Wednesday, January 02, 2013

News Media - Today's conscience keeper?

An unfortunate incident that happened in Delhi on Dec 16th has woken up the people leading to mass protests, condemnation, and public debates on state of affairs in the country.  Every News channel and publication was up-in-arms generating enough coverage about the incident and its aftermath asking for reforms, justice, safety, and change in social attitudes towards women…

What, perhaps, more defining is the way the role of News media has changed over the years… The media has evolved from carrier of News to creator of News.

Before the advent of Television, News publications had a single point agenda of bringing news to the homes.. News items of importance were gathered, collated, curated by bunch of editors and then published for public consumption…

With the penetration of Television, the recency of news - Breaking News, and updates on real-time basis was carried forward by the newer medium…and Newspapers had a secondary role to play in terms of being news carrier…they soon adapted to 'analysis' of news and 'POV' articles.

In today's world, with the Internet being the all pervasive medium, being exclusively a carrier of content (News) is just not enough. In this networked world, social media, gives the perfect platform for an open and dedicated communication channel. News travel faster through mediums like Twitter & Facebook.. This has impacted the very agenda of traditional news channels like - Newspaper and Television…

It has always been said that 'content is the king'… So what, if the content happens to be News and Information. Seems like this core thought is what the News Publications & Broadcasting companies are following today. Like Edward Armstead, the protagonist in The Almighty by Irving Wallace the idea is to shape the news - then manipulate and control it, and finally wanting to create the News.. The idea is - if you own the content, then you are the king.

Take any important news in the past few months - The Anna Hazare movement, The Arvind Kejriwal phenomenon, The endless coverage of the rape incident,… the underlying common denominator being - it was all media led. Each media company had a particular agenda attached to it, and then had endless coverage/articles/surveys/debates around the topic…

End of the day, all Media houses are businesses…and every business has an undenying agenda of improving their sharehmlders wealth. In the current marketplace - with a growing economy and society - there are bound to be frictions, and the outcomes of these frictions is what the media companies are trying to 'own'. Be it corruption, bureaucracy, social attitudes, etc… each one wants to own a share of the pie…and thus try and play the role of a crusader…

So long as these actions fructify to the betterment of the society, nobody will complain… let the truth be told that the Media companies are not the conscience keeper of the society… they too have an hidden agenda - the agenda to create News and be the king

Cheers,

Santosh

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