Journalism in India hitting a new low is not ‘New’: Is blaming Media houses enough or its time to introspect our choices?

Parul Srivastava
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journalism in india

They are selling ‘Sensational Stories’ because you are consuming it


These days you switch on your TV sets, you will find stories running on Kangana Ranaut and Rhea Chakraborty. As a viewer, I want to know what happened with Sushant and demand justice for him, but at the same time, I also want to know about the economy, corona crisis, farmer’s plight, and issues which are bothering our nation. Things that I should know are not even a part of prime time debates. They are not discussed and are not shown on television.  All that I can watch on the television is, hounding, wrong facts, slandering, and shouting.  Kangana Ranaut gets Y security was discussed by media for an entire day, it became a matter of pride. Why? Good for her to get security that she needed, but why should the public watch it every time they put on a news channel. Will it solve their problems? No, right? Clearly, whatever has happened in last 3 – 4 months has raised many questions on the credibility of the content media channels are serving. Journalism in India is indeed in crisis. It is hitting a new low every day. Well, it is not a new fact that we have come across . Over the years, we have seen how  things are being reported by keeping TRPs in mind.  End of the day – TRP matters!

news

(Representational Image)

Opinions, Opinions and No Facts 

Today, television news is dominated by the opinion of the anchors and guests who are invited on the show. For an ordinary viewer, it becomes extremely difficult to separate act from opinion. And what’s more alarming is that the issues which matters to a common are not even discussed and these opinions are shaping young minds in India.  So this whole Rhea Chakraborty media trial left me thinking, are only journalists and media channels at fault? Should we only blame journalists for the type of content which is served these days? Probably No! To simply put – They want TRP to run their media houses, and we as a viewer, make our contribution by watching that channel and add on to their TRPs. They show you things that you want to watch. It’s simple! Recently, one of our reporters got in touch with a TV journalist for a quote. When she questioned about news quality, he replied, “People watch it, if it was irrelevant, TV businesses would have been shut.” That’s the point, they know what you want to watch. Instead of blaming media channels, it is important to question our choices. We, as a society, consume voyeuristic content.

Read more: Media report Suicides but doesn’t report about its own fraternity: What an irony?

journalism in india

(Is this happening in India)

How people consume news in India? 

In India, people consume news either from TV or via social media. People under 35 consume news from social and above 35 have a mix of both online and offline news. Consuming news from OTT platforms is in trend. Interestingly, the majority of Indians consume it from social media rather than going to the direct source of news.  Simply put, people watch the news on television for the sake of prime time so that they can watch something productive. Unfortunately, we are served things that are of no use for us.

(Where can I find it? )

Viewership Stats

According to an article on freepressjournal, there are around 800 channels in India. Out of 800 channels, there are 400 news and current affairs. That’s a huge number, isn’t it? But do you know they have 7 per cent of viewership against 30 per cent of general entertainment, 17 per cent for movie channels and 7.7 per cent for movie channels and 7.7  per cent for cartoon/ children?

Now, if we talk about news channels, Hindi news genre tops with partly 3 per cent audience share, while the English channels get 0.1 per cent. Clearly, there is so much competition in this field. Many channels are competing with each other for the audience’s attention in a genre, where the total viewership pie is less than 10 per cent. Basically, it is a rat race for TRPs and rating.  To garner more views, sensation and drama has been added to the news. But do you know why? Because people like you and me  actually like it.

(What they are promoting, we need to use wisely)

Time to look within

Before questioning news channels and their content, it is extremely important to introspect our choices too. We need to stop consuming it, then only they will stop serving it. And the impact of this rat race has resulted –more and more channels are falling prey of it.

Budding Channels and Authentic News providers are suffering 

Channels or websites which are actually making an effort to upgrade the content are not being appreciated. There are many news channels and websites who have less viewership irrespective of the fact that they good content to present. We got in touch with Independent Journalist who runs a Youtube Channel. Asking her about the quality of content and viewership she replied, “ It is so difficult to reach out to a wider audience. It hurts when good content made with a lot of hard work doesn’t get appreciated. Majority of people are not interested in serious news, the moment we use sensational headlines we get views. We try to balance it out, but as you know everyone need resources to run an entity. Sometimes we do compromise.” ( Name not disclosed on request)

Clearly, it is a two-way thing. Today, the viewer is the king. We need to choose our content wisely. We need to stop watching stuff which is of no use to us. Share and promote people who are actually bringing out ground stories.

Have a news story, an interesting write-up or simply a suggestion? Write to us at info@oneworldnews.com

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