You know what I hate most about press conferences - its not the lamentable food or the inane marketing speil that one has to endure sometimes - but TV crews. This isn't the usual "Us vs Them" fight that you occasionally have with the telly journos - what I find irritating is the fact that telly journos will aks the same question over and over to the same guy, the only thing is that because they're different channels they all want an 'exclusive'. Its not that I resent this a huge amount but even if I was the guy being interviewed I'ld soon blow my top, as I believe Rakesh Mohan did the other day when three telly channels asked him the same "But why have you not touched interest rates?" question in rapid succession one after the other (No, I wasn't there, but the guy who told me this was in splits).
Us print guys have adjusted well to being background noise, we get the guys later and ask them far more meaningful questions over a cup of coffee usually. But I don't get the reason people don't pool resources. Get your cameras together, ask the guy ten different questions instead of the same one, it saves time setting up, the PR person won't go mad doing TV channel political hijinx which usually is who first NDTV or TV18 (Sorry but Headlines Today and Times Now don't cut it). Even though I won't mind a cat fight between some of the said channel correspondents though. Unforrtunately, I only get fat guys throwing fisticuffs (with Sunil Mittal in between - as happened last year - quite funny though). But seriously, I know quite a few PR people come to this blog (I know your IP addresses) please try and explain to people that pooling may not be such a bad idea - or just make the announcement have a Q&A and finish it.
Seriously, Pressers in India need a much, much higher level of professionalism.
The truth is that there are a lot more (unwatchable) TV News Channels (why City Cable channels come for an RBI Presser is still a 'why' issue) and a lot more (unreadable - usually) newspapers and magazines. Not that the older newspapers and magazines are very readable either. Listen they do this in the west - its called 'Pooling' - say that 'P-O-O-L-I-N-G' - which is not playing Pool or having a frolic with semi-naked women in the swimming pool but 'pooling' resources. Some Delhi based corporates have tried this, even though TV cameracrews (from some very 'reputable' channels didn't think twice about shoving the seputugenarian Osamu Suzuki around at a recent press briefing. I don't go to too many Pressers for a very good reason, but if you guys discover this term, let me know. And if you are a corporate executive - don't give adverts to channels who have uncouth cameracrews. Seriously, think about it. If they don't have manners they don't deserve your money, don't worry about the coverage (or the lack of it) it will happen no matter what.
And please for gods sake, stop serving alcohol in press conferences - because that makes the guys from the shady newspapers and magazines go mad as well. As I said, there is a reason I don't work in a daily or a TV channel. I don't have to attend pressers to earn my daily bread. I genuinely pity my peers and friends who have to work in the national news agencies. Poor, poor guys.
On another media note - almost a year after the Mumbai media wars started - it seems we have a winner. Its called the Mumbai Mirror. According to some internal reports emanating from all over the place - the Times' marketing baby has emerged to have a life of its own. Net Paid Circulation (NPC) of the Mirror (and that is not including the 450000 copies that go out with the TOI everyday) is over the 100000 mark - in fact, recent numbers suggest that the paper is closer to 150000 (but those do seem a bit too optimistic), whatever the numbers this means that Mirror by virtue of being free with the Times and its own impressive numbers (ousting the Times' other paper from #3 in NPC) is the city's most popular paper. It seems that DNA and EchTee are just not able to cut it here - even though that said I'm gravitating towards EchTee (not not for any old loyalties, because there are none) because its different - DNA somehow (other than its impressive, somewhat, business coverage) reads like Times redux. The reason I like the Mirror a lot, and I've said it over and over, is because it is totally irreverent (and has a brilliant leisure page) and unlike Mid-Day (which it is giving a good run for its money) the paper is a lot easier to manage - not too many complicated sections popping out of here, there and everywhere.
Another reason I like the Mirror is that they have a couple of the better sports writers around. I discovered the other day, that I'm not the only person who thinks that sports writers, especially cricket writers have lost it. But this brings me to sports, a touchy topic despite the fact I don't play any sports other than on the PS2. Just take a look, Cricket, given that that is the only sport that politicians despite the bestest efforts haven't managed to cripple - Sharad Pawar could take tips on "How to totally ruin a sport and make India a laughing stock" (117th in soccer, we shouldn't even watch the sport - oh, did you watch how Ronny helped Barca run rings around AC last night? Magic) from his cabinet colleague Priyaranjan Das Munshi or now that good ol' Mani is handling the Sports Ministry he could ask him instead (will this mean that the journalists Mani used to plant stories on his 'successes' while he was Oil Minister now start reporting on his 'successes' in Sports). But then again, maybe Mani's commusnist ideals might help our next Olympic cause, when hopefully we won't hear of massuers attacking young girls but maybe India winning a Gold medal. I was not even two when India won its last Gold in the Olympics - and almost a quarter of India's population hadn't been born. Heck, over a fifth of India's population was born after we fluked the 1983 World Cup (Listen, I'm not saying that we didn't deserve it, but c'mon the Windies were 'it' in cricket those days). Thats quite a lot of Indians who haven't enjoyed too much sporting success. If this were another country, some of those guys ruining our sports would be lucky not to be sent to some state-run prison somewhere.
Anway, these were just some random thoughts this Wednesday, so leave your comments and enjoy the rest of the week while I work my way up through purgatory.