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Breaking The NEWS!

Indian News ChannelsThe Television News Channels in India are anything but about serious News. To start with, to look at they are clones of News channels in the West. The same Blue and white or Maroon and White colours, the same swing in and swing out graphics e.t.c.

Sadly it is here where the similarity ends. While they have kind of gotten the things somewhat ok in the studio, the moment you cut to a reporter in the field, you are hit with a slap in the face. Mostly unkempt, always shouting and probably with a face meant for radio they barge into your living rooms every night to bring you the Breaking News.

The audio and picture quality is usually atrocious and having poor command over
the delivery of the spoken word adds to debacle that is has become – Field News Reporting in India today. Whether it is the arrest of a Bollywood Superstar or a helpless child trapped in a well, our madly shrieking and overtly excited Field Correspondents are always on the scene pretending that the world is coming to an end. Will somebody please give them a dummy and shut them up, put some nice clothes on them. After all TV is a visual medium. Looking like you have just crawled out of bed does not look nice even if you are an award-winning journalist. And what’s with the shouting. Why, is it because you feel your equipment is so cheap and nasty that you have to compensate by howling into it? OR is it because it’s your 15 seconds of fame, for who knows when you will get screen time again in this billion strong country of ours.

With the number of News Channels growing in the last few years the need to bust the clutter is ever greater today. Like Shampoo commercials our News Channels have become predictable and boring. In their bid to sell the story, spin is in!
Training their reporters and not just the guys in the studios has become the necessity of the day. How to deliver the News is one of the greatest gifts we can give our TV journalists friends right now. Also, pretending to be serious, or faking excitement does not work. Our viewers have become mature enough to know that the sky will not fall on their heads and tomorrow will come. Scaring us into believing the opposite will just not cut it anymore.

One News channel has resorted to hiring a bunch of journalists that look like college students in suits, who speak English with marbles in their mouths. Everything is said with such fake enthusiasm that you don’t really get the point. The race for the TRP’s is on and the lines between News and entertainment have blurred. You don’t know when they are serious about something or just having a laugh.

The standard fare is on offer on most of the News channels, an epileptic fit generating “Tech/Gadget Show”, a boring and childish “Auto/Car Show” and of course “ Meet your Celebrity/Politician Show”. Most of the shows lack any imagination and look the same week in and week out. It makes you wonder what our “Mass Communication” Courses are teaching these people in class. Just adding fast cuts or cheesy special effects to a show does not make it special. Using elements for the sake of using them is stupid.

So will they ever get their act together? Will we ever see a show simply for its core content and not for the 534 different transitions that have added to the segment? I don’t know but I sure do hope so!

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