By Srishti Chauhan:
Remember Anna Hazare? Yes, he’s the same guy whose photo appeared in the newspaper every day a few weeks back. Crowded by famous names and faces and being tagged in posts and tweets by celebs and common people alike, this man was THE thing for about a month. It was cool to support Hazare. Wearing t-shirts with his name and caps with his slogans were the “in” thing. From Kiran Bedi to the entire Bollywood- everyone had something to say about Hazare. And then came the fate inevitable to all news in the present generation- the loss of glamour. People got tired of his strike and the progress of the Lokpal Bill and Anna Hazare was wiped off from t-shirts in Sarojini Nagar to the Gandhi caps in Lajpat Nagar. Now its all about Ramdev.
The idea of news for the sake of glamour and TRPs is a matter of concern for many. Many journalists who have been working in the industry since years have been known to have confessed that the industry is at an all time low at present- both in terms of quality of news and the quality of journalists. The basic principle of economics- that competition increases the variety and improves the quality of the product being sold- seems to have fallen flat apparently. The increase in the number of news channels has degraded the quality of news.
Some of the channels are (in)famous for showing news that is a con, to say the least. News like “Kya iss billi me bhoot hai?” and “Kya dharti ka vinash hone vala hai?” are the butt of jokes in many circles.
Well, the root behind this apparent idiocy of the channels seems a trifle unclear. Is it because there is too much time and too little news? After all, what could you possibly show for 24 hours in a day? Even after filling it with programs where gaudily dressed women tell you your fortunes, there has got to be something else that needs to be put in to hold the fickle interest of the viewers. And here come the need for this apparent absurdity. The news is no longer about what is important and what demands more attention. It is about what fetches you more TRPs. It is no longer about a summit on climatic change that India is a part of. It is about how much- abused story of how the mangoes are being injected with Calcium Carbide and how this may actually lead to your death.
The generation- identified by Channel V, MTV and UTV Bindass- needs something to hold its interest. If it’s no longer amusing, then it may as well not be shown on TV. According to psychologists, the demand for newer things constantly is a sign of mild attention deficit disorder (ADD). You cannot watch Anna Hazare’s news after a while not because the matter has lost all characteristics of informative news but because it ceases to remain catchy after a while. This need for catchy news is fueled by the fast pace of life that we all encounter, sometimes, according to experts, faster than it actually need be. The toll of these changing tastes and preferences has been taken on the changing strategy of news channels. From showing you highlights about various comedy shows to giving you 24-hour coverage on the Royal Wedding- they’re doing it all to grab the eyeballs.
In this melee of news channels, however, there do remain news channels that manage to muster some amounts of professionalism and seriousness into this business. BBC and CNN are two channels often awarded by international agencies for this feature. However, by and large, the industry remains at an all-time low and seems to require a shove to get it out of the intellectual swamp it finds itself in.