Friday, 2 May 2008

Technology, Media and Content

It is so ironic. I was lamenting about human beings becoming slaves to technology night before last and yesterday I forgot my phone at home. The realization came only after I had reached office and so yes, I came back home, picked up my phone and then went back to work. I actually spent an hour in the morning just being a slave to “technology”! That does show that I cannot live without my gadgets, does it not!

Technology, however, also has its positives. Bloomberg, for example, has started pooling all news headlines from leading newspapers of a country onto one single page. You can keep scrolling and get top news of the day all in one go. No more having to surf varied web sites and having to wonder if you have missed anything. It is all so easy.

The India page, however, can be full of gossip quite often. For example, the first news that I read this morning was “Hrithik (a leading Bollywood actor) becomes a father for a second time”. Now I am not sure how that piece of trivia actually impacts my life, or for that matter the life of any other ordinary Indian. In a population of a billion people, I am sure we have more important things to discuss and publish. Probably not! I mean one of the leading dailies carried this news item so probably it is important. The next item was “Gwyneth and her new found miracle diet”. Seriously, why would I want to read that first thing in the morning?

Coming to think of it, Indian media has become a tabloid in itself. On my trips to Mumbai I have stopped reading the morning newspapers (except two business dailies) because most often all I read about is some petty crime, some robbery, rape or celebrity news. I am not saying that crime should not be discussed, but not all on the front page! Celebrity talk is becoming all consuming in India. Think about last year when Abhishek Bachhan and Aishwarya Rai got married. Indian media (ranging from TV channels, to FM stations, to newspapers) had nothing else to talk about during the preceding and following four months. Even now, Star News seems to be suffering from a severe hang over. The "news channel" apparently spent (I was informed by a few disgusted friends who chanced upon this) quite a few days trying to decipher if Aishwarya Rai was pregnant. Now, a slight pointer to the esteemed Star News team – people if she is pregnant, we will find out. Remember pregnancy shows!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wake up people. Remember India is the world’s largest democracy! Remember we have elections coming up next year! Remember we have a very silly quota system being imposed upon us! Can we please talk about some of the issues affecting the country and have an open forum? It would be nice to see news in the newspapers and not gossip! We have a lot of kitty party aunties for that. As the “generation next”, can we be a little more, only a little more progressive please!

Give this some thought over the weekend while I give my blog a little rest. Ciao!


Pankaj Singh said...

Hi Tanu,

You could have avoided going back to collect your mobile. You should normally be able to access your voice messages from any telephone by following some simple steps. You can also get your calls forwarded to a specific telephone number for the day. Your IT personnel or your service provider should have been able to help you with this. Technology is not all that bad; it’s our slave and not vice versa :)

Media usually talks about what people like to hear; so don’t blame them :)


Tanushree Bagrodia said...

Thanks, Pankaj. That is a very refreshing comment. Did not think of accessing voice mail from a land line. But hey, I learnt something new. :-)

Anonymous said...

The media in India puts out garbage instead of real issues not because they like it; it is because investment companies have a lot of money in MNCs that peddle products in India and China (2.5 Billion People or should one say 2.5 Billion Market Size); the quickest way for these MNCs to sell product is by way of celebrity endorsement.

If Bankers were not as greedy; one would see more meaningful discussion.

Tanushree Bagrodia said...

Dear Anonymous

Well an eye for an eye will make the world blind. Bankers can be greedy I agree. Does that mean that media shrugs its responsibility? The problem is that none of us want to take our responsibility seriously. Bankers as well.



Anonymous said...

You keep insisting that the media is shrugging it's responsibility; what I am pointing out is that practically they DO NOT have a choice. A lot of media companies are owned by some of the largest holding companies that in turn own MNCs.

Even if a journalist is responsible they have very little choice w.r.t what goes out in print. To simply blame journalists is to show lack of empathy for the helpless and frustrating circumstances they find themselves in.

Tanushree Bagrodia said...

Dear Anonymous,

Just because journalisst find themselves in a helpless and frustrating situation does not mean that they write ill reaserched articles. I do not think that there is a lack of empathy. However, I do believe that there is an excess of unexperienced journalists producing content which they are not equipped to comment on. In these situations it is also appaling to know that editors are not paying attention to content.