Vanita Kohli-Khandekar in the Business Standard:
“When Madhuri Dixit danced to the song “TV pe breaking news hai re mera ghagra,” I wanted to hide. Her sizzling dance number in a red-light area from the latest hit Yeh Jawaani hai Deewani roughly means, “My skirt is the breaking news on television.”
“…Many Hindi films now have a stock television crew and reporter sequence. The reporter is often corrupt or a bimbo. They are shown as bodies with mikes and cameras but without brains. It is the sort of thing that should worry all editors, publishers and news broadcasters.
“Popular cinema is one of the more accurate mirrors of society and its characters. It is also the most powerful creator of images – true or false – and of stereotypes. And once a stereotype is created in popular cinema, it is hard – if not impossible – to dislodge.
“The joke is on the news media, not just TV channels. It has allowed the troubles of the news business to overtake it so completely that now the idiot in the office or the black sheep of the profession has become the standard by which the rest of the world measures us. The media’s obsession with “breaking news” at the cost of truth, efficiency or ethics is now the stuff that item numbers are made of.”
Read the full column: The breaking news syndrome
Also read: What Uday Shankar learnt from a Delhi widow
‘Star News ne Baba ko LIVE dekha‘
How a martyr’s wife changed Arnab Goswami‘s outlook
When only one side of the conversation is ‘live’
When Amitabh Bachchan‘s cold is breaking news
The tenth life a cat has is on the ratings chart
The political winners and losers of the Indian elections are, respectively, exulting and sulking. But the dust is still to settle over who won the air waves and grabbed the most eyeballs.
Rupert Murdoch-owned Star has jumped into the fray claiming that its network of Hindi, Bangla and Marathi channels was number one on counting day. NDTV 24×7’s print advertisement extolling its predominance is based on a survey of 12,407 people while the station’s website makes similar claims on a sample size of 5,240. CNN-IBN, meanwhile, uses TAM ratings to crown itself No.1.
Tellingly silent in this war of claims and counter-claims are print publications—newspapers and magazines.
Also read: Never let facts come in the good story
There have been persistent rumours of it for a while now. Now Business Standard reports that Rupert Murdoch‘s Star group is indeed planning a foray in the print media in India.
Top executives of Star are believed to have visited Bangalore and held talks with liquor baron Vijay Mallya for a possible joint venture. Mallya owned the Tamil satellite channel Vijay TV before he sold it to Star. He also held the Bangalore franchise of Asian Age before letting go of it.
The possibility of Murdoch tying up with Aveek Sarkar‘s Ananda Bazaar Patrika group of Calcutta is also in the air. When rules of foreign direct investment in Indian television changed, ABP picked up Star’s stake. The two groups have also collaborated to launched the Bengali channel, Star Ananda.
Murdoch and Sarkar featured in Nicholas Coleridge‘s biography of the world’s great publishers, Paper Tigers, along with two other Indians, Samir Jain and Ramnath Goenka.
Photograph: courtesy New York magazine
Also read: How Murdoch dumbed down television news
All this, and Star Vijay and Star Bangla
An urgent telegram to Shri Rupert Murdoch