So near, but yet so far

10 Oct,2011

In one of those delightful ironies which make life interesting, Karan Thapar’s The Last Word on CNNIBN featured three newspaper editors to discuss the question of whether the media did enough to get details about Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s illness.

Here you had four journalists discussing “the media” as if it was some animal in a zoo, with whom they had only spectator contact. N Ram of the Hindu, Kumar Ketkar of Divya Marathi and Chandan Mitra of The Pioneer could not explain to us what their own newspapers had done to inform their readers about Gandhi’s mysterious illness. What is this “the media” they are talking about? The media is them.

Instead they discussed a colonial hangover, the love or Jawaharlal Nehru, respecting laws of privacy, fear of Sonia Gandhi and a host of reasons for the media’s failure. This would have been okay if the panel was not made up of three working editors of three newspapers.




The television media’s insistence that J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah answer questions about the custodial death of a National Conference worker lead to a almost-funny situation where anchor extraordinaire, Arnab Goswami of Times Now, was rendered silent by Abdullah’s belligerence. As Goswami demanded answers (for the sake of India), Abdullah asked some pertinent questions about the way investigations are conducted in India, which left Goswami lost for words, looking down and away from the camera.

Team Anna representative Kiran Bedi was in a similar situation on Times Now later when she could not answer a simple question from Kumar Ketkar: if Team Anna claimed that the whole country was with them why were they so frightened of getting a two-thirds majority vote in Parliament? Bedi had no answers for Ketkar or indeed for Goswami or the analysis put forward by Crest’s political editor Arati Jerath.



The lack of depth of TV is exposed again and again whenever there are no dramatic events to follow. Print journalists have to come to the rescue every time – whether on TV or in print – to provide perspective and analysis.

This constant desire for drama and old-fashioned Indian style “jatra” at prime time sadly shows up TV on the slow days.



Newspapers are luckier of course because the front page presents whatever the editorial team considers to be the bog news of the day. It is a boon to decide what to choose when you don’t have to look for the loudest guests and try and save the nation at every given moment.

The big problem for newspapers – especially in English – is the same one which irks Infosys mentor Narayana Murthy about the standard of students at IIT: bad English and bad grammar. Chetan Bhagat can perhaps get away with it, but newspapers should not.

Examples of boo-boos big and small are welcome.

Related Stories

  • No Related Stories Found
Post a Comment 

One response to “So near, but yet so far”

  1. Ananda Puranik says:

    I could not believe that the Times Now Anchor was finally put in place. Journalists are emant to be neutral but then it never does happen.

Today's Top Stories