Dear MxM by Jaisurya Das: How can an anchor say ‘shut up’ to a guest… is decorum in news media dead?

04 May,2017

By Jaisurya Das

 

This week’s compendium of questions I received, included one from Chandigarh, asking if it was ok for news anchors to scream “shut up”to their invited guests. In this case a Pakistani guest on the programme…. 

Ladies and Gentleman, Welcome to Dear MxM and the fall in decorum of our news media! While I have answered this reader’s question as best as I could, I thought it apt to provoke your thought on the subject of our and aggressive news anchoring.

We are probably going to witness a lot of heated discussions on news capsules now with a newer entrant standing by to air, but this is the larger picture.

Does decorum exist any longer or is it not necessary any longer.

Do audiences yearn to witness more of such unparliamentary arrogance or is it just the channels usurping this character? It baffles me honestly and hence this short introduction. Insulting someone you invite on the show is quite unacceptable and yet, taken quite lightly..

Does great news reportage require this? Is this about the genre we are in that necessitates constant titillation? I have far too many questions to ask and would love to hear all your views on this subject.

But for now, it’s sheer disgust from me. Fortunately, India can boast of better journalists who know where to draw their line and as for us, we ought not to lap this up like hungry canines. Protest and teach them how to behave if that’s what is required. Am sorry to sound like a prude but that’s how I feel about good journalism versus juvenile anchoring.

Anyway, it’s probably time to stop ranting and take you to this week’s Questions and Answers from our readers in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Chandigarh.

 

Sir, I was in Delhi last week and found that there are so many newspapers available on the stands. Much more than what we have here in Bengaluru. But are there enough people reading these papers?

Good question indeed! Now, this is for the newspapers owners to answer but in my opinion the situation is pretty much the same in all our metros.Reading per se is on a decline and more so with the younger generations and hence the problem is larger than just a choice of a newspaper. This is where the core of the problem lies and I don’t see this situation improving in the future. The advent of digital and the increased penetration of mobile internet etc is only going to move the young further away from reading physical newspapers or books for that matter.

Coming back to your question, yes Delhi has more dailies and this is essentially because of the seat of power. Industrialists want a powerful voice in the corridors of power and they believe owning media would help them make inroads into the chambers of the powers that be. Now, it’s a different matter that everyone will not be heard or even heeded but that is all relative and hence anyone’s guess.

Media is a powerful tool and it does make sense owning a slice of it, no matter how big or small it may be. Finally its about being seen in the right places and that’s all it takes to build perception for business houses and corporate czars…

 

Sir, I read your response to the sexual harassment question. When I complained to HR about my boss getting too close for comfort, calling me a “babe” and with a “hey sexy”, I was told that this is how it works in creative advertising agencies. A colleague even suggested I show myself to a shrink or come in a burqa. Please advise.

If you ask me, your HR needs dramatic change. In simple terms, they ought to be given the boot if this is the kind of reaction to a sexual harassment complaint. This is indeed appalling and If I were you, I would escalate this to the CEO of your company.

Every complaint must be taken cognisance off. Besides the fact that ignoring it can lead to judicial action and the company may be faced with serious legal repercussions. As for the HR who handles this indifferently, they can be penalised in the same provision of the Act and not taking cognisance is in itself a punishable offence.

I certainly think this needs to be taken up with your CEO and others since they certainly have a problem on hands, if their own HR department reacts in this manner. If you do not wish to escalate this, I suggest you move on and find a more employee-friendly environment to work for.

 

Sir, the other day, I heard an English news channel anchor tell his guest “shut up”. Now he was from Pakistan and was defending his country, but is it okay to lose your cool and say what every one want to? Is decorum in news media dead?

Yes, I did see this and it was quite deplorable on the part of the anchor. to say the least. There is a certain decorum that is to be followed on national TV and more so to an invited guest on the show.

This is typical of the immature arrogance of anchors who often forget where to draw the line in their effort to build TRPs. Little do they realise that such language and demeanour only turns people off and they stand to lose more in the bargain.

It’s certainly not cool or professional to behave such and I completely agree with your concern on this.

 

Cool is certainly what I want now, considering the damn summer were having here in Pune.. So while I search for the eternal coolers of the city, I wish you all a wonderfully hot weekend too!! I know that is being mean, but what the hell, I am allowed some liberty once a while and I don’t have a guest either on this column so… ! Sayonara and God Bless you all. 

 

Jaisurya Das, maverick and media evangelist, eats, sleeps and makes love to brands. His consulting interventions are aimed at making brands powerful and sustainable. He is also the Contributing Editor of MxM India and Co-Founder of pune365.com. For more on his work visit www.xanadu.co.in. The views expressed in this column are his own. Questions may be sent to editor@mxmindia.com with Dear MxM mentioned in the subject line.

 

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