P. Sainath, the Magsaysay Award-winning rural affairs editor of The Hindu, at the Rajendra Mathur memorial lecture organised by the Editors’ Guild of India, says the moral universe of the India media has shifted; outrage and compassion among journalists has died.
“One, the fundamental feature of the media of our times is the growing disconnect between the mass media and the mass reality. Two, there is a structural shutout of the poor in the media. Three, there is a corporate hijack of media agendas. Four, of the so-called four estates of democracy, media is the most exclusive and the most elitist.
“The moral universe of the media has shifted. Two things have died-outrage and compassion. You have a lot of drawing-room outrage, but not over issues that moved earlier generations of journalists. The structural shutout of the poor is evident in the way beats are organised in newspapers.
“How many national media journalists were covering the agrarian crisis in Vidarbha? There were six. But there were 512 journalists covering the Lakme Fashion Week in Bombay.
“There is journalism and there is stenography; 80 per cent of journalism you are reading or viewing today is stenography. Everyone knows there is a crisis of credit. Thanks to the loan waiver. How many of your newspapers or channels have told you that the guys who are claiming that they have expanded credit have closed down 4,750 bank branches in the last 15 years?”
Read the abridged text of the lecture: The terrible steno
Also read: ‘Indian media doesn’t cover 70 per cent of the population’
‘India is a nation of two planets: the rich and the poor’
Link via Anand V.
Commitment is a key ingridient for achieving excellence in any profession including journalism. However, journalism has not been been a serious career option since past few years. The journalists you find these days are the ones who are in transition to someother careers and gaining experience at some newspapers / TVs.
This beign case, how can we expect commitment from these journalists to chase public interest stories and take their readers seriously ?
As if this is not enough, newspaper owners are competiing with each other to commodotise the paper and their marketing managers holding sway on editorial politcies.
Its extremely difficult to find a responsible news publications and committed journalists. The few who exist..i say “Aayushman bhava”
10 percent photocopying, 5 percent self-aggrandizement and the rest is blackmailing.:-)
What most concerned and informed pople alreday konw of the sorry state of affairs has been articulated well by Sainath for the hundredth time. The difference is that it is coming from a brand and gets little publicity and conveniently forgotten.
Sainth’s own paper “the Hindu”, does it follow what he is advocating? Why has Hindu not written any article on “mother of all corruption” in oil sector? More than Rs. 180,000 crores of revenues are lost in oil sector because of the wrong pricing policy and also diversion of subsidised products like kerosene and LPG. Such a huge amount of loss creates a big pile of black money to support the entire political system of India. It can support many causes Sainath is writing about. Why has he not covered such topics?
Has he agitated against Hindu? If he has not succeeded, why is he not doing what every principled person does? To resign and fight from outside now that he is a brand?
The journalism of today is of the “he said so” variety. No journalist goes beyond that and if somebody dares to be original, he is curbed or chastised. I think Sainath is modest when he says 80% is stenography. Why it is nearly cent percent, if not more than that. This policy suits the managment, whose eyes are closely riveted to the ad revenue.
I agree with boring journalist that it the rot is 100%,not just 80%. I also feel journalists who are trapped in these commerical organisations should not underestimate themselves and their skills and should seek out fresh opportunities outside this field. Newspapers are minting money and changing the rules of the game to their own advantage. ..killing whatever little idealism there is in fresh recruits or old world journalists. And those who survive and flourish are an apology to journalism as a mission with warped ideas about market forces, globalisation, marketing oneself and so on and so forth. The bylines that come cheap is another carrot that is dangled under the noses of the susceptible, giving a false sense of comfort and achievement while the stooges of the establishment (journalistic, corporate and government) make a killing.
The present day journalists come out of the institutes the fees of which mocks at that of IIMs. How can one expect from these glamourous reporters to know the smell of cowdung when they dont even smell the odour of their armpit? (Deo-ProTectED)
which is exactly the same culture followed in his own newspaper The Hindu!
Journalists should not feel that their profession is boring. Things will begin to rot the moment they do so. Try to read Harold Evans’s books on journalism, especially his “Newsman’s English.”
Before people begin to think that I am pontificating, or sermonising, let me sign off.
