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Thursday, May 7

The Pen, the ink & the colours PART I

The millennium Bond flick "Tomorrow Never Dies" conceptualizes a media mogul who schemes up dicey stories for his news channel and turns them to reality. Keralites were introduced to this then seemingly wild concept of 'tomorrow's news today' by Mammooty in New Delhi, as early as in 1984.

Seems this idea has inspired a few newscasters of our times, in a different form though, where we get to see and hear pre-set, formulated news and even ingeniously manufactured scoops, totally dissociated itself from the real tale.

With a dearth of options, I've been jinxed to watch some of the crappiest of English/ Hindi newschannels over here. I don't know what drives the sense of purpose behind channels like Star News. Its like a Cricinfo + B4U mixture, with ads and current news as fillers. They air some of the strangest current events programmes dubbed as news, hosting a herd of amateur clueless journos. Oh, if you are a cricket lover don't be mulled into tuning into this frequency, because 'prolific' cricket experts like Saba Karim and Sandeep Patil will do your head in by scrutinizing, criticizing and exposing technical deficiencies in the front foot cover drive of Sachin Tendulkar and the foot movement of Herschelle Gibbs at Point. Saba Karim even takes an extreme step forward by exhibiting with a bat how Sachin should have really played the shot to pierce the gap. Ahem!

Up on the Bollywood half, its gossip, gossip and gossip for the Star nincompoops, on who's looking down the boobs of whom, speculations about the marriage blues of star couples and predictions about 'what will happen in a weeks time'.

I'm not sure if Aaj Tak has improved, it was one channel which had the maximum scope of improvement, in other words it sucked the most. I had the privilege of watching Aaj Tak breaking news a couple of years back; spooky, theatrical headlines and reports with ear-aching background scores which would put the lousiest of Saas-bahu dramas to shame.

NDTV, CNN-IBN and aamchi DD are some other channels in contention, and surprisingly Doordarshan has managed to maintain its previous standards, even though it has always been below-par. But it certainly is shocking that some of the mainstream news channels have stooped down to hit such lowly troughs.

A sigh of relief it is, to think that Malayalam Channels still maintain some sort of a gauge in telecasting happenings around us. Forget the tear-jerker mega-serials and eternal reality shows, the current dominant channels like Asianet, Surya, Indiavision and Amritha needs a pat on the back for commendable reporting of current events. These channels, in my opinion, have managed to strike a balance in voicing their own opinion against what actually transpired on mother earth, without of course turning the goat into the dog. Afterall media has evolved in such a way that the element of favouritism and bias cannot be wiped out fully.

Kairali Channel, with its background, has a greater affinity towards cherry shades and so the news reporting follows a predictable pattern. Kairali pits itself against the identical twin losers among Malayalam Channels, Jeevan and Manorama News.

Manorama News carries forward the saga of its elder sibling, the original Malayala Manorama newspaper. The channel, although hosts a few appreciable current events programmes, follows the same tradition of news invention, news twisting and news trading for which the papyrus MM is infamous for. Malayala Manorama has grown into such a legend that I need one full post to appreciate their finer qualities. You can read about it here, in a few weeks time.

But again the silver lining is that Kerala News Channels and journalists are still head and shoulders above their New Delhi counterparts in the quality of reporting, and the substance and reality in the reports.

Whereas, Malayalam channels are yet to realign themselves with the changes happening in this "Media Business", where 'as it happened now' is the new motto. Blogs, and lately microblogs like Twitter have brought live news to new unthinkable levels. The way BBC, Sky News and co reported Mumbai 26/11 with live tweets and links must be a reference for our local media barons.

The pen still remains mightier than the sword, but the current media has lost the prophecy attributed to it over the years. Its now just another business, with most of its divine qualities gone down the drain, forever.

How can I stop without a few words about our print media, which we compulsively gulp down with our morning cup of tea. Ever wondered what exactly you are reading? Continuing here in Part II

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