‘Despite boom, Indian journalism is shrinking’

The Indian media is getting bigger, fatter, richer, but is it getting any better? More importantly, does it have any possibility of getting better? These are evergreen questions. They have been asked before (recently by Martha Nussbaum) and will doubtless be asked again and again.

In the Columbia Journalism Review, Basharat Peer, a former rediff.com and Tehelka staffer and currently a fellow at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, weighs in with a scathing piece on the state of the media in India titled “Style over substance”.

And the ills he lists are all too familiar.

# The lack of space and resources for serious, well-researched long-form reportage

# The hollowness of the television bulletins with their anchors’ faux American accents

# The newspapers’ growing fixation with all things sexy, frivolous and glamourous

There aren’t too many to cover the grim suicides of farmers. But, says Peer, even the stuff that occupies the attention of Indian newspapers—the billionaires, the girls who win big at global pageants, the software success stories—they don’t do it well.

“It is no coincidence that foreign journalists produce much of the best journalism about the difficult issues facing India… Indian writers who are serious about doing in-depth journalism also must look to foreign venues to find a home for their work.”

Read the full article here: Style over substance

Cross-posted on sans serif