If the media were to make resolutions for 2016, here are five that would be long overdue. Here, I'm framing them as commandments that if followed could make news coverage far more balanced and pleasant for viewers.
1. Thou shalt not "break" every story
There are certain things we want to follow as they happen. But that does not apply to every single news item. Earlier, I used to be quite excited when I heard the announcement of "breaking news" on TV, but now I just end up rolling my eyes. Please, let's not idolise the boy who cried wolf.
2. Thou shalt give more coverage to positive events and everyday stories of courage
There are studies which correlate the negativity of a population to the negative imagery showcased in the media. We want to be a happy nation. We want to hear more stories of things which are right in India. We all know that bad things happen but you also need to take the responsibility of giving more coverage to the positive stuff. At the end of the day, we all know India is a great country. So show us more of the nice things that happen every day.
We seem to be fixated on the "More Fights = More TRPs" formula. Let's grow up and get a move on guys!
3. Thou shalt not encourage arguments on prime time television
Come on! We have enough fights in our lives. We have arguments in office, on the road, with the auto driver, with our domestic help and even in the Bigg Boss house. We really don't need more arguments in our lives, especially on prime time television. We want to make progress as a nation. Mudslinging and argumentative debates don't help there. We seem to be fixated on the "More Fights = More TRPs" formula. Let's grow up and get a move on guys!
4. Thou shalt stop using the word "Exclusive"
We all know that you guys go to great lengths to get us the news on what is happening in India and we do appreciate it. We also watch a lot of other channels and know who's reporting on what. You don't necessarily need to tell us that your story is "Exclusive" and you got to it first. It really doesn't matter to us. We watch what we connect with and need to know, not stories which are "Exclusive". You are doing a great service to this nation, so keep doing the good work without all that bragging.
5. Thou shalt not blow thy own trumpet
By now, we all know that every news channel is Number 1 in some survey or the other. Is there any need to keep showing us your TRP ratings for the election season, during the month or a 52-week average? I don't think so. What's more, it just shows that you only care for TRPs and more publicity. During the Chennai floods, we saw channels that claimed they reunited families. Did you actually tell them to thank you and say they got reunited only because of you? It doesn't work that way. Publicity is great but do try and find some middle ground somewhere!
I am a huge fan of the Indian media. I am also proud of the work that you do. But please live and let live. There is no need to decimate your competition. We do have time for you all and we do love you all. Happy New Year!
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