Tuesday, September 21, 2010
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.