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Do You Like Your News Well Done, or Rare?


Image: source

A few years ago, my dad had pointed out how refreshing it was to hear All India Radio. All India Radio is India’s national, public news radio station. He said it was a welcome change to listen to just the raw news, especially after years of private news channels on TV.

It made sense too. Paid media often tends to take raw news, and use it to serve us a dish of their own, perhaps to justify job positions and salaries. And it has becoming increasingly normal for media outfits to add to the facts. And unfortunately what they sometimes add, is either their own, or sometimes others’ narrow or biased views. News in any form, is being increasingly hyped up by taking high-definition close-ups of trivialities leading to, or occurring after the event itself.

“In journalism, there has always been a tension between getting it first and getting it right.”   – Ellen Goodman

The result is a magical transformation of facts into a movie, with these directors, at their discretion, deciding which part of the story must draw our attention. And they will feed us their masterpiece with a pride and authority second only to a corrupt politician campaigning before an election. The news itself, portrayed as a form of pure, unadulterated truth; and the media outfit, the only keyhole through which one could see the world.

While the recent news related website startups did offer refreshing hope; after a point, some of them failed to live up to the expectation. Especially given the often impeccably written, but sketchy or poorly researched stories. The final stories would either be misrepresentations, or a close-up of only one angle of the elephant.

“Journalists should be watchdogs, not lapdogs.” – Newton Lee

It is an innately human trait, to convey events either filtered through, or supplemented by, own viewpoints.

However, if you take a step back and look at the pattern that has been emerging, you might see that news is taking an increasingly dramatic turn in this age of information overload, to actually draw our limited attention to events. And yet, the media have become veterans who sensationalize news to such a degree, that they can get our attention and reactions on just about any news piece they choose, irrespective of its actual importance or relevance.

At this rate news is being increasingly sensationalized, only the news that is increasingly shouted at us from all directions actually makes it to our heads. And almost every, more important news from what the media decides as being irrelevant, automatically getting filtered out. Imagine how ugly news might become in few years time.

Wall Street Journal

Image: Same newspaper, same date; different titles for different markets – one for liberals, one for conservatives

Because for every rape in a metro that is debated for 2-3 days, there are more gruesome ones happening in smaller towns and villages that have never, and will never be heard of. For every terrorist that is hung, there are thousands of families who have lost livelihood or their loved ones to corrupt politicians and scams.

If 16-years of fasting could not draw the attention of our so-called leaders to a matter as basic and important as our very independence and freedom, do you think the future is better off with increasingly sensationalized and fairy-tale type news, or just the bare, ugly truth?

Because the more our news has been dressed-up over the years, the more blind and deaf we have become.

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