News Media in India

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I’m a huge news junkie and in the recent times have expanded my range to read:  FT,  WSJ, NYT, Guardian, The Economist and the Hindu on a daily basis. One trend I have been noticing in the recent past, is the amount of coverage India is getting by these papers ( The Hindu which is an Indian daily). NYT has opened an India focused section (India Ink); FT has a new India section; recently the Economist had a 14 page write up on doing business in India. Surely, India is making headlines. The question is how accurate or correct are these headlines.


While each of these news sources are very experienced in what they do. I personally find them to be quite lost when it comes to covering India’s changing social landscape. Recently the NYT published a piece on a NRIs return to India and how it was not the rosy place he had imagined. The backlash to that article was so quick and powerful that NYT had to publish a post defending its publication of the piece. Guardian took quite a critical stance on Indian GradPrix which was sour tasting for many of the article readers. The newspapers seem to be realizing how difficult it is to express opinions in India.  The issue seems to be the lack of a wholesome definition to India and its people.


India is a land of many. The poor, the rich, an emerging middle class, cultures, castes, languages and people. To each his own life, dreams and ideas of success. Hence opinions are not easy. But I dont blame these news papers for trying. I find The Economist to be very good at this. But what these news sources need to learn is how to address India as an whole and to understand the aspirations of each segment of its population.

The Guardian article entitled: Away from the glamour of Formula One, poverty stalks India’s villages makes almost no sense. Its a reality that we have a F1 circuit in the same country that we have the ultra poor. Its a reality that we have huge social turmoil. We need to deal with it. Dealing with it is not about stopping progress till we have our tails covered… its about moving forward while closing our gaps.


What is also important, is letting the right people express opinions on such global platforms. An article no matter how well written is still an author’s opinion on the subject. The author is the key. Everybody has opinions.. but a good author will debate those opinions.. weigh them out and express a unbiased non judgmental opinion rather than launch on a monotonic diatribe or praise. (These are what blogs are for). Again, I am not a student of journalism… but to my simplistic thinking, a good news article in a well based newspaper is much more than a personal opinion on a subject. I think NYT’s article received such such bad press… because it was a wrong article in the wrong place.


On the whole, its great to see India eat up big chunks of the global press space. Not surprising given India is 2nd largest newspaper consumer in the world (2007). What is required is an re-look at journalistic methodologies… to make sure wholesome opinions with nuanced research are pushed to the forefront.

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