I was writing about this to a friend this morning... and then thought, hey, maybe a few more people could find out... hence this post.
One famous news channel - uhmm... lets call it "Born on regular indian network goofup' (B.O.R.I.N.G) - wanted to go around the city and ask people what they think of Bangalore. They also wanted to know people's opinion on what they expect Bangalore to be a few years down the line...
A very aggressive campaign... and conducted in a very slick fashion.
They also want to promote their particular programme on print. So, they pay the newspaper the channel itself belongs it.. and asks for a story.
Therefore, this so called journalist goes to a spot where they are interviewing people and takes a few pictures.
B.O.R.I.N.G had also requested this journo to organise some well known (read: page 3) people of the society who would be willing to come in front of the camera and speak.
Well known people didnt happen.
What happened was about 3-4 smart college kids... who live in the city, hang out here, go to study here, understand what's troubling the city, to come and give their opinion.
But B.O.R.I.N.G doesn't want them... Cos they look young, and they dont look like they live in the city (this is very enlightening actually.. i didn't know that you could look like you lived in a particular city). So the journo interviewed a man who in not from Bangalore (has been here about a year), another girl who was wearing a long Indian print skirt and dangling earrings (that made her look like a local?) and couldn't stop giggling.
This story gave me the bigger picture:
At the end of the day whether a television channel promises truth of a lifetime or not, they are still competing against the TRP ratings of a "Kahaani ghar ghar ki" or whatever soap opera comes on TV.
Therefore, news channels (especially Indian ones and even a few international channels) have to make sure their news readers look better than a Pallavi or Parvati or Pinky or Priyanka on TV.
They have to make sure there is more scoop and gossip than there's on the soap.
They have to make sure that if people watch soap operas, it has to be theirs.
So, what we see is not news...
What we see is the glorified version of a piece of information that could or could not make a difference in our lives... But now that we have seen their dramatised version... a few sleepless nights might occur.
Eventually, that's what they want!