Daily Archives: 6 January 2009

The top-15 media stories (& viral videos) of ’08

The strange thing about the so-called Global Village is that it has turned us all provincial. We relate to, are interested in, connect with, and remember news events with an insularity that would befuddle Marshall McLuhan. And in the process, we forget that stuff happens outside of the bubble we inhabit.

The Listening Post, the world-class media show on Al Jazeera English hosted by Richard Gizbert, has compiled the stories and personalities that dominated the global media in 2008, in association with Influence Communications, the Canadian media analysts who look at more than a billion TV items from 160 countries.

And the winner? The US presidential election which occupied a grand total of 6.5 million minutes of airtime around the world. On election November 8, and the day after, an average of 21 television news items per second were aired worldwide. The full list is as under:

1) US presidential elections

2) War in Iraq

3) Global economic meltdown

4) The Beijing Olympics

5) War in Afghanistan

6) Oil prices and climate change

7) Nicholas Sarkozy and Carlo Bruni

8) Tibet during the Olympic torch relay

9) Conflict over South Ossetia betwen Russia and Georgia

10) Pakistan after Benazir Bhutto and Pervez Musharraf

11) 60th anniversary of Israel’s creation

12) European football championships

13) Iran’s nuclear programme

14) Zimbabwe’s political and economic troubles

15) Earthquake in western China


When the blind told the world what it was up to




Chandana, the Kannada television channel of India’s State-owned national broadcaster, Doordarshan, created history of sorts by getting three visually challenged persons to anchor news bulletins through the day on Sunday, 4 January 2009.

The heart-warming move was made to mark the bi-centenary of Louis Braille, the man who invented the script for the blind, according to a report in the Kannada daily Vijaya Karnataka.

Accordingly, the anchors Manjunath from Devanahalli, and Srinivasamurthy and Ashok from Chamarajanagar, in the south Indian state of Karnataka, read a part of the news from their Braille script during the six bulletins from 7 am to 9 pm, while a full-fledged anchor sat alongside.

The activities of Madhu Singhal of the non-governmental organisation Mithra Jyothi gave Doordarshan director Mahesh Joshi (in picture, newspaper tear) the brainwave.

“No TV news channel in the world has so far done this. Visually challenged people have a very sharp brain. We wanted them to show them that the world is with them. This will give them confidence,” Joshi was quoted by the paper as saying.

Manjunath who read the news said: “Society does not take note of us. Therefore such a platform is essential. We believe endeavours like these will spur people to empathise with us better.”

Chandana now plans to make this a monthly event.

For the record, the Bangalore newspaper, Deccan Herald, employs a visually challenged person on the news desk, L. Subramani, that is a signal lesson in corporate social responsibility not aimed at burnishing the brand-name.


Hat tip: D.P. Satish

Newspaper tear: courtesy Vijaya Karnataka

Photograph: courtesy Doordarshan