Expect the same old, same old this Valentine Day

13 Feb,2012

By Ranjona Banerji


Television is the favourite whipping boy of most media commentators and, for the most part, not only is it justified but it also great fun. (Is it also a coincidence that most media commentators have a print background?) But this Sunday’s newspapers were so dull that TV seemed to be a brutal relentless machine working its poor journalists to the bone with its constant hunger for more and more news and therefore deserving of much sympathy. I get five newspapers on a Sunday and finished the lot in an hour.


Most Sunday papers run on a weekly cycle, which means there is ample time to plan and execute. But instead of fresh ideas and stories, we got the same old, same old. It is amply clear that the cutting of newsgathering resources and the desire to replace all talent with an army of sub-editors and, yes, boys and girls has led to a lack of imagination in newsrooms. Is there any point hoping that this is a temporary trend?


Valentine’s Day, which is tomorrow, therefore threatens to bore us to tears as we read about real and manufactured love, as we did last year and the year before.


We are constantly told in the media that we have to appeal to young audiences but I refuse to believe that every 20-year-old in the country is a dimwit who has no chance of recalling the same claptrap which was fed to him or her last year.


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Can someone in The Times of India please get a promotion quick for wonderful stories to promote the boss’s daughter, so we can stop reading stories about Trishla Jain’s exhibition? The subject seems to have been stretched to the absolute limit.


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TV and print seem to have taken quite opposing views on the army chief and his battle over his date of birth. TV was all for General VK Singh and put the government in the dock – and any studio guests who said otherwise were immediately put in the “unpatriotic” category.


In newspapers however, commentators were more balanced and the dangers of the army chief’s actions were discussed. Now that the Supreme Court has rapped the army chief and the government on the knuckles, a more sober approach is being taken. Well, sort of – some sections of the media have now decided that the army chief must resign to protect his honour.


This obsession with other people’s honour is a new media phenomenon andIndia’s star cricketers are its usual victims.


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