Friday, June 13, 2014

The News That..Isn't!!

My 3 year old niece, Nonie is very fascinated with colours. When she wants to show us colours, she picks up one of those instant juice powders, pours it into a bottle full of water and says “orange”. Sometimes she wants to show us another colour, and there goes another bottle, with her gurgling “yellow”, (all wide eyed) .When she wants to impress (or educate) us even more, she mixes two to three packets in one bottle itself, to the chagrin of her mom, on whom the duty of drinking it lies.
Indian news channels are somewhat similar to little Nonie’s bottles. Last evening, I was persistent on watching the bit about the new Infosys CEO and my dad wanted to watch the high tide in Mumbai. We ended up doing nothing for the next half hour except switch from one news channel to another, in the vain pursuit for at least ONE of our topics. In one, there was SRK advertising paint, or gum, or whatever, the other was FIFA tinged, and the third had a panel discussion with these 5 people who could literally do nothing about whatever topic it was, and were most likely brought for their high CQ (controversy quotient) .In the end, thoroughly befuddled and fully frustrated, we shut the damn thing off. Whew!
Not two days ago all channels were fixated on Badaun, protesting against the rape (which seems to have turned infectious, for the rape-spate continues).Yesterday, FIFA and the furore over Goa’s ministers attending the quarterfinals erupted all over. Badaun was literally, in the “News Flash” item, crammed with the list of the IAS qualified ,the compensation for the victims in HP, and a celebrity’s child (sometimes I think they take the word too literally, and the items in the news flash are literally displayed for as long as a flash in a camera, or the lightening. Or they just can’t wait for people to read slowly ,and this is a way to promote speed read. Fascinating)
I remember the times when we were not overcrowded by more than 20 news channels (<80,if one includes regional networks),where news was restrained to a one hour bulletin,where panel discussions were non-existent and where Arnab Goswami ,Barkha Dutt and Rajdeep Sardesai worked for the same channel. Like Nonie’s orange bottle, one channel covers only News A. Like her yellow bottle, one covers News B, which is a pole apart from News A. And the mixed bottle is worse of all—news seamlessly moves from one topic to another in a blink-and-you-miss-it fashion. If a second ago, you were in Bombay rains, a second later you are knee deep in the Ukraine fiasco. I agree news is capricious by nature, but media guys, kindly prioritize! Please give sufficient time to each news item instead of discarding one incomplete one for another. We are already confused as it is, what with Whatsapp, Blackberry messenger and Google and one taking over the other. Please bring at least some clarity to our lives, instead of messing around with it even more!



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