2011 ends with a whimper

02 Jan,2012

By Ranjona Banerji

 

After all the drama of 2011, it ended with a bit of a whimper, news-wise. It was like a news hangover, where the first day of the year doesn’t quite live up to the excitement built up the day before. So after the fall of Hosni Mobarak, the death of Osama Bin Laden, the end of Muammar Ghadafi, the rise and dip in the fortunes of Anna Hazare, the suspended animation of the Lokpal Bill, the winning of the cricket World Cup, the Indian Test collapse in England, the 100th 100 that never happened, 2011 went away quietly. And 2012 just about crept it.

 

TV channels took a well deserved weekend holiday. After all, the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha arguments – oops, sorry, debates – over the Lokpal Bill kept everyone up through the night for several nights in the last week of the year. Our star anchors were saving and serving the nation long beyond their normal working hours as they assessed the situation for their viewers or repeated whatever their reporters said, whichever was applicable at the time.

 

Weekend news TV therefore was a medley of old film songs and some the-year-that- was programming, which also included plenty of songs though not necessarily old. The news that the prime minister was greeted by black flags in Amritsar ran a full 24 hour news cycle. Monday morning’s newspapers just nodded at this information.

 

**

 

Weekend newspapers took us through the year with images and reminder and trends for the future but it was a bit lacklustre, a been-there-done-that nod to print traditions.
By Monday morning, it was back to news as usual and the economy was back in business. Mumbai celebrated New Year’s Eve quietly and with better behaviour than before. A mob molested a girl in Gurgaon, says the Hindustan Times, and the police had to do a lathi-charge to get matters under control. There were also deaths in the national capital, unlike Mumbai which also saw a drop in drunk-driving cases.

 

**

 

Cricket is also back in the headlines as the second Test match in Australia is ready to get underway and hopes and dreams start rising again.

 

**

 

In a sense, the wishy-washy end to the Lokpal bill has sort of dampened enthusiasm. The movement itself petered out, Anna Hazare has been hospitalised and the future of the bill seems shaky. This has left a huge void which is yet to be filled.

 

In 2012, will the media find a new cause or will it be back to the boring task of making do with the news as it happens?

Hmmmmm.

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