13 June, 2021

Pow! Thud! Diss!

You heard it on this channel first. On every channel actually.

Illustration by Leela
Pow! Thud! Diss!

When I first came to India in the ’60s, the Editor was king. Even the proprietor of the Indian Express would not barge into the office of his legendary editor, Frank Moraes, but seek an appointment first. Now some newspapers don’t seem to feel it’s necessary to have an editor, or at least someone who isn’t an editor only in name. In those papers, it’s the circulation and advertising managers who enjoy the clout. Business comes first, journalism a poor second. Television networks, except of course for Doordarshan, are involved in frenetic ratings wars, underscoring that advertisers come first and the news is a vehicle to attract the ratings they are hankering after. Most channels seem to think the best way to win the ratings war is to out-shout your competitors. Mind you, NDTV’s recent advertisements that it’s winning the ratings war (and consequently doesn’t need to shout) indicate that the channel has discovered many viewers who don’t like their news at a high-decibel...

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