Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Death of a Newspaper

(Based on thoughts generated by the article in my previous post)
When I see the Times these days, I wonder whether I can continue subscribing to this paper for long. From a paper who believed in serious journalism it has degenerated into a rag which mostly prints syndicated material with some writing here and there by correspondents. My uncle was an eminent journalist with the Times, my cousin was the Editor for a while, I grew up with discussions about politics and happenings at the newspaper office and somehow Times has been a habit for as long as I can remember.
Now it has grown into a massive media juggernaut and the groups priorities seem to have shifted and it seems they take the slogan 'sex sells' very seriously indeed. They can read the minds of the strapped for time urban lot who prefer light reading. They know exactly how to add spice to each and every section. Even Economic Times has the occasional titillating picture or a 'juicy' snippet. The morons that we are, we fall straight into the trap and now we expect all publications to have similar 'juicy' bits and the ones which don’t appear dull.
Thanks to Times, now any teenager is well versed with various sexual positions, abnormalities, fantasies and dysfunctions, perhaps the space would be better utilized for AIDS awareness. My relatives in Calcutta are quite amazed that I know how many minutes Bipasha spends on the treadmill, the name of Priety's boyfriend, who coined the term 'Sollywood' and all sorts of rubbish that isn't really worth knowing but comes in handy as conversation fillers. Thanks to Times, now I and many others are experts on partying lot of Mumbai.
At times when I fall behind on current affairs, I desperately try to find some 'news' in the main paper but finally come across nothing that makes me think or adds to my knowledge. I wonder if this is a reflection about the state of journalism today and whether the so called newspapers are slowly turning into magazines for leisure reading. What is more worrying is that perhaps there are fewer takers for serious meaningful writing in newspapers.
Like a recent HT ad campaign said 'Let There Be Light'. Maybe there is hope after all...


The Comic Project said...

no one cares about news. We all want entertainment.

Just another Blogger said...

Yea, TOI was a part of my life as well till a few months back. I now subscribe to The Hindu & thankfully my knowledge, if u may call it so, on P3P of Delhi has gone down drastically.

To be frank, at times, I am embarrassed amongst my peers on my lack of awareness about who has fling with whom in bollywood hollywood or elsewhere... But then I remind myself that there is more to news & info than all the Page3 stuff.

But yea, whatever happened to journalism?!?!?!

Albatross said...

I was a big Times fan till about a year back. Now the only reason I turn to it is to check up the movie schedules and catch up with daily C&H strip.

There was a time when I used to look forward to Sunday Times for the colored supplement that used to be so full of information. If I look at it now, all I find is the half page ad of the first page and some more ads !

Talking about The Hindu, I think it still has some journalism left in it. The editorials would tell you all. Look at the first page of Hindu and TOI on a given day and you can easily make out the difference.

I always try to catch up with the new newspapers...I think DNA in Mumbai is just another P3 types. Although they cover sports quite nicely, the main news section is very weak. Glamour is of course you would find in it easily.

Just hoping that The Hindu would keep upto it's content and wouldn't give the glamour more than required space...

indianpeppone said...

Insightful post!!!! Keep blogging

Phoenix said...

hi..nice blog.
thankx for dropping by on mine:)

and ur post remind me of TOI here in delhi, and i hate a newspaper that's nthn more than toilet paper with reference to the kind of news the editore prefer to put on its front pages

ichatteralot said...

@TCP: Do the recent wardrobe malfunctions qualify as entertainment?!

@Just Another Blogger: I agree - no body gives a damn for journalism anymore. P3 should not be read - it deadens our brain...

@Albatross: I read DNA sometimes, I feel it is treading the middle pathh and does not want to take a stance yet. Indian Express and Hindu good reads

@Indianpeppone: Thanks :-)

@Phoenix: Thanks. Was in Delhi sometime back .. I think the Delhi edition is more conservative than the Mumbai one. Maybe the P3 set realy rocks here!

indianpeppone said...

How did i confuse u pray and i am not even trying to convince....must b getting better at selling!!!!

Kausum said...

C'mon TOI is the best newspaper ..oops tabloid.

It has elevated itself from being a serious broadsheet paper to a high class tabloid. If you dont have TOI, where would you get all the gossips among socialites.

But there are other reasons for it being good.

1. The ammount of raddi it generates per day. Some of the papers go to the raddiwaalah in condition it has arrived.

2. Also, who cares abt reading print news when we are bombarded with it in the slew of news channels 24hrs a day.

3. Now, I get to realse tabloid sleaze by 7am instead of waiting for it until 11am for Mid-Day

4. Gives so many photos on sex education. I still remember it was the broadsheet to show topless photos well back in the 90's

5. Promos of all Times Group events whether you want to see or not.

There rests my case of for the "Largest Selling Indian Daily Newspaper"

The Comic Project said...

I love malfunctions and Wardrobe malfunctions are my favourite form of entertainment..they expose the state of the models - their underfed state :)

Anjali said...

Same story everywhere, I think. I buy the Times out of habit, because I've always bought it. But I recently found I was reading very little of it, and added The Hindu to my daily supply.
It's a pity, as you say ... there was a time when TOI did exemplify great journalism. Not so any more.

Sandeep Meher said...

and how about the TV news. i am in UK currently and don't subscribe to the indian channels but got a free viewing of star news today and the main breaking news was govinda getting threatening phone calls - and the way the news was being developed was ridiculous, to say the least. and what should have been a 1 minute item was being blown to a half an hour show with mindless repetition. yes, as just another blogger said earlier... whatever happened to journalism?

ichatteralot said...

@indianpeppone: I dunno - just read your post last week and got really confused about happiness!

@Kausum: I agree - it has its advantages! It serves as a disposable chopping board and I earn Rs 100 every month selling it to the raddiwala!

@TCP: I am sure its not a pretty sight.

@Anjali: Agree completely!

@Sandeep Meher: I agree the news channels are equally useless. However some have kept a right balance and managed to hold audiences

Kausum said...

And as I was expecting, this sunday we had an entire page devoted to Wardrobe Malfunction in Bombay Times.

On a different note, received a complimentary Hindustan Times today. HT is much better in the dept of news but I dont think Raddiwallah and cutting board selection criteria would receive much points

ichatteralot said...

@Kausum: Ah! so you have finally reached India! Had jhol bhat and chilli chicken yet?

Kausum said...

aajke hi maacher jhol with potol. And my favorite posto .. Ma says my ancestors are from bardhaman so have to have posto ... ha ha ha

No chicken .. banned in my house but had some mutton. Mutton chaap ... that is more delicious

Sridevi said...

Yeah- I totally agree. I used to buy the ToI and Economic Times religiously, until a year back. I also tried Indian Express, but it's the same story there as well. It was a real struggle to read them. It's become such a silly read- I might as well be reading Stardust or some other glamour magazine- all print and no substance. What happened to the "news" in the Newspapers? And to top it off, the papers started caryying opinions, and highlighting with colour some of the phrases- kind of like students using markers on their textbooks to keep track of what to read and what to skip. We are ther readers- if the papers give us quality, we'd be happy to read the whole thing, and make our own opinions. I was hoping that things would have improved in the last year, but the e-paper does not show any signs of that :-(