Monday, December 28, 2009


So, you're supposed to take a man who gets his wife to write his columns for him seriously? (Don't ask how I know, I just know) That and the fact the troika of Raghav, Haresh and Sameer must have been bemused when the pronouncements were made. Frankly, even if 'paid news' was not the disease it is, 'sympathetic' news would be - a company that sponsored the big-ticket event of the year on one group channel is given sympathetic coverage on another.
See, frankly, I feel the Editors Guild is an even more useless body than the Press Council. Until this entire issue of 'Paid News' came up everyone seemed to forgotten it existed and several editors - you know the guys who actually edit papers that matter don't even attend. I have argued that self-regulation is bound to fail and the Editor's Guild paying he matter lip service is bound to ensure that it is buried a quiet death. Until somebody raises it again soon, but by then god only knows if the media in its current shape, size or form will survive.
That said, I still don't believe that 'Paid News' is the greatest threat facing Indian journalism or journalism globally for that matter - the biggest threat (other than pointless self-regulating bodies) is 'cut-and-paste' journalism. Whole chunks of text from Wikipedia, likely written by a Public Relations type are taken as the gospel truth and printed verbatim. You would have thought that young Indian journalists would have learned from the cautionary tale of VN Narayanan, but who cares? You won't see lazy journalism discussed by talking shops will you?
Insincere journalism written or described by monkeys who feel that they're doing a 9-to-5 job and who 'scoops' are handed out to them is worse. At least when it comes to 'Paid News', the company/individual whose news is getting written about has shown some sincerity and maybe some thinking has gone in somewhere. Google might be my best friend, but it has also enabled utter idiots to parade about with 'PRESS' stickers on their cars - I've not had one on my car for over five years now.
Anyway, this was a rush job, I've got far too much work over the next few days for regular updates, even though I'm bemused at Twatteroor's latest adventures. Making fun of the Ministry of Home Affairs under Chidambaram is not a good idea (while it was under Shivraj Patil you were supposed to make fun of the MHA). Mr. Minister, do your job trying to ensure that Indians don't get too badly exploited in the Middle-East (that is your responsibility isn't it?) that they have to stow themselves away in planes.


Anonymous said...

Not true I think. The styles are too different.

Anonymous said...

Hi K..returning to read your blog after a while..and it's strange..but I actually missed your cynicism and (rightful) grumbling. But please don't cross over and become one of those old, crabby, complaining, male spinsters (and journalism seems gifted with talent of making perfectly good people complete fogeys!)
Oh..and I just have to say (generally) oldie eds who roam about in tees, jeans and sneakers, thinking it looks cool, don't cut it most of time..especially when they're endowed with a 'paunch'. Wish 'someone' could point it out to them..
Last's been a while since I left a comment..why is it that newsrooms are incomplete without bongs? (No offence..just curious..)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing out a key aspect of paid news--"barter" and its dubious half-brother, "sponsor relationships"
The profession needs back-benchers like you to round up the full story.
Hypocrisy abounds, and sometimes, I think transparent paid news works better.