How promoters killed the TV news reporter

21 January 2013

Sandeep Bhushan, a former reporter with NDTV and Headlines Today and now a journalism educator at the Jamia Milia, on the implications of the growing intervention of owners/promoters in determining news content in TV broadcast news networks, in The Hindu:

“The most far-reaching is the redefinition of the role of the editor. Increasingly his/her profile not merely entails leading the pack in the TRP race, but crucially acting as the “front” for the promoter in order to provide an appearance of both credibility and acceptability within the industry.

“The promoter’s line — his whims and fancies, idiosyncrasies and perhaps, most damagingly his political “preferences” — is increasingly the editorial line. It is not my case that this state of affairs uniformly prevails in all TV broadcast networks. But any “insider” will confirm that this is pretty much the picture by and large.

“This has resulted in growing centralisation of newsgathering operations. Editorial monitoring is closest with regard to “political” reportage because it is here that the government of the day can be really hit hard.

“In my experience of reporting “political” stories it was virtually impossible to generate a story in the field and hope that it got aired unless it coincided with the editorial “line.” “Political” stories invariably emerged from the “top.” Often a reporter may not even have a say in the particular “angle” of a story to which only he or she has privileged access. This has virtually taken the (political) reporter out of the scheme of things in broadcast journalism.”

Read the full article: The death of the reporter

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