How many of us journalists have houses which can support chandeliers? Worse, how many of our readers have houses which can support chandeliers? The answer to the first question is easy. The answer to the second is not so easy. But sometimes it might be useful to ask these questions as we did at this evening’s editorial meeting.
The provocation was an item on Usha Prasad‘s BVT list on the said subject for the Monday paper. (Because of advanced deadlines, our BVT is now a “cold product”. In other words, the supplement is put to bed around 2 pm, unlike the main edition. So, invariably we are talking of stories much before the deadline and dateline.)
Anyway, the mention of the word chandelier provoked the usual guffaw from the bleeding heart liberals in the crowd (and who doesn’t know who they are). Can our readers afford such chandeliers? Does such information serve any purpose? It’s the same question we ask when we see the recipes of exotic dishes made by five-star chefs.
Who in his (or her) right mind would make them?
The richest journalist among us (the man who went 700-foot down to dig a borewell for his darling daughter’s new house) doesn’t have chandeliers. Son of Srikantaiah doesn’t have one. Ditto and likewise.
So, why do we run them?
The answer is obvious and slightly disappointing: Features like these come easy. Well-oiled PR machineries whirr into action when the subject is broached, and a ready-to-print information comes complete with breathtaking pictures as attachments. Sure, the reporter/writer does some legwork, but does it serve the reader beyond inspiring awe, or, worse, a yawn?
On the other hand, as Usha says, how many times can we keep writing on the 60W bulbs we have at home?