I don’t watch the news, I have to admit, a little shamefully though. I’m not updated with what’s happening in the country or world on a day-to-day basis. I stopped keeping track of the COVID-19 numbers too, after April-May. It’s difficult for me to participate in small talk with people in their late 40-50s because they really like to talk about current events, or rather, the gossip fed to us by news-houses. Sadly, I’ve started noticing the same happening with my peers also — being exceedingly up-to-date on such news, rather than discussing some amazing ideas, philosophies or some interesting realisations, perhaps about the so-called news we watch.
We are just busy repeating and re-broadcasting information fed to us on a daily basis. I even downloaded and then quickly uninstalled the groundbreaking app Inshorts that got super famous super fast. I’ve never known it to give any important news, but only random gossip.
I recently happened to watch a YouTube video with my chai and snacks about some current events, and it made me think about some of the topics that Indian news houses and channels can cover, instead of the random trash they show us on repeat as ‘breaking news’. It might also help some of the youth stay up-to-date with what is important, rather than on what is interesting. Sadly, people now have to spend from hundreds to thousands and lakhs of rupees preparing for general knowledge for their exams because newspapers and news channels are not really showing what amounts to important news or information.
So here are 10 things that news channels should show, instead of repeating random gossip 24×7:
Government Initiatives: I know certain communities hate the word ‘government’, but a lot of educated people in the system work really hard to make a few things work. Let’s show these things a bit? Show positive initiatives taken by the government along with numbers on their efficiency. Use infographics and make the information appealing. Don’t pass judgments, show facts. We all have good years and bad years, let the government too? Don’t pass judgments on how the government is stealing all our money and not being able to deliver — this will only encourage the government to buy your channel or rig the numbers so that we never get proper news again.
National Awards: We only know the national awards Kangana Ranaut or Rajkumar Rao have collected. We don’t know the categories in which National Awards are given, when they’re given and to whom. Show us a telecast of the National Awards Ceremony. We get a telecast and good three-page coverage of Oscars, but we get no news on National Awards. Why?
International Acclaim: Every now and then, I see an Indian representative in another country making a name for themselves. Sadly, our news never mentions these guys or reports on them and their achievements. These representatives not just include Sundar Pichai or Indra Nooyi, but also Indian representatives in the Canadian Cabinet, the US Military and NASA, being honoured for their exceptional service. Let’s talk about them too.
National Impact: Having a page such as ‘Humans of Bombay’ is excellent, so we must take inspiration and have a page or column called ‘Humans of India’. Talk about people who are stepping out of their comfort zones to make an impact. We all know about Nita Ambani’s social initiatives, talk about people who’re actually stepping out to work on the field, in their individual capacities.
Health Services: Why do we have no news on health services, and how and where to avail them? Why do we not know the infographics on the state of health in our country? Why do we only know about suicides when an actor allegedly dies by it?
Tourism in India: Zoya Akhtar recently got some kind of an award for promoting tourism through her movies. Why can’t we do some daily or weekly coverage on tourist spots in India, how the sector helps the country economically, what jobs it opens up, how it contributes to the GDP etc.
Research and Development: Do we know of any research India is engaged in? Do we know the number of patents India secured in the year 2019? So many organisations are involved in research in various streams, why don’t we show that for a change?
Celebrities: Why don’t we make celebrities out of scientists, academicians, soldiers, farmers, athletes etc? Why are our celebrities restricted to Bollywood actors, infamous politicians, or cricketers? Why don’t we report on exemplary people from diverse backgrounds and give a voice to their stories?
Indian Speakers: Arundhati Katju, Menaka Guruswamy, Shashi Tharoor — all of them have spoken at Oxford, but we could only watch it on YouTube. Why don’t our news channels cover these every once in a while? Why don’t our news channels telecast TED talks every once in a while? Why don’t our news houses cover highlights from these every once in a while?
Child Audience: Something relevant for children should also be broadcast by news organisations, some light news shows that kids can tune into. It’ll be good to develop a habit of watching relevant news.