Anil Thakraney: Need more Choppergate stories

18 Feb,2013

By Anil Thakraney


I think someone’s gotta do a viewership measurement study for the Choppergate coverage. No, not to suss which channel got the most eyeballs (I can already see Arnab babu claiming the championship), but to check exactly how many Indians actually watched the television coverage. This is because I am beginning to suspect India is tiring of scam stories, the janata may have reached a point of disinterest in corruption. And this is because there’s a financial scam happening every other day, and it’s now become an Indian way of life, much like spitting and pissing on the streets. Naturally, our politicians and babus would be mighty elated if indeed that is the case.


Having (ruefully) said the above, the media still has to do its job, it still has to report the bloody scams. And what gladdened me is that almost all the TV channels went into the investigative mode on Choppergate. Reporters got flown to Milan (lucky guys!), anchors went deep into facts and figures, and there was a healthy competition to unearth more dirt than the rival channel. I particularly liked NDTV’s Vishnu Som’s work, who presented his bar charts as if he was talking to school students. While it was a bit funny, I liked the analytical passion he displayed. Now this is television I appreciate. Because this is asli journalism, as against the gasbag debates that happen each evening. When the same group of farts arrives, and farts about every possible thing under the sun. And it gets particularly noxious during TV dinners. It is these mindless debates that have driven many viewers away from desi TV news. That’s not journalism, that’s nautanki.


Choppergate reminded us that the news channel folks do have the will and the skill to carry out investigative journalism when they deign to. And am hoping we get to watch more of it in the future. In any case, there cannot be a greater joy for a journalist than an expose well executed. It also makes the audiences take news channels more seriously. Am hoping this will be a turning point for news television in India, though I suspect I am wrong. For some reason, editors seem to enjoy all the prime time gassing. Sigh!




PS: Very good slice-of-life commercial. Brits in particular would identify with this. And surprisingly, it comes from McDonald’s, who aren’t renowned for great advertising work (though their ad for McSpicy, which I reviewed last week, isn’t bad). Wonderful story that culminates naturally with the brand.



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