Sainath should set his own house in order before shouting himself hoarse. 80% of the bilge that is published in The Hindu is stenography, dictated by the party bosses in Beijing, Waste Bengal, Kerala, and New Delhi. It takes a great deal of stupidity to equate Dalai Lama to Osama, and The Hindu has done it. As long as Sainath works for Ram’s rag, and covers up food riots in WB, farmer suicides and harassment in Kerala, plantation thuggery in Southern Kerala, he will have no credibility.
i sort of have a fundamental problem with the media. for the amount of shallowness that is observable, the media has disproportinate amount of power. how can they pretend, worse project expertise in a whole range of issues?
i know there are science correspondents, there are finance etc… but still a one type of economist will not venture into another sub-domain even in economics, not out of professional courtesy but as a matter principle that knowledge is different from insight.
print media is still ok, but tv is totally screwed up.
how can people like sardesai, dutt, ghosh etc wax eloquent on any given subject on this earth day after day? just how much depth can they and their support staff really have? just how much knowledge forget insight can you gather about a subject in one day? just the other day saw that thapar guy grilling krishna. what a sham.
just how much antropology, sociology and history do they know to be making grand statements that they keep making day after day with no critical peer review?
given that they have no direct observational skills nor know how to tap people who have those skills, is it any wonder that they resort to psyops and direct and indirect peddling of theories?
vishya illa aadre yeno ond heLbekalla, buruDe biDthaare andre acchari ne?
oh don’t you worry brother, about the great indian news factory.
where else can cricket reduced to entertainment, reduced to a reality show occupy prime time news? Do we realize how much of airtime that even means?
Manufactured even as we are scribbling here, packaged before midnight to be served in the 8AM news- on all but DD(i hope!).
Sainath is alluding about the lack of objectivity on media houses and how commercialization had taken over editorials. We are still fortunate we have guys like Mr. Sainath or media house like The Hindu. Precisely the same lack of objectivity i am seeing with the commentators when he speaks about ethics they question his employer which still i rate one of the best even after it’s pro left views, what people miss out is the core.Do you really want your children and family to read about page 3 culture of Times of india or rather filter out pro left aberrations but strikingly honest and venerable The Hindu. I for one sure had made a point not to expend single penny on newspapers like TOI which sell their soul for green bucks.
A Tsar is Born!
lol @ Arun!
If you can filter out pro-left news and still read The Chindu, you can do the same with any other daily also! And come on, dont say The Chindu is strikingly honest and all..errr.. you are correct Mr. Arun, The Chindu is indeed strikingly honest — to China and Communism :D
I wonder how does Mr. Sainath come up with such figures — 60% of India is still poor, 70% of India is not covered by the media, 80% of journalism is stenography, 90% of media houses have sold out themselves! and finally, The Hindu is 100% committed to China :)
Mr. Sainath has said the things which people already know or can perceive. But, we would like to hear from him what are the reasons for the present state of affairs. Why the media has become what it is today. Another noteworthy point is nowadays, we hardly see any “movements” by either the people or students against any thing. Be it corruption, crime, builders mafia, agriculture crisis, burgeoning population, reckless privatisation, political apathy, or any such matters concerning or affecting the lives of the people in our country. Sometimes, I start thinking ‘what is going on in our country’? ….. Probably, our enlightened Churumuri readers will debate over this.
People, let’s stop the Argumentum ad Hominem!! We’re ignoring the issue.
The Hindu is 100% committed to CPM and 200%, to China. Also, this paper does not mind bringing out supplements like “Retail Plus”, sponsoring Lifestyle and gourmet fairs, showcasing shopping malls etc. Of course, once in a while Mr. Sainath will explore rural poverty and related deaths.
According to many who visit here Sainath is a mind -fu**ed commie – he degrades India by writing such articles. I mean, the all “india super power” gang. He has made stellar contribution as a journalist and probably is the greatest of all in this decade. he takes pain to reach distressed hinterlands and carve stories from there. Many of us here might not withstand the sweat between the crevices of buttocks after the slumber kind of life we lead inside the information technology hubs. he throws facts which a startling, which makes any gung- ho man feel ashmed of.
and a moment for the commie news paper – they are probably the only news paper who wants to carry his articles as one of those in your daily can pull down all those gloss conveyed through other pieces the news paper is carrying. I think Ram & co have given him the right to express him as he wants it. oh…
absolutely sainath opinion is correct when it comes to reality in covering the news. eventhough the new jounalism students came out with daring to cover particular items they are being facing pressure from the management of the organization. particularly the print media has become pomphlets to somebody except the Hindu. However there is a little bit of choice for a good journalist.