Tuesday, September 21, 2010

No News is Good News

No news is good news.

This saying is attributed to English King James I, who wrote in 1616, 'No newis is bettir than evill newis.'

We heard this often in times when we had no internet and cell phones. No news would be a source of worry, but also in a way comforting in the belief that bad news would have been conveyed immediately. Therefore no news, could only mean good.

I don’t hear this being said as frequently anymore. But sometimes when I watch the news on TV, I am reminded of it.

There are times I wonder if our TV news anchors watch soap operas. News presentation used to be so staid and serious, even as recent as the 90s. Those who have heard Melville Demello read out the bulletin at 9 pm on All India Radio would agree.  A subtle change in tone, to indicate the mood. No dramatics. No arrogance. No reporter screaming her guts out. And since it was only audio, obviously no visuals, no graphics.

Now, apart from news we have forums, debates, discussions where you have the same faces invited by almost all the channels. Are they the only ones who have something important to contribute or are their PR agencies doing a good job?

What is aired first is almost always some sensational news . News like good developmental work, awards that have not been bought, art and culture shows not sponsored by a liquor company are telecast at the end, by which time you have lost interest and have changed the channel.

I wonder if news channels took a different stance whether some good would result.

For instance, if a road that has been laid a year ago is still in good condition and  no potholes even after the rains.  Believe me, that is news these days! Why not call the contractor, the construction company, the municipal officer and make a big noise about it?

Or if electrification of a village has been done with turbines for under Rs 1.5 lakhs ( as it has in Dakshin Kanara district), give it wide publicity. Call the legislator, the department responsible and give them an award.

Create widespread interest. Report such activities and keep praising the good work of government bodies. There may be few to begin with, but with generated mass interest, would it lead to more? After all everyone wants publicity.

Let breaking news be good news. Let the headlines be developmental news. Interview those who are doing good. Responsible journalism may initially bring down TRPs but in the long run may win more viewers. It could be an idea? Sirjee?

Does anyone agree?

As an aside - A king's joker loved to make puns, so much so that the king, in disgust, ordered him hanged. But the king's minister prevailed on him to grant the joker a reprieve. Upon learning it, the joker immediately said, "Well, no noose is good noose." So the king decided to hang him anyway.

PS - I just read Manju's post and then wanted to check how old this blog was, and I realise that I have completed 3 years of blogging on Sept 10.  Thank you L for  that nudge.


  1. Nice one. Usually news means bad news. If a plane takes off from point A and arrives in point B is not a news. If it takes off from point A and never arrives in point B is a news.

    It is good you mentioned Melvelle Demello. My dad has told me that when the 9 PM news in the AIR starts, the entire nation will be listening to it. The first 2 sentences will be: This is All India Radio. And, the news read by Melvelle Demello. If there is some other name mentioned, 75% of the people will turn off the radio and not listen to the news.

  2. hii
    nice article and i agree..congrats on completing 3 good yrs :)

  3. hii
    nice article and i agree..congrats on completing 3 good yrs :)

  4. I was thinking of writing some thing similar.Recently,I was getting irritated by the Malayalam news channels.News was the only item not interrupted by commercials earlier.Now the main news is sponsored by some Unani clinic offering treatment for impotence.There is another competing clinic also offering treatment for same problem. "Disease of the married".What a specialty !So every 10 minutes,when serious events are going on,there will appear the picture of this Unani doctor wearing a coat and suit,as if had just landed from America." To avoid disappointment book in advance".
    This is beyond limits.News is also becoming Masala channel.There will definitely be some stories related to molestation and pictures of some unfortunate girls.
    Now a day,it is just money,by any means.Even cruel murders are reported as "investigative journalism",and made into commercial stories.They have no hesitation to show the mutilated bodies,and then the faces of bereaved family members. Shameless.

  5. I go by this principle always..for me no news is good news.

  6. Very nice post and ideas are excellent..even I wonder why they nevr give us anything positive or about development or follow where no work is being done.

  7. Congratulations on completing 3 years!That was an interesting article. Yes, news seems to have lost its meaning now, and only sensation is news. I see that all this is making our youngsters cynical.

  8. Oh yes, I completely agree that the news channels should give publicity to positive news.

    It has become so irritating to listen to only depressing news. And to the shrill voices on TV news channels!

    So you've completed 3 yrs of blogging? Congratulations! Hope to read many more of your interesting posts!

  9. Ma, remember that other blog I was telling you about (the funny one)? His last post is on similar lines.

    And you're welcome. Happy 3.

  10. Congratulations! 3 Cheers for you ;-)

  11. Didn't I just wish you happy 2 years a few months back??? Can't believe a whole year has gone by. Happy 3 years ma!!! The health centre I went to goes by the same policy - No news from us is good news.

  12. And I also like your new header :) Thank you!

  13. SG - Melville Demello - especially during the Bangladesh war. His bulletins were so good.
    AS,Samvedna -Thank you.
    Dr A - In total agreement with what you have said.
    Sujatha - yes, it holds good.
    Lotusleaf - If it is not sensational it is not news. Even newspapers have adopted this style of reporting.
    Manju - Shrill voices when there is absolutely no need! And thank you.
    L , S - :-)
    DS - thank you

  14. I like the way you write on such topics and create an interest in the readers. Nice topic this one.

    Congratulations on your third blogversary! :)

  15. I agree too. Would be nice if the news was about something interesting and positive. The film 'Peepli Live' was so good. Did you get to see that one?

  16. Very valid point! The achievements are not highlighted and not given the right prominence by not only the media but also by us!

    Congratulations on completing 3 years.

  17. Its a good post :)
    Congrats on completing 3 years of blogging :)
    Thanks for sharing some of the better, lesser known works in Dakshin Kanara!
    TV people should report these things as their main headlines :)


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