlets of deprivation. Sometimes, a reporter walks for miles in an area ravaged by a tsunami to get one quote from the man hanging on to a tree for a week. Bloggers don’t have to worry about such inane things. They can learn history and politics from Google. They can get their facts from newspapers and then slam them with their halfbaked opinions.

Good journalism is tough; therefore we have so less of it. The less said about Indian war-trench-journalism the better. The corridor-of-power-journalism is what everyone wants to do, but sleazy sensational crime (and passion) is also fast catching up.

Yes, a reporter walks for miles to get one quote from that person hanging from a tree, and what does he ask him. “How do you feel?” Bloggers didn’t worry much about the tsunami nor about the Mumbai floods. Tsunami Help India and Cloudburst Mumbai were setup just to earn some cents from online advertising.

We all have slept our way through school and college and also kept our eyes and ears closed for so many years. Now it is all up to Miss Google to teach us our politics and history. “When did India become independent?” “Just a minute, let me check with Google.” And moreover Google is of no help for ones who are clueless. It takes brains to use Google. Haven’t we heard of terms like desktop journalism and Google journalism? It doesn’t say blogging, it says journalism. Newspapers have been a staple source for facts (before Google) and is there anything wrong with getting facts (if you can call them that) from the newspapers? Half-baked opinions or not, the readers know better. It shouldn’t be forgotten that blogging isn’t the only thing that bloggers do, ther have professions too and many of them are experts in their respective fields and their opinion on a blog matter more than what a fresh J-school pass out has to say.

Going through the visitor statistics of this blog (a very insignificant one in the blogosphere) I am pleasently surprised to find IP addresses from major media houses looking for information in this lowly blog.

And no one can beat Indian bloggers when it comes to self-obsessed preaching, gossiping and bitching. The Indian blog which has made the most news, carries nothing but office gossip of the two leading TV channels. Called warfornews, it leaves nothing to imagination, not even the office memos which are also posted on the blog. They are like a lynch mob who will not spare you if you dare to cross them. If this is a new form of journalism then it’ll make sense only to those who live in a post-modern bubble.

War for News is bitchy. Right. The worst are the comments made on it. But one fact shouldn’t be lost, that blog is run by ‘anonymous’ journalists and the readership and the commentators are overwhelmingly from the media. Does this reflect the state of the Indian blogosphere or the state of the Indian media? Anyway the way the media is prying into the private lives of people and the state of the underwear-stings; it’s just tit for tat.

Eager to make quick bucks, many have already boarded the train of paid bloggers, blowing away their claims of citizen-generated media, free from the restrictions of top-down “old media.”

It’s a bit hypocritical for the ‘old media’ to be making disapproving noises about ‘paid bloggers.’ Blogs might not yet have achieved that credibility, but the ‘venerable old media’ had for long sold its soul and editorial space to the highest bidder.

How much might sections of the media attempt to rubbish the blog, the impact and importance of this phenomenon is not totally lost on them. The substandard blogs on the media websites bear testimony to the fact.

The article was an insignificant one in the inside pages, why did I spend 1500+ words venting venom on this? What else could a disheartened dimwit do? Give some publicity to someone who is desperately seeking that.

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