Saturday, June 11, 2005

The future of bullsalad...

Is this the tragic future of Indian journalism?
2200 journalists, I mean that even beats the number of people covering the Advani vs VHP vs Joshi vs Togadia vs public sanity melodrama.
Now, for a moot point. How seriously do you take your job and how loyal are you to your office? Well, unless you have ESOPS you probably shouldn't give a damn. After all, you are a mercenary. Unfortunately, nowadays we have a horde of journos who are defenders of the faith. "My publication or TV channel strongest. You suck." These people also don't have any semblance of a life beyond office. Really. This is because such people, and one of whom whom I know really well, start to believe the bull salad that their editors feed them. "You are bad because... XYZ" Arre baba, if I hate what I am doing right now I'll quit. I know I'm good enough to get a job in several other places. But to start believing your editors (pardons to mine) about everything is a dangerous path to trace. Yes, eds are very smart people, but they have vested motives in telling other people that other places are bad, because they don't want their people to quit.
Secondly, any TV Channel, magazine or newspaper is only as good as its advertising revenue. Why do I say this? Because, it is a fucking business, get that in your head. Charity work is not the philosophy of any media house. How aggressive do you get when you do a story? As little as possible. Yes, tell the truth, but a balanced truth. Say Hyundai Motors are screwing up, but also talk about why they are screwing up and what their exit strategy from the screw up is. They may not be happy, but sachh kehte hai hum, na? I don't think Hyundai is as beserk as GM and starts to withdraw ads because of a few bad stories, nor is Subbu a Lou Gerstner. Now, true while advertisers must be kept happy, don't overdo it like the auto magazines - have you EVER read a negative review in a auto magazine, I mean you can't say that the WagonR and Santro look like pieces of turds with wheels because there goes your bread and butter. And then there is the peculiar case of India's #2 biz magazine, who puts a Nokia story (their cover story written by their 'media' editor) just after a two-page Nokia advert. Wow! (I'll skip the bitching about them putting Bob the Builder on the cover right now)
How much do I ever trust what I read in the media? Nothing, unless I had something to do with that story. There was this one time I did a story on cocaine use in Delhi, it was complimented by everyone, simply because I knew what the fuck I was talking about. How good will my biscuit manufacturers story be? It'll prolly suck to high fucking heaven. But, then again I don't suffer from byline loosies anymore, big deal, a byline is a byline is a byline. Who cares? I do my work as diligently as I can, meet as many people as I can and try and understand what the heck I am doing. For example, I now understand the plight of biscuit makers, something I will forget in an hours time when I am lifting weights in the gym.
I have no clue why there is so much angst in my system right now. It maybe because certain people have no fucking clue what they talk about. Not that I do have too much of a clue either.

3 comments:

shyam said...

I think the ass bit is beeped out on Radiocity too, though I remember hearing it unbeeped on some other station on the way to jaggery town.

I learnt long ago to not trust anything that is written or pushed out by the media, even with stuff that you yourself write there is so much of 'my viewpoint is different and it rocks' to it that it can be quite pointless. Besides, having worked at IE during the Gujarat riots, I don't think there exists any place without an agenda.

I have zero loyalty to my workplace, of course, I won't stand in public and bitch about it anonymously, I'd rather take it up with people inside or just leave the job. Seriousness, depends on where I work, right now I am finding it a bit hard to make any kind of effort where I am, but I can do much more.

Long term, I think I want out of the industry and probably go into a line where you can fleece people without having to lie about it. These days it sickens me to meet old friends and ex colleagues, in 10 mins I am so sick and tired of hearing who ran away with whom, who is sleeping with whom and who is quitting and joining elsewhere. Ugh!

Bonatellis said...

bingo ... can't agree with you more ...

I remember in 2001 I wrote a story on one of India's largest car makers ... the story was really really negative as it was about some plans falling through which would result in considerable revenue loss ... based on a detailed telephonic discussion with the co's ED ... and it went as a 5-column Pg 1 flyer ...

The next day my esteemed (and he is real f##king esteemed) asked me the veracity of my story ... I show him the notes, and he says ok, pats my back and sends me packing ...

the next day I see a big rejoinder on Pg 1, with the paper regretting for a wrong story ... needless to say, I am shocked outta my pants ... as I scan through the pages, I find a big half page colour ad on one of the co's cars in the back page !!!!

and it's supposed to be one of the country's most reputed newspapers ... boy, the profession sucks !!!

K said...

ET?