Jaisurya Das: Tabloidisation of News: Bitching their way into oblivion

28 Feb,2017

By Jaisurya Das

 

The past few months have seen tabloids and extensions sensationalise their news component that are pushed down your throat through vendors.

There was a time when it was considered fashionable to ape international tabloids and rags that put out stories using paparazzi and their multi-faceted editors’ fertile imagination.

Some perished as an outcome, and the others went on to become meek spectators of the media world. The readers moved on quite nonchalantly.

The print media in India however, had a reasonable sense of maturity left in them and toed the safer, researched storyline. Never demean, rarely defame and certainly not sensationalise personal lives was the brief. Obviously this has changed for reasons best known to them!

From names of rape victims to gory details and so-called scoops on income tax raids on prominent personalities find place every other day. It’s a different matter that a lot of this is based on editorial imagination and nothing may have come out of all this but that is ok. They know the media business best and never need to justify anything. Power of the pen, or so they imagine in this archaic world they see reason with…

Pity isn’t it that their calendar hasn’t flipped pages in years?

I asked a few of my friends in these papers to find out what this fresh whiff of scandals were about. Did they honestly believe their audience have an insatiable appetite for such journalism or was it part of a new corporate strategy to get the hormones racing? The latter of course makes more sense considering the graphic detail a lot these reports go into.

I must confess at this juncture that I am not the universe, and certainly not the ideal sample of the readership these publications boast about. But, honestly, does all this get lapped up?

Or is just their gut against audience intelligence? I have reason to believe this is the case today. A majority of the younger readers are not print-friendly and rarely glance at anything printed, leave alone a newspaper, so who is all this aimed at?

At the risk of sounding like a soothsayer of doom, I have reason to believe that it won’t be long before such print brands cease to exist. After all clones of the digital world can never win over the original. I am reminded of Monica Lewinsky’s poignant talk at Ted when she talked about the power of the digital medium and how within hours her life was brought to a standstill.

 

Yes, digital does this better. Why waste your time even trying.You have USPs and it may be prudent to stick to your knitting after all.

Maybe it’s time these formidable print journalists realise that ‘Readers’ as we knew them, do not exist any longer. This is the generation of the ‘Consumer’; Informed, flirtatious and highly volatile.

Understand them beyond what is apparent, befriend them and give them their piece of flesh! There is really no other option. Amen.

 

Jaisurya Das is a senior industryperson and brand specialist based in Pune. Other than being Contributing Editor, MxMIndia, he runs consulting firm Xanadu and is co-founder of Pune365.com. The views expressed here are his own.

 

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