Amid firecrackers, the papers are quieter

01 Nov,2011

By Ranjona Banerji

Although Mumbai is my normal hunting ground, I have spent this Diwali in Hyderabad. And it is wonderful how easily you can get into another news cycle, no matter how unfamiliar at first. There are no large well-packaged newspaper campaigns about roads or health or public transport. The outraged citizen is also more subdued than in Mumbai – Dear sir, I have not yet received my aadhaar card after so many reminders, gentle stuff like that.

Politics is far more in evidence and clearly Tellywood has not overtaken every page of every newspaper the way Bollywood has done to our Mumbai papers. No one can suggest that the Telugu film industry is not huge and does not command a massive fan following or commercial presence. Yet, no film star has jumped out of the pages wishing us Happy Diwali, Halloween or anything else. Happy Days!

Telengana is a big issue obviously, but everything has been a bit quieter over the holidays. Diwali-related allergies, pollution and injuries also got their fair share of attention, proving that social consciousness is a seller.

Between the Times of India and Deccan Chronicle, the former is more national in its outlook and the latter more local. The day after the Metallica concert was cancelled in Gurgaon, TOI led with the story while DC was happy with a single column.

The colour pages however are as full of the vacuous page 3 stuff and the scale varies, presumably depending on celebrity activity, which appears to have been quite slow. Or it could be that local celebs are not yet professional party goers who make deals with photographers to ensure themselves so many pics a week and all from the most flattering angle!



Not surprisingly, the Formula 1 race and the continuing travails and protestations of Team Anna hogged TV and newspaper headlines. The Big Fight on NDTV had a discussion on the corruption charges against Team Anna and its anti-Congress stand at Hisar, featuring former Delhi police commissioner Maxwell Pereira, actor Kabir Bedi, politician Renuka Chowdhury, former TOI editor Dileep Padgaonkar and a young girl from Team Anna. Anchor Vikram Chandra tried to ensure that Team Anna got fair treatment but even he was a bit stunned when Kabir Bedi said that he was not bothered by Kiran Bedi’s creative accounting. Audience members were far more critical.



The fiasco over the Metallica concert in Gurgaon demonstrated how TV needs to up its reporting skills. Anchors and reporters clearly did not have the wherewithal to probe what had gone wrong and relied on unsubstantiated claims made by fans. Oddly, TV channel websites appeared to have more clarity. It took the newspapers the next day to answer most questions. Yet, even now, the facts seem a little hazy, that is, juicy details of why the concert was not held are missing.



Most intriguing of all is the fate of some 130 tourists who have apparently been kidnapped in Lakshadweep. TV ran the story late one night and forgot about it the next morning. Newspapers have been silent and the web, normally a fount of information and misinformation both, has provided only sketchy details. So what’s happened to them?


Related Stories

  • No Related Stories Found
Post a Comment 

Comments are closed.