ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Manufacturing News

News studios have gradually become the site where news is "manufactured". Indeed, the very defi nition of "news" has changed as Indian television networks become increasingly promoter-driven. There are severe cutbacks in news gathering, reporters have been marginalised and the focus has shifted to studio-driven news presentations with outside "experts". From his perspective as a former television reporter, the writer analyses the current state of broadcast media.

As a journalist associated with television broadcast news for the last two decades, how and where does one begin talking about television broadcast journalism? As both a participant and an avid consumer of news, lines blur easily, making it extremely difficult to find any sense of objectivity. But having “hung up my mike” in a manner of speaking, I believe the ringside view afforded to me both as a reporter and a desk hand privileges me with insights not easily available to the growing mass of critics and media sociologists struggling to make sense of prime time television – opinionated, loud, rude anchors, endless talking heads, studio-hopping experts, flashing graphics and even absurd soaked-in-theatre “live” visuals. All this is consumed by viewership, day after day, given the omnipresence of television in the intimacy of our living rooms.

A good starting point would be an observation made by the US regulatory authority, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which in a recent report said:

The Walter Cronkites and John Chancellors (both deceased, but widely accepted as America’s most credible TV journalists) are a dying breed. In many cases you don’t have journalists. You have performers.1

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