When television breaks most of the news, when mobile phones send you instant news alerts, when websites are constantly updating news, when there is a good chance that news will soon be allowed on FM radio, what is a newspaper supposed to do?
To ask the question in another way: What does a newspaper reader expect from her newspaper at 7 am when she could have got everything from the television bulletin at 7 pm the previous day?
This is an old question, no doubt, but newspapers in Britain and America are coming to terms in different ways. The Daily Mail has just got rid off its television critic. Another paper has got rid of its movie critic. Somewhere else, a sports writer has been replaced.
Lucas Grindley writes that the reason is that they not local, and newspapers, at their essence, must be local.
Local film critics for national movies are a vestige of different times. For most markets, there’s no local angle to Mission Impossible 3. Maybe you’re the film critic. Don’t wait around for this same fate. Convince your editor to use wire copy so you can cover something else.
Sports writers, listen up. If you’re not writing something more than the game story, then you’re next. An editor can get that same gamer from the wire.
Features writers, if what you’re covering is on the wire regularly, then your beat isn’t local enough. Food is a national topic. Travel is a national topic.
Business writers, you’re not immune either. Prominent media types are already advising newspapers to “outsource” all types of coverage.
Death by a thousand cuts. Don’t let positions get cut because you didn’t have enough foresight to realize they were being wasted.
In times past, Hitler‘s disinformation advisor Goebbles said, “Repeat a lie hundred times and it becomes the truth.” In George Orwell‘s Animal Farm, the sheep keeps on repeating the lie. On the very abrasive Devil’s Advocate, Ram Jethmalani says, “Repeating bullshit doesn’t make it wisdom”. That apart, Karan Thapar‘s interview on CNN-IBN with the fiery criminal lawyer is must-viewing for any serious journalist.
Bangalore’s newspapers do great, lavish packages for Valentine’s Day. They bring out special advertising supplements for New Year. And they mark every other day—“ex”-es day, secretaries day, mother’s day–with some feverish feature or the other.
And if it’s some international anniversary like 9/11 or 7/11 we are falling over each other.
Wanna guess how many English language papers in Bangalore have taken note of the first death anniversary of Manjunath Shanmugham, the Kolar-born, Mysore-educated IIM grad who was killed in Uttar Pradesh by the petrol mafia?
Say, well done to Vinay Madhav.
We are introducing a new column in BVT from tomorrow. It’s called The List. Basically, a top-ten every day of something or the other. (Why we have chosen the top-10 honeymoon spots for the first one, is not for us to ask).
Anyway, Harshitha Hegde who brings out the immensely popular Page Four People, called to ask what we should call the new column. Should it be the very mundane sounding Top Ten? Or could we make it Popular Ten?
But it wasn’t easy for Harshitha to make the call and ask the question.
The moment Ms Hegde’s number showed up on the cell, yours truly—all groggy eyed after a Sunday morning beer with some superb ‘koda bale’—mimicked a voice that said, “This is an automated response from the voice mail box of so-and-so. Please press ‘0’ to proceed.”
And lovely Ms Hegde pressed 0 and proceeded immortalise herself on “We Are The Best”.
No wonder somebody’s wearing a tee-shirt today which shouts “If I mature any more, I will die”. Yes.