Mediaah! Dear Editor, Mint: It’s incorrect to damn TV news

31 Jul,2012

By Pradyuman Maheshwari


Click here for Larger view

I find the media coverage in the Mint by far the most balanced from the time it started and was quite surprised to see a bizarre second edit in today’s edition titled ‘The Narrowness of TV news’.


Now we all know the problems with the news on television: it’s often sensationalized, it can go and on over an inconsequential issue and do whatever it takes to garner ratings.


While making a case for its argument on the narrowness, the editorial concludes:

One shouldn’t really be complaining because such coverage ensures the continued relevance of newspapers, which actually cover many more events and issues in, say 20 pages, than news channels do in an entire week, and also provides an opportunity for news websites and news apps to get ahead. Still, such complaints are reasonable because such coverage amplifies the inconsequential at the cost of other, more substantial, stories.


I don’t think there’s anything wrong in what the Mint has said, except that it has made some gross omissions. One, it bases its arguments only on the primetime slots on news channels. For instance, let’s take Times Now among the English. Yes, the 9-10/10.30 blocks are taken up by extended studio discussions on one or two or at most three topics and an end-piece, but at around 8.30 it does carry news snippets from across the country. I must confess I don’t watch enough of news television to be able to give you specific timeslots across networks, but I’m certain every channel has a slot for round-up albeit not at the 9-10pm slot.


Mint’s editorial evidently doesn’t take factor in the news on the Doordarshan channel (DD News) which is possibly more all-encompassing, though the emphasis is more on the ministers and government events.


My peeve against the comment is that it assumes that news in our newspapers is perfect. It may be noted that HT Media, the company that owns and publishes Mint, doesn’t own a news channel, though it actively allies with CNN-IBN for special surveys and events.


The fact is that just as the malaise afflicts news on TV, it also exists in newspapers. In fact there are enough biases in the papers. And these move from news to editorial pages too. A leading national daily who the Mint editors may be familiar with dropped the column of a well-known commentator because he/she had written a slightly negative article on an emerging politician of a disposition that the newspaper group is close to. Then there are cases of paid news and a variety of vested interests at play.


The primetime slot on television news is like the front page of the newspaper. Just as you’ll not get a hundred news stories on Page 1, the same holds good for television news.


So to damn the content mix of one medium on its editorial page is not on, dear editors of Mint. The decay is huger in print – in the big and small cities. The narrowness exists in newspapers too — on the news pages and beyond.


Buzz me if you have a story to tell. Confidentiality assured. There are various ways you can reach Mediaah!: pradyumanm[at], Gtalk, BBM 29FEA79C. Twitter @pmahesh and of course the mobile: 98338 76278.  The views expressed here are my own.


Post a Comment 

One response to “Mediaah! Dear Editor, Mint: It’s incorrect to damn TV news”

  1. kk says:

    and there are vary many newspapers that do shitty job but remain unnoticed because of they are not necessarily published from delhi or mumbai. but channels don’t have such boundaries. any channel can be seen anywhere, which makes us believe, the TV grossly does bad work, which is true for newspapers as well actually.