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Monday, September 12, 2005

The Three Cs and an S of Neo Journalism

The first lesson taught in journalism school is invariably the five Ws and one H - what, who, when, where, why and how. Now a recently launched news channel (a sister concern of a leading Hindi newspaper) directs it employees to adhere to the three Cs and one S - crime, cinema, cricket and sex. This, according to them is what constitutes news, this is what that sells.

Once, not very long ago, we had a term for such stuff - yellow journalism. Now the jaundiced tinge is omnipresent. Such journalism used to be on the periphery of the mainstream and now, it is the mainstream. Everything else is marginal. Sting operations are the item numbers. We should no longer masquerade as the watchdogs of democracy and freedom, when all that we are interested in is dogs and bitches on the heat.

Titillation, sensationalism, exaggeration are the rallying cries. Last weekend there was a minor fire in a building opposite my office; OB vans with logos of news channels proudly emblazoned on the sides eat up the road space (otherwise a no parking zone), the first right over which belong to the fire tenders responding to the emergency. As I narrate this irresponsibility to my flatmate, he quips, "All new constructions will not only have to be disabled friendly, but also OB van friendly."

Journalism used to be a respectable profession. Now whenever I accompany my journalist friends on a house hunting endeavour, the expressions of the property dealers and the landlords, on learning about the trade says it all.


Atul Sabnis said...

I am happily surprised to find someone who thinks like this about journalism. I recall, my father used to tell me that his father insisted that they (my father and other siblings) read the Times of India, to improve their English. It was Wren/Martin for those who couldn't afford it. I don't know if the 3C-1S story is true, but I would believe it anytime.

I think as long as we treat it as a business then it's fine. The moment we expect nobility and honour of a profession, I guess, blood curdles.

Bloghopped my way here from Ganga's Blog. :)

dwaipayan said...

hmmm. journos blue? well,don't have much to say on it. but i think journalism is not as prestigious nowadays as it used to be.

Anonymous said...

Since sex is something I can't resist commenting on and media being my sphere of activity, and TOI being everybody's punching bag, I would like to bring to ur notice a recent report in the nation's leading daily apparently meant to 'reveal' the ordeal the victim of infamous marine drive rape case was going through. Instead, the report seemed to me a 'How to..' genre of manual on commiting a rape!

An extract (Reader's discretion sought):

''...he (the rapist) pulled down the girl's pants and put on a condom She screamed as he tried to insert. She tried to push him away but at last he prevailed and penetrated successfully..''
Well, i can not claim that it's an unabridged version of the report but it's certainly a toned down one!
-Perfectly Imperfectionist

K said...

Hmmm, all new buildings have to be OB van friendly, liked that quip. No seriously, we have reached a stage where news is all sensationalism and nothing more. In Bombay even when it starts pouring the channels all go hyper and start 'shutting down' various civic services, but on the day that it DID rain, the channels more concerned showing some woman beat up a constable in Gurgaon. And then, liberal bleeding heart stations try and bitch out the authorities and airlines, not giving a shit that there isn't much that people can do when 900mm of rain hits. Not only have journalists forgotten to ask questions, they've seemingly forgotten to think, or because of the media boom they are a shitload of dumb-ass fuckers posing as journos. Not to say that I'm a start cookie here.
Liked the post!