Ranjona Banerji: Good to hear sports greats on CNN-IBN

31 Jul,2012

Ranjona Banerji

By Ranjona Banerji

 

Which is bigger news wise? Gagan Narang winning an Olympic bronze, the collapse of the Northern grid leading eight states, including the national capital, powerless for close to eight hours or a fire in a train in Tamil Nadu leading to at least 30 deaths? It’s a tough call to some but most newspapers decided that “feel good” was the way to go and Narang got top billing therefore. After that, as far as Mumbai’s big two broadsheets are concerned it looks like Hindustan Times exercised better judgment than The Times of India. HT Mumbai took the power grid collapse as the second lead and carried the train accident just above the fold, giving all there prominence. Times of India gave the power story a single column and then decided to go what used to be the DNA way when I worked there – fill every page with 80,000 stories. This can be counter-productive: the reader may be impressed that you have so much news but gets confused about which tiny bit to read first.

 

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Primetime TV news was on its usual trip. These days, they have permanent scanners on Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and on members of the Anna Hazare-led India Against Corruption movement. And when the two converge, nothing like it! Every time Modi sneezes or Arvind Kejriwal hiccups, we get a panel discussion. The same people mysteriously appear on every channel at the same time. They say the same things. And most sensible people are either watching the Olympics, Masterchef Australia, going out for dinner or reading a book.

 

But I have to give a shout out to Arnab Goswami for his impassioned speech about the flip flops in the Anna Hazare movement. And good effort by Rajdeep Sardesai, trying to make some sense of why safety is not a priority for the Indian Railways.

 

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Olympics coverage has been good across most newspapers – although sometimes with too much focus on India. The world’s best athletes have gathered to demonstrate their prowess after all, so more about them please. But the winner for me would be the special discussions on CNN-IBN with Michael Ferreira, Geet Sethi, Vimal Kumar, Enrico Piperno, Raghavendra Rathore and others. It’s illuminating to hear sports greats discussing other sportspersons and recounting their own experiences without losing their tempers. Getting the great Carl Lewis is a good coup as well.

 

Times Now has the squeaky and annoying Boria Majumdar so I am afraid to go there.

 

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While on sports, he’s a good friend of mine but I defy anyone to anyone to make sense of Bobbili Vijay Kumar’s attempt in yesterday’s Times of India to try and give a cricket spin to archery just because the Olympic event was taking place at the hallowed ground of Lords. After two paragraphs I knew that even if William Tell’s father stuck an apple on my head I wouldn’t be able to understand it.

 

Ranjona Banerji, senior journalist and commentator and Contributing Editor, MxMIndia, reviews media four times a week. The views here are her own.

 

 

